CA Coastal Commission says surf gang can’t block break access

Lunada Bay Boys surf gang

The Bay Boys have long fought to keep outsiders away from their pristine surf break, but the California Coastal Commission is attempting to help the public enjoy the beach. Photo: Courtesy of tiarescott/Flickr

You may have heard of the Lunada Bay Boys surf gang, the entitled group of Los Angeles County surfers who fiercely protect the Lunada Bay surf break in Palos Verdes Estates. Over the years, they’ve gained notoriety for resorting to everything from intimidation to violence to keep outsiders away from their pristine waves, while local authorities have been largely unable or unwilling to do anything to stop them.

Now, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) has taken issue with the Bay Boys, writing an open letter to local officials stating that the Bay Boys must stop blocking public access to the beach.

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In a letter dated Jan. 21 to Palos Verdes Estates police chief Jeff Kepley, Jordan Sanchez, an enforcement official with the CCC, wrote that the Bay Boys were so entrenched in the break that their presence constituted a development on the coastline, and thus falls under the CCC’s jurisdiction and regulation.

“Precluding full public use of the coastline at Palos Verdes Estates, including the waters of Lunada Bay, whether through physical devices … or non-physical impediments, such as threatening behavior intended to discourage public use of the coastline, represents a change of access to the water,” wrote Sanchez. “And, thus, constitutes development under the Coastal Act and the Palos Verdes Estates Local Coastal Plan.”

While Sanchez followed his letter with a planned meeting with city leaders, officials with the CCC told the Los Angeles Times that local law enforcement will have to take the lead on policing the Bay Boys for true change to occur. And those law enforcement officials have often been accused of being far too lenient on the group.

RELATED: Lunada Bay localism an issue with state agency

When asked what could be done to remove the group, which recently illegally constructed a stone patio on the beach overlooking the break, Kepley initially downplayed the seriousness of their presence and didn’t seem to have a plan of attack to get them to leave.

“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 told the Daily Breeze. “But there are plenty of times when anyone can go down there and enjoy themselves and nobody could care less … They view it like a private clubhouse. They hang out there and they consider it their territory. And when some visitor comes down, they are like, ‘Hey, you are in our territory.'”

“If that stone patio got removed today, not only would they attempt to rebuild it, but the behavior may not change,” Kepley continued. “Those people who have been enjoying that spot for 30 years, we could take their stone patio away, and they would sit and camp on the rocks and do what they do now without their patio.”

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