To surfers who know the spot and the people who live near it, Lunada Bay is famed for its frighteningly territorial surfers. Known colloquially as the Bay Boys, this group of white, wealthy, middle-aged surfers have reportedly kept outsiders out of the water by throwing rocks, verbally harassing, and, in some cases, physically assaulting people attempting to surf on the public beach in wealthy Palos Verdes Estates. For many years, this has gone on more or less with impunity (critics say the local police have long looked the other way), but the new Palos Verdes police chief says he's going to come down hard on the old-man surf gang, the AP reports.
Jeff Kepley, the new chief of police, has been on the job for about a year, and says he's ready to step up enforcement to catch the Bay Boys in action. Kepley tells the LA Times that the police are adding patrols along the coast and that officers are working overtime. He's hoping the extra effort will lead to an arrest, the first for a Bay Boy in years. "We will make an example out of anyone who behaves criminally down there," Kepley said.
The Bay Boys rose to notoriety beyond the Palos Verdes Peninsula when two undercover journalists for the Guardian filmed themselves being threatened and harassed by the surf toughs, who eventually egged the journalists' car. (What is this, junior high?) The reporters also filmed their conversation with the police, which revealed the sort of hands-off approach that critics say has been local law enforcement's MO for too long. ("It is what it is. If you feel uncomfortable, you know, then don't do it," the reporters were told.) The Times says the Bay Boys have been a problem since at least 1995, when their actions prompted a protest on the bluff by the beach. The police came through checking for expired license plate tags and eventually dispersed the protest, "citing a bomb threat."
The new police chief didn't exactly acknowledge that the police have been allowing the Bay Boys' hooliganism, but he did promise, "[I]f we did discount a claim, and I'm not saying we did, we are going to make sure we do the right thing."
· Police vow to stop Southern California surfers who use violence to protect waves [AP]
· Palos Verdes police chief promises to take on the 'Bay Boys' of Lunada [LAT]
· A Rich Old Dude Surfer Gang is Terrorizing a Los Angeles Beach [Curbed LA]