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A Rich Old Dude Surfer Gang is Terrorizing a Los Angeles Beach

As those who've seen Point Break (or who are actual surfers) might know, surfing is not all "shaka, bro" and hanging loose. Often, there is a strong protectionist sentiment at the spots with the best waves. Down at Lunada Bay in Palos Verdes Estates, a group of super-scary, business-hardened, "affluent, mostly middle-age men" are keeping the waters free of outsiders by being dicks to non-regulars, the LA Times reports. Their disdain for outsiders extends beyond surfers; even fishermen get worried about dropping their lines in the water. The police, it seems, have decided to allow these old guys (they call themselves the Bay Boys) to continue to harass and, in some cases, assault people.

These aggressive surfers have been a thing for a while, but gained notoriety when a hidden-camera video filmed by two journalists and posted by the Guardian back in May illustrated the various forms of intimidation that the Bay Boys use to scare non-locals. (Like the sea in which they surf, these men are salty and love to drop an f-bomb.) In the video, surfers allude to bodily harm ("There's still fights down here," one surfer warns), engage in shitty rudeness ("Just leave. Go surf somewhere else."), and ultimately egg the journalists' car and write "kooks" (surfer slang for amateurs) on their windshield in surf wax. The territorial old-timers do everything but pull down their pants and pee on the sand to assert their ownership of the beach.

And it's not rare for the threats to go beyond just talk. The police have charged a few Bay Boys with assault, and people harmed by the rowdy surfers have filed multiple lawsuits against various members and the city of Palos Verdes. In 1996, a Bay Boy paid $15,000 to someone he hurt. But these dudes live in a community where the median income is $163,000; they can probably afford to get sued every now and then. In the video, one Bay Boy mentions, "So many people sue each other ... that's gonna cost you 10 grand. I don't wanna go through that shit again." (We get it, man: you've got money.)

Adding to the impunity of the Bay Boys is the look-the-other-way attitude the local police seems to have taken. Though the PVE police chief told the Times that he was "embarrassed by the localism that has shed a negative light on our city" and encouraged people to report any incidents with the Bay Boys, the hidden camera video from May shows the cops telling the reporters that, yeah, they know the guys, and they know what they do, but as for getting them to stop, "It is what it is. If you feel uncomfortable, you know, then don't do it."

The Bay Boys' locals-only mentality can be seen on other parts of the Palos Verdes Peninsula too. Like when the city tried to install a camera about 10 years ago to watch the beach and the waves at Lunada: "Residents complained that a Web broadcast would bring too many outsiders into town," and so, after three months, it was taken down. In nearby Rancho Palos Verdes, residents are upset that a local hiking spot is popular with non-residents and have gotten the city to severely restrict parking there.
· 'Gang mentality' of middle-age surfers keeps outsiders off Palos Verdes Estates waves [LAT]
· California's surf wars: wave 'warlords' go to extreme lengths to defend their turf [Guardian]
· Rancho Palos Verdes Residents Freaking Out Over Hikers Hiking at Hiking Spot [Curbed LA]