A surfer who says he’s encountered racial discrimination and harassment while surfing Lunada Bay is inviting the public to join him there on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday Jan. 16. Christopher Taloa says the event is “a stand up to racism” and a chance to make the coastline and the waves at the notoriously localized break accessible to all.
“We’re going to celebrate integration,” says the Hawaiian-born surfer and former amateur bodyboarding champion, 43, who lives in Los Angeles. “I’m inviting everyone to come out and enjoy this beach and leave it just as they found it.” Taloa last staged a public event there on MLK Day in 2014.
The event will be held all day, and attendees can show up any time. Taloa says he hopes the waves will be surfable, but that people should feel encouraged to join, whether to surf or enjoy the area however they choose.
“It’s a beautiful place just to hang out. I can see people having a picnic just to enjoy the view,” Taloa says. Those who are interested can connect on Aloha Point Surf Club, a Facebook group that “helps surfers find other surfers to surf safely with at Lunada Bay.”
“It doesn’t belong to those guys,” he says, referring to surfers alleged to keep outsiders away with intimidation and harassment. “It’s a public beach and that’s what it means.”
Among other visitors, Taloa expects a drum circle led by “hippies from Venice.”
Palos Verdes Estates Police Chief Jeff Kepley said that “police personnel will be on-hand” on MLK Day and that the city “is committed to providing a safe environment for visitors and residents.”
“The Police Department actively patrols the Lunada Bay coastline during times of high surf and activity for maintaining public safety and for the public’s safe enjoyment of parklands. We welcome all to visit and enjoy the surf, pristine coastline, views and trails,” Kepley added.
Taloa has been an outspoken personality in the ongoing localism drama at the famed righthander. Since organizing the last MLK Day event, Taloa has become a witness in the pending federal class action lawsuit filed against the Bay Boys. In a recently filed deposition, he recounts an incident: “One of the locals paddled out painted in ‘Blackface’ makeup and wearing an afro wig and told me, ‘You don’t pay enough taxes to be here.’”
“I just wanted to surf Lunada Bay peacefully,” Taloa said in his deposition.
Kepley advises the public to call 911 in the event of an emergency or the police department for non-emergencies at (310) 378-4211.