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How surfer ‘gang mentality’ is keeping people off some SoCal beaches

A California recreational surfer prepares to go surfing on March 18, 2014.
A California recreational surfer prepares to go surfing on March 18, 2014.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

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The public face of surf culture has long been assumed to be hang loose, chill out, and ride the waves. But the reality is that on some beaches in Southern California, if you’re not one of them, you’re not welcome.

Recently, journalists from The Guardian visited Lunada Bay in Palos Verdes Estates, a beautiful beach spot that looks like the perfect place to surf. But a group of local surfers who call themselves the ‘Bay Boys’ have been known for chasing off visitors, tourists, or anyone they deem to be an ‘outsider.’ The journalists even took hidden camera video as they were told by several surfers to leave the beach, go home, or find somewhere else to surf.

When the reporters asked police about these territorial surfers, an officer tells them that while police are aware of the group, those not wanting to deal with them should avoid the area.

How does this gang mentality hurt beaches in SoCal? What would it take to bring a gang injunction against a group of surfers like the ‘Bay Boys?’


Jeff Kepley, Palos Verdes Estates Police Chief

Sam George, former editor of Surfer Magazine and longtime surfer. He’s also the Emmy Award-winning director of ‘Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aiaku,’ part of ESPN’s ‘30 For 30’ documentary series.