The Inertia Founder

The Inertia

March 29, 2016 is an important date in surf history. It marks the first time in surf culture’s relatively brief life that the United States legal system has been called upon to act as an arbiter of justice in surfing’s most ubiquitous, yet unspoken social code: localism. And what better place for the theater of the courts to perform its surf dance than Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world.

In abstract, localism has its merits. It’s (theoretically) a hierarchy designed to maintain a structure in an otherwise lawless space. Some might argue that the intimidation, threats, and (sometimes) violence, work toward a greater good. That by infringing upon the safety of a handful of unwanted trespassers, the safety and structure of a larger group is preserved. It’s a challenging argument to make. It’s kind of like saying the world was safer when El Chapo was operating at full capacity. His leadership regulated an evil trade, and rarely did its participants step out of line. Now that he’s gone, however, it’s a free for all, and it’s arguably far more dangerous than before. It’s the more sensible and lesser of two evils. Arguably.

That’s in abstract, of course.

As we’ve reported on and observed the situation at Lunada unfold, we thought it wise to speak to the individuals involved. We sat down with Diana Reed, one of the suit’s plaintiff’s, along with her lawyer, Vic Otten, to hear their side of the story firsthand.

It’s ugly. A man poured a beer on her and exposed himself to her while a group filmed her. The man told her his penis would “get the job done.” She feels no one should have to tolerate such behavior when visiting the beach.

But we wanted to hear the other side of the story too. That was more challenging.

It turns out that when you’re being served by the law, you’re not super keen to sit down in front of a camera to discuss the charges. And if you haven’t been served, you’d rather keep it that way. Understandable. As such, we were able to sit down with Frank Ponce, a Palos Verdes resident (and nonsurfer) who authored an Op-Ed in the Palos Verdes Peninsula News entitled “Lawsuit Off Base: Bay Boys Not a Gang.”

Ponce described a much different scenario at Lunada Bay. He described a neighborly, family-oriented community that enjoys the beauty of their backyard, but doesn’t stray outside the norms of civility in keeping that treasure quiet. He believes the media spotlight on Lunada is overblown and unfair, and that the dynamics at Lunada Bay aren’t much different than those of any beach community, and complete openness yields its own set of challenges. He likens it to smog in Yosemite.

And while he’s right to note that surfing has a peculiar tragic flaw that’s often senselessly cruel to newcomers, without visiting Lunada for yourself, objectively, you’ll never know. Interestingly, that fits the narrative well.

In the meantime, get acquainted with the dueling perspectives in the pending Lunada Bay lawsuit.

If you’d like to weigh in on the issue or have a tip, shoot us a note at

Additional footage supplied by The Guardian.


Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.