Stories of “localism” have spread far and wide coming out of Palos Verdes for quite some time now. Of course this is all dependent on your interpretation of the root word “local” and just what localism entails, but as it relates to Lunada Bay the general understanding has become that the Bay Boys will either threaten to beat you up, threaten to wreck your car, or actually follow through on either or both claims should you show up along Paseo del Mar with a board and your backpack. It’s all been pretty much hearsay unless you’ve stood on the cliff or walked down the trail yourself. That is until a class-action lawsuit was filed against a few of the spot’s regulars and (perhaps more importantly) the Palos Verdes Police Department.
The lawsuit led The Daily Breeze, a local South Bay newspaper down the rabbit hole of figuring out just how constant the problem might be along Paseo del Mar. What they found is equal parts disturbing and embarrassing, but mostly disturbing because it’s so embarrassing. According to the story, more than a dozen police reports were filed since January of 2015. They range from actual footage of a fight along the cliffs to a stolen pair of flip flops (yes). In the mysterious flip flop case, which happened in July of 2015, a man reported that he had been yelled at in the water before his assailant swam away to shore and took his sandals. When police showed up the flip flop thief had a different story and pointed to his friends to back up his claims that the visiting surfer had been the aggressor all along. An hour later the police were called again when the original accuser came back to a dent and a muddy footprint on his car. Other reports include a drunk woman chasing away hikers or two visiting surfers reporting they’d been yelled at and handing over GoPro footage of their encounter, only to have the police say the footage was unwatchable because of “technical difficulties.”
Zero arrests were made in any of the reports, either because they were clearly frivolous calls to the police department to begin with (I’m looking at you, flip flop guy) or because law enforcement couldn’t get a clear account of what happened (also, looking at you flip flop thief). A theme pops up in the reports in which the accused and the accusers have mismatched stories. Palos Verdes PD has no hard evidence of either account, and nothing more comes of it. It should also be noted that while no arrests have been made involving any of those 2015/2016 police reports or surf related incidents in several years, apparently Palos Verdes PD don’t really do the whole “arrest” thing at all. The Daily Breeze reports that the last arrest in Palos Verdes Estates came in 2004.
Police say they didn’t make an arrest in reference to the footage of a fight along the cliffs because it “provided a limited perspective of the men because of the distance from Paseo del Mar to the cliffs.” If the victim comes forward and the attacker is identified they say the report will be reclassified as a crime report and forwarded to the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office. The footage shows two punches being thrown at a man with a surfboard while four others look on, presumably with the attacker. Eventually, without ever retaliating, the man picks up his board and walks away, appearing to still be headed toward the water. There’s zero context for the incident given in the video, but according to the woman who filmed it all the man was being told to leave.
“God, why are they just so territorial?” she asks.
“Because that’s just how it is out here,” a man replies.
“I don’t like California anymore,” somebody says.
” Shit, this aint…Huntington Beach is worse,” the man adds.
Surf City declined to comment on any accusations that it is in fact “worse.”