Lawsuit Exposes Ugly Side of Surf Culture

Locals All Over Are Watching This Lawsuit

When non-surfers think of thugs from Los Angeles, they think of the gangs from Compton. But the thugs in this story are much too familiar to everyone who surfs. They are locals and specifically “a relatively small crew of spoiled trust fund babies,” from the affluent L.A. suburb of Palos Verdes Estates who are attempting to keep non-locals from surfing their spot. They call themselves the Lunada Bay Boys and   “through violence, intimidation, and with the de facto blessing of the local police, the Lunada Bay locals have worked a miracle,” reports one visitor on The Inertia. In fact, Lunada Bay is considered the worst spot in L.A. for localism.

But there’s a new sheriff in town and he’s not turning a blind eye. He’s also not from the neighborhood! One of the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit is a Police Officer from El Segundo (40 miles north of Palos Verdes). And he’s also a surfer.  Now the rich kids are facing one consequence they probably don’t care about, a $30,000 fine EACH, and a consequence they most likely do care about; being barred from surfing the point break for an unspecified period of time.

By law, Lunada Bay is open to all. In reality, it is open to few,” says the complaint, filed by law firms Hanson Bridgett and Otten & Joyce.

At this point, the Bay Boys’ localism is known to surfers everywhere. But this lawsuit gives a fine-grained picture of some encounters surfers have had with locals. The complaint ultimately outlines eight separate causes of action, which include assault, battery, civil conspiracy, violation of coastal act, and public nuisance.

The complaint basically says the Palos Verdes Police Department, a force of 40 officers, knows all about the gang and does squat. The department “has a long history of deliberate indifference in not investigating or otherwise policing acts of violence and vandalism against visiting beachgoers,” the complaint says. “Despite decades of complaints, the response is always the same: City leaders acknowledge the problem, promise to do something, and then do little or nothing.”  Source: The Inertia

Hidden Camera Footage of Lunada Bay Locals Hassling Outsiders

History of Localism

Localism dates back to the 1950s when Miki Dora established himself as the Bad Boy of Malibu’s Surf Scene. But, as The Intertia explains it, localism is no more than “men without the capital or the power to actually purchase or properly annex said property” to have a bit of coastline to call their own; what those in land-locked cities call “squatters.”  Who among us doesn’t dream of owning oceanfront property? Where we can walk out of our home with a board under our arm, take 50 steps and find ourselves ankle-deep in the cool waters of the Pacific. Can’t afford that? No problem. Just get a group of your surf-buddies and intimidate anyone else who attempts to come surf that spot. Spread the word that others aren’t welcome.  Don’t be afraid to do physical harm to anyone who puts you to the test.


In 1991 Lunada Bay was called a “war zone” by the Los Angeles Times

Thus it has been for 60+ years.  The surf industry’s dirty little secret…. well not really a secret, just not exposed beyond the industry. Until now. One man in blue (and a few others) have decided “enough is enough” and taken the first step to purge the worst from what is indisputably the best past-time in the world.

Locals everywhere will be watching what happens at Lunada Bay because, once a verdict comes down, we’re sure more lawsuits will arise along the coastlines of America.