Could This Be The Nail In The Californian Localism Coffin?
A new ruling sets a possible precedent for Californian cities to “confront the aggressive and territorial behavior of local surfers”.
Localism, in some form or another, plays a role of varying impact in nearly every surf lineup in the world. If you’ve surfed more than a handful of times, chances are you’ve witnessed some form of hierarchy-based aquatic posturing.
But, is the prevalence of surf-territorialism fading? Are the days of beach-bound fisticuffs and waxy windshields behind us?
Ol’ Toenail sure thinks so. Apparently, California’s legislative system agrees.
In a somewhat convoluted appeal, a lower level court has dredged up the very viral Lunada Bay lawsuits of 2016.
Per the East Bay Times:
“The ruling drags Palos Verdes Estates back into a lawsuit filed in 2016 by two surfers who experienced firsthand the wrath of the Lunada Bay Boys and felt the city wasn’t doing enough to stop it. In 2020, a trial court judge in that case dismissed the city from the suit, which also named 15 Bay Boys individually.
Now, not only is the city potentially back on the hook, but attorneys for the plaintiffs and the California Coastal Commission say the appellate court’s broader interpretation of the Coastal Act sets a “monumental” precedent that could force cities to confront the aggressive and territorial behavior of local surfers, referred to as surf localism, or face fines of up to $15,000 per day.”
The city has denied the allegations and argues it never violated the Coastal Act. It demolished the rock fort — which was more of a stone patio — in 2016 amid a media frenzy about the Bay Boys.
Ed Richards, an attorney representing Palos Verdes Estates, said he believes the state lawsuit will be dismissed just like a federal civil rights lawsuit, filed by the same surfers, was in 2018.
“We’re naturally disappointed in the court’s decision,” Richards said. “What this means is the case will likely return to the trial department and proceed with the litigation. We remain confident that we’ll prevail at the next stage.”
Though nothing has been set in stone, this is a clear symptom of late-stage localism.
Worth noting, 12 of the 15 “Bay Boys” named in the original case have settled — some agreeing to stay away from the infamously sacred wave for at least a year, others paying up to $90,000 in ‘reparations.’
The case returns to the Superior Court this month.
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