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Surfer Tells Board Makers to Pay Up, Brah

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Photo by Michael Zampelli via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
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When Tom Gregg went surfing off the coast of France in 2009, he wiped out.

But the real bummer was that the fin on his Channel Islands surf board cut a deep gash on his right leg, severing his muscles and causing him permanent damage.

Now Gregg is doing something The Los Angeles Times reports is unusual in the world of surfing: he's suing the board manufacturer.

"The surfboard, fins and their component parts were unsafe for their intended use," Gregg said in the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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His attorney, Jeffrey Karpel, said the fins are so sharp surfers cover them with protective sleeves, but Gregg didn't know that until it was too late.

Such suits are rare in the world of surf board manufacturing. Usually, these companies are worried about the stiff competition in the field or which surfer they're going to sponsor. (Channel Islands has that locked down: It sponsors Kelly Slater, the world's best-known surfer.)

Scott Anderson, general manager of Carpinteria-based Channel Islands, said it's the first product-liability lawsuit filed against the company. "I've been here 20 years and I haven't seen one," he said.