The Lunada Bay Boys, the keepers of L.A.’s most localized surf spot, have just been slapped with a federal class action lawsuit. Filed Tuesday in California, the suit alleges that the Bay Boys’ gang-like intimidation, vandalism and harassment of outsiders denies surfers access to the reeling righthander at Palos Verdes’ Lunada Bay.
The suit identifies individuals who it calls several members of the gang: Sang Lee, Brant Blakeman, Angelo Ferrara,Frank Ferrara, Nicholas Ferrara, Charlie Ferrara, and Michael Rae Papayans, and Alan Johnston, “aka” Jalian Johnston. In addition, it names as a defendant the city of Palos Verdes Estates.
The plaintiffs are asking a federal judge to fine each of the named Bay Boys $30,000 and to bar them from surfing the point break for an unspecified period of time.
The lead plaintiffs are Cory Spencer, an El Segundo Police Officer and surfer, Diana Milena Reed, a Malibu resident and “aspiring big wave surfer.” They both claim that the Bay Boys’ presence has prevented them from surfing the wave, a right that can hold size up to a few times overhead. It’s one of LA’s best, but it’s enjoyed by few non-locals. The Coastal Protection Rangers are also a named plaintiff in the suit, which describes the group as “dedicated to enforcing” the California Coastal Act.
The complaint basically says the Palos Verdes Police Department, a force of 40 officers, knows all about the gang and does squat. The department “has a long history of deliberate indifference in not investigating or otherwise policing acts of violence and vandalism against visiting beachgoers,” the complaint says. “Despite decades of complaints, the response is always the same: City leaders acknowledge the problem, promise to do something, and then do little or nothing.”
“By law, Lunada Bay is open to all. In reality, it is open to few,” says the complaint, filed by law firms Hanson Bridgett and Otten & Joyce.
At this point, the Bay Boys’ localism is known to surfers everywhere. But this lawsuit gives a fine-grained picture of some encounters surfers have had with locals. Reed, the female plaintiff, claims that two of the Bay Boys sprayed her and her camera with beer, and told her she “excited them.” One of them, the suit says, told her his penis would “get the job done” and that another exposed himself to her while he was changing clothes.
The suit mentions the stone fort on the point, a construction that some have alleged violates coastal development rules, and calls out the city for “knowingly maintaining” it.
The complaint ultimately outlines eight separate causes of action, which include assault, battery, civil conspiracy, violation of coastal act, and public nuisance.
We’ll keep you updated with more information as it becomes available.