One week after Orange County oil spill water remains off-limits and many questions remain

Local news
View of Orange County coastline. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

View of Orange County coastline. (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

Small, glassy waves rolled up on shore Saturday morning, one week after an oil spill sent black tar clumps onto the sand here in Huntington Beach, raising fears of long-term damage to fragile ecosystems in the area and cutting off ocean access to residents, visitors and fishermen.

But that didn’t stop a dozen or more surfers in dark wetsuits from running into the water for a morning session. They caught a few good waves before a lifeguard blared down from a blue tower.

“Attention, surfers. Attention, surfers,” a voice bellowed through a bullhorn. “The water is currently closed due to hazardous conditions.”

Huntington Beach resident Brett Simpson, 39, and Long Beach resident Ralph Rodriguez, 62, lugged their boards out of the water and across the sand, where they convened near the shower by the parking lot.

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