Old Man’s – La Jolla, California


Since its founding in March, 2017 this is the very first long term beach clean project that the Route USA team has committed to. We noticed that the majority of beaches in San Diego where tourists are present are fairly clean. The city rakes the beach with giant trucks every week. It removes the trash and the seaweed that collects on the beach. There are also trash cans every 100 feet or so. The city of San Diego does a good job of keeping the beach trash out of the eyes of the locals and the tourists. However, if you walk off the beaten path you tend to find trash in the areas out of reach from the city.

There is an area located between famous Tourmaline Surfing Park in Pacific Beach and False Point in La Jolla that collects trash everyday. This spot is affectionately referred to as Old Man’s. The older surfer’s have built seating into the side of the cliffs of False Point to watch the waves, it is a gentle shallow surf break best for longboarding regardless of the wave conditions.

We have dedicated the last few months to cleaning the most polluted 100 yards of this beach 4-5 times a week. During this time we have collected;

  • Straws: 1113
  • Hair bands: 599
  • Sunglasses: 88
  • Bottle caps: 655
  • Shoes/sandals: 26
  • Plastic toys: 63
  • Traffic cones: 5
  • Human-sized Polar Bear costume: 1
  • Wet clothes: 30 lbs
  • Dozens of balloons and plastic balloon string
  • Clear Plastic
  • Colored Plastic
  • Plastic wrappers
  • Metal
  • Recyclable aluminum and Plastic bottles
  • Styrofoam

This beach will continue to collect trash for eternity. The currents in San Diego pull all the marine litter that is discarded in the surrounding southern beaches and dumps it onto this section of beach.

We are committed to cleaning this beach every week. It is a hidden gem in San Diego and deserves to be left in pristine condition.

Observation: The city of San Diego banned smoking cigarettes on the beach back in 2006. We almost never find cigarette butts at Old Man’s.


Photos: Sydney Prather

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In February of 2017 RouteUSA co-founder, Adam Cole Barber, traveled from California to Brazil to visit friend and co-founder, Rubem Miranda. Our goal was to learn how to create and run a successful NGO from the founders of Projeto Route, Simao Fillipe and Marcio Gerba.