SUP Pilot Receives 5 Years In Prison For Bashing Surfer With His Paddle
Sounds funny, but it's not.
One month ago, we reported on a court decision that found Paul Konen, a SUP enthusiast from San Diego, guilty of assault against another surfer with his paddle.
Due to the extreme effects on the victim (hole in head, speech impediment, forgetfulness, etc.) the crime was punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Today, a San Diego judge sentenced Mr. Konen to serve five of those seven years behind bars.
This, from the Miami Herald:
“Today is a good day for the surf community,” said Deputy District Attorney Matthew Greco, according to the station. “When people are out in the water, they are safe. The rules on land apply to the ocean.”
Eslinger, a surfing and swim coach, told the judge he still has trouble speaking as a result of his injuries, leading people to believe he’s drunk or “damaged,” the Union-Tribune reported.
“Two lives are irrevocably changed,” Eslinger said, KNSD reported. “But I feel justice was done.”
Konen’s attorney, Brian McCarthy, had earlier argued in court that his client was only trying to get away from Eslinger, who pursued him on his surfboard, the Times of San Diego reported.
“The question is did my client intentionally assault Mr. Eslinger or was there a situation where Mr. Eslinger got in front of my client’s path and got hurt?” McCarthy said, according to the publication.
Crazy to think that before Konen paddled out that day, he was probably anticipating a nice, relaxing sea sweep, exempt from any adverse consequences beyond the typical sniggers and sneers that accompany a SUP. Now he's gotta spend the next five (or maybe three, if he behaves well) years locked in a cage, adjacent killers, tax evaders, and occasional weed smokers.
The moral of the story here is: just relax, man—wave rage ain't worth it.
Also: best not to surf while holding a deadly weapon.