Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

ROQUE & MARK Co. Real Estate 310.828.7525

Home Special Reports Archive Links The City Commerce About Contacts Editor Send PR

Coastal Clean Up Day This Month at Former 'Inkwell' Beach

Bob Kronovetrealty
We Love Property Management Headaches!

Good Vibes Start Here. Santa Monica Travel and Tourism

Santa Monica Apartments

Santa Monica College
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 434-4000


By Lookout Staff

September 12, 2023 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) is inviting volunteers to take part in Coastal Cleanup Day this month at a once-segregated stretch of beach frequented by a legendary Black surfer.

Part of the world’s largest volunteer day, Coastal Cleanup Day will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 23 at Santa Monica Beach Tower 20 at Pico Boulevard and Bay Street.

Nick Gabaldón

SMC’s Black Collegians, Adelante Club and other organizations are partnering with the Black Surfers Collective and the Black Historians to help clean up the stretch of beach once known as the “Inkwell.”

(Left) Nick Gabaldón from "12 Miles North: The Nick Gabaldón Story."

"Santa Monica College’s adopted section of beach is the historic site where SMC student Nick Gabaldón and other African Americans challenged Jim Crow racism and helped open public beaches for all," SMC officials said.

Born on February 23, 1927 in Los Angeles, Gabaldón, who was of Black and Mexican descent, lived most of his life in Santa Monica, where as a Samohi student he learned to surf at Inkwell beach as a teenager.

Inkwell Beach
From left: Grace Williams, Albert Williams, Mary Mingleton, Willie Williams (no relation) in the segregated section of Santa Monica beach known as the Ink Well ca. 1926 (Shades of L.A. Collection, Los Angeles Public Library)

Always looking for the best wave, Gabaldón would paddle 12 miles to Malibu, where he became part of a tight brotherhood of surfers, according to the film "12 Miles North: The Nick Gabaldón Story."

He died on June 6, 1951 when he slammed into the Malibu Pier after riding a strong south swell estimated by witnesses to be 10 feet high.

His surfboard was found immediately, but his body washed ashore on Las Flores Beach a few days later and is now buried at Santa Monica’s Woodlawn Memorial Cemetery.

According to a The beach near this site between Bay and Bicknell Streets, known by some as the Ink Well, was an important gathering place for African-Americans long after racial restrictions on public beaches were abandoned in 1927.

According to a commemorative plaque erected at the site by the City in 2018 states that "The Ink Well" was "an important gathering place for African-Americans long after racial restrictions on public beaches were abandoned in 1927.

“African-American groups from Santa Monica, Venice and Los Angeles, as early as the 1920s to the end of the Jim Crow era in the 1950s, preferred to enjoy the sun and surf here because they encountered less racial harassment than at other Southland beaches."

During Clean Up Day, gloves, buckets and safety training will be provided. Sunscreen, a hat, mask and a reusable water bottle are strongly recommended.

Volunteers are encouraged to bike, walk, or bus to the beach if possible. If they must drive, they can request parking passes at the parking lot entrance between Bay Street and Bicknell Street.

Back to Lookout News copyrightCopyright 1999-2023 All Rights Reserved. EMAIL Disclosures