The Jeep Beach West event has been going strong for three years now. It was just held in June 2016, and it was the largest yet, with more than 275 Jeep owners registered. Of course, a Jeep holds more than just its driver, so the body count for attendance, which is counted as registered Jeeps, was more than double that. That number also doesn’t count all the Jeep-loving dogs that accompanied their owners. Yep, Jeep Beach West and the area itself are dog friendly, as well as Jeep Friendly.
Jeep Beach West is held at Oceano Dunes SVRA, the West Coast’s premier location to run the dunes and enjoy the beach. The beach at Pismo has the perfect sand for driving just about any rig on. This allowed many to camp right above the high tide line with their motorhomes. Others pitched a tent and some locals just came out for the day.
Approximately 60 percent of the Jeeps registered where JKs, but CJs, YJs, and TJs, as well as Jeepster Commandos, Grand Cherokees, Renegades, and Libertys were there too. We even found one lone MB flatfender, still mostly in stock trim. Of course, with Pismo Beach being a State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVAR), it was inevitable that other rigs and even some Jeep owners that were unaware of Jeep Beach West were in the area too. When it comes to fun in the sun and sand, everyone is welcome at the SVAR.
Registered participants were provided with lots of options for getting out and having fun on Saturday. After a casual morning, allowing for early arrivals to sleep in and for late arrivals to get settled, a drivers’ meeting was held at the center stage. After that, those unfamiliar with running the dunes could head out for a Dunes 101 course for beginners. Dune veterans headed out into the back areas to kick sand and run the bowls. Throughout the day there were lots of planned activities, in addition to some impromptu ones created by participants. Kids Krafts with Jeep stencils could be found in the main camp, along with several vendor/event sponsors showing off their wares and answering questions.
As expected at any car/Jeep event, there was a show ’n’ shine. A ’88 Jeep Wrangler YJ Olympic Edition and its owner, Jonathan Kalstrom, won “Best in Class” for Leaf Sprung rigs. The winner for Coil Sprung rigs was Audrey Byrd in her blue JK. At the end of the day, there was a tug-o-war, prize giveaway, and hot dog roast. After letting dinner digest around the bonfire in the main camp, interested Jeep owners could participate in a dune night run and a Bright Light Challenge. Approximately 100 Jeeps entered the Bright Light competition, and you could see the lights from about a mile away on the dunes.
Sunday was casual, with a Jeep Parade in the late morning and then general wheeling in the dunes. The Hill Climb Challenge was the only semi-organized event for the day. The 2016 Hill Climb Challenge Winner, Shannon Duncan, turned in an impressive 10.2 seconds on Competition Hill in a TJ equipped with a 2008 5.7 Hemi V-8.
Jeep Beach West 2016 was fun for all, and plans are already in motion for an even bigger event in 2017. Stay tuned to jpmagazine.com for more information on the upcoming 4th Annual Jeep Beach West to be held in Pismo Beach, California.
Pismo or Oceano Dunes?
As a point of clarification, the recreation area that is often called Pismo or Pismo Beach is actually the Oceano Dunes State Vehicle Recreation Area (SVRA). The town at the main entrance is Pismo Beach. On the weather front, the Jeep Beach West event typically sees an overcast and cool morning and evening. This “June Gloom” weather pattern may start and end cool, but in the afternoon, you had better have sunscreen on hand. For more information, go to ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1207.
Early the first day, with the tide out, a few enterprising Jeep owners spelled out Jeep Beach using the kelp left on the sand. Later, many others would use the spot for their own photos before the tide washed it away.
On Saturday morning, Brian Fields, Jeep Beach West founder, addressed the crowd and welcomed everyone to a great weekend of fun in the sand and sun.
Stacking Jeeps can make an interesting photo for your vacation album. This crew of Jeep owners set up a great shot as the sun came out for the day. On the far left is Audry Byrd, winner of the show ’n’ shine for Coil Sprung rigs in her Blue ’10 JK.
All types of Jeeps where welcome, and seeing this classic Jeepster Commando brought a smile to many faces.
For Jeep Beach West 2016, the “Best in Class” winner for Leaf Sprung rigs at the show ’n’ shine was Jonathan Kalstrom in his ’88 Jeep Wrangler YJ Olympic Edition.
This classic MB was the oldest Jeep at the event. It is still mostly stock, and we were told it had come to the family decades ago as a surplus sale from a Navy base. Seeing it run in the dunes reminded us of the old Rat Patrol series on TV.
Jeep Beach West has several sponsors, such as Currie Enterprises, and a few of them came out to attend and set up booths in the sand to answer questions from participants.
Of course, running the dunes is the main attraction at Pismo (Oceano Dunes). Horsepower under the hood and driver skill is essential to cresting a dune hill during a climb. Done wrong, you’ll have to back down.
Running the bowl of a dune takes less horsepower than a full-on hillclimb. However, it still takes skill and finesse.
Too much throttle at the top looks spectacular, but quickly lifting off the throttle will reduce the spin and you’ll drive over the top rather than dig in. That’s what this driver did.
These Jeepers used their mostly stock CJ-7 to lend a hand to a dune buggy that was having an issue. Friendly and helpful is always a good attitude and common among the Jeep community.
While not needed to get from pavement to the camping area, airing down for the dunes helps with traction and flotation in the soft dry sand. Just be sure to air back up for the trip home.
Jeep Beach West is truly a family friendly event. If the kids weren’t out wheeling, there were plenty of arts and crafts activities to keep them busy and happy.
You know someone is really in love with Jeeps when they have a seven-slot grille tattoo. This one belongs to Gloria Aguilar. She and her husband own Filthy Freedom Apparel and are avid off roaders.
Advance Adapters set up a tent to meet and greet Jeep Beach West participants and enjoy a day at the beach.
Oceano Dunes SVRA (Pismo) is dog friendly and so is the Jeep Beach West event. Lots of Jeep owners brought along their dogs, and the pooches seemed to enjoy the weekend on the dunes as much as their owners did.
Fun in the sun was the name of the game. This crew was soaking up the sun and barbequing dinner at the end of the day. Life’s a beach or is that life’s a Jeep?