Lunada Bay Surf Gang's Reign May Be Coming To An End
Surfers at the famous Lunada Bay in Palos Verdes Estates may be seeing a lot more law enforcement patrol soon. Park rangers from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, along with potential police surveillance cameras, will keep an eye on the spot known to have violent, territorial clashes between surfers.
A group known as the Lunada Bay Boys has threatened and intimidated fellow surfers, and has illegally blocked public access to the cove, for decades. In the last year, a series of civil, state, and federal suits has been brought against the group to end their reign.
“The plaintiffs brought the lawsuits to open access to a beach that was stolen 40 years ago by a bunch of trust-fund bullies,” Victor Otten, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in a state suit, said, notes the Los Angeles Times. “The plaintiffs are confident they will succeed in making Lunada Bay public again.”
Reports have cited the gang assaulting unwelcomed beach-goers, slashing tires, dumping beer on people, and pelting others with dirt clods.
In 2014, a planned Martin Luther King Jr. Day event at the beach was met by members of the Lunada Bay Boys dressed in black face and Afro wigs. The Bay Boys alleged told the event organizer, “You don’t pay enough taxes to be here.”
In March, a federal class-action suit was filed to require the city of Palos Verdes Estates to investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes.
But Jeff Kepley, the Palos Verdes Estates Police Chief, challenges the beach’s bad rap.
“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 in January, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “But there are plenty of times when anyone can go down there and enjoy themselves and nobody could care less.”
City Manager Tony Dahlerbruch added that he hopes to implement the proposed security measures shortly after January 1.
“We’re looking to start as soon as we can.”