California Coastal Commission Steps Into ‘Locals Only’ Surfing Debate

In surfing pretty much around the world there exists fierce localism in many parts. A limited number of waves combined with some pretty feisty attitudes by a counter-culture group has resulted in a tradition that can be juvenile and extremely violent.

The locals at Lunada Bay have been dubbed the Bay Boys over the years for their intimidating behavior and more than a few bloody brawls and broken surf boards.

After years of these incidents, in comes the California Coastal Commission, because if there’s ever anyone you want to defeat a bully it’s a group of pencil-pushing bureaucrats.

In a letter to the city police chief, the commission – whose job it is to protect public access to the coastline – said that the incidents of intimidation violate them mandate for unhindered public access.

Locals had also built a small patio, which the commission too found in violation of the law. 

“The construction of a structure is also development that is within the power of the city to address,” the letter stated, according to The Daily Breeze newspaper. 

But whether anything will be done about it is another story? For decades stories of fights and insults have permeated the surf scene in Southern California.

The Palos Verdes Estates police department has long been accused of leniency toward the locals, but after a hidden camera video went viral last year, the newly appointed police chief had no choice but to take action. 

In an interview with The Daily Breeze, chief Jeff Kepley said he sees it both ways.

“I think there may be times when there are surfers down there that might do something to dissuade a visitor and that would equate to denying access to the coastal resource,” Kepley said. “But there are plenty of times when anyone can go down there and enjoy themselves and nobody could care less.”

Even last week, with swells high and a reporter present, locals seemed to have no problem dishing out some traditional local treatment.

Photo credit: The Daily Breeze