When surf gangsters have to answer to The Man.
The Lunada Bay Boys are not your typical Los Angeles street gang. In fact, they’re almost entirely the opposite; they’re middle-aged, white, come from old money and are all surfers.
For decades, the Bay Boys have controlled Lunada Bay, one of Southern California's most coveted mushy pointbreaks. Through intimidation, threats and even beatings, the mid-life crises mobsters have made a name for themselves as surfing’s most feared welcoming committee. But their days of despotic rule over South Bay Los Angeles are beginning to look numbered after being slapped with a federal class-action lawsuit that was filed against them this past Tuesday (cue COPS theme).
Cory Spencer, an El Segundo police officer and surfer, is leading the suit and has named a few specific members of the gang in its filings. Spencer joins several other plaintiffs who are asking a federal judge to prevent members of the gang from congregating at the Bay.
Additionally, the suit targets the city of Palos Verdes Estates, a picturesque mansion-filled municipality where the median income is $170,000 and that the Bay Boys call home.
“Palos Verdes Estates has a long history of deliberate indifference in not investigating or otherwise policing acts of violence and vandalism against visiting beachgoers,” the suit alleges. “The response is always the same: City leaders acknowledge the problem, promise to do something, and then do little or nothing.”
In recent years, the Palos Verdes police department has largely turned a blind-eye when it comes to dealing with their local thugs. And while other Southern California beach communities tend to see localism-minded groups like the Bay Boys as an unfortunate, but unavoidable, aspect of surf culture that needs to be dealt with, it has been years since police have made an arrest at Lunada Bay.
It’s no secret that the gang’s members are thoroughly entrenched in the affluent community, many of them were born there and had parents that protected the break before them as well. So, by birthright, the bad boys of the bay have been gifted the esteemed position as protector for the world’s most hallowed fickle righthander. And to keep outsiders from tainting their sacred lineup they do what any reasonable group of adults would do — throw rocks, damage cars and make physical threats to strangers.
But it doesn’t stop there, because the billionaire surf gangsters not only have the audacity to attack kooks, barneys, sweepers and shredders to their hearts content, but also have the money to settle issues that get too out of hand.
Geoff Hagins, a local from nearby Torrance who has been surfing the area since the early 60s, is all too familiar with this. In 1995, Hagins visited Lunada Bay with his 10-year-old nephew, except he was was forced to quickly leave after members of the Bay Boys began to hassle and threaten both of them. Hagins returned to the bay though with with a local news crew in tow and was subsequently assaulted by Bay Boy Peter McCollum, who at the time was 34 and living on an inheritance. While the altercation resulted in a $15,000 settlement, Hagins has yet to return to the break.
The Lunada Bay Boys might not exactly be the Bloods, Crips or Cartel — but for surfers like Geoff Hagins and Cory Spencer, the violence they instigate is more than just a public nuisance. And while it is hilarious to imagine a group of rich full-grown men pretending to be Anthony Kiedes in Point Break, it might be time to finally say goodbye to surfing’s most privileged thugs.