Waves Pound Ventura Pier

The landmark Ventura Pier is shaking and shimmying Wednesday afternoon, as storm-fueled waves slam into its pilings with a vengeance some residents say they haven't seen in more than a decade.

Huge, foamy sets started rolling ashore before noon, luring onlookers from Oxnard to Santa Barbara to soggy beaches.

At high tide before noon, each wave would create a loud roar, then the wooden planks would shake underfoot.

Two thirds of the pier have been closed to public access since Jan. 19, when a police officer spotted one of the pylons floating out to sea during the storm's first assault.

Although the pier was built in 1872, it has been damaged many times. Most recently, an El Nino storm swept 400 feet of it out to sea. The city completed repairs on the pier 10 years ago, at a cost of more than $3 million.

Ventura County Fire Dept. officials are warning surfers and even beach pedestrians to beware of the relentless waves.

"It's not even the size of the wave that's dangerous," said Capt. Ron Oatman. "It's the condition of the ocean in general."

As a precaution, the department's water rescue teams are standing by, ready to respond to ocean or river victims if needed.

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