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Beach Grit

Meet: Hair-yanking super-local Unkle Tito!

Jake M Tellkamp

by Jake M Tellkamp

"I am a core surfer, blood in and blood out," says Chad "Unkle Tito" Towersey.

Yesterday, if you had scrolled through the IG accounts of Reports from Hell, Kook of the Day and BeachGrit you would’ve screamed with delight, or become anguished beyond words, at the following clip that had been pulled from OcInstaNews. 

Hair-pulling puppy love! Such brisk action! A scurrilous farce! @ocinstanews

A post shared by Beach Grit (@beach_grit) on

In the little featurette we see  Chad “Unkle Tito” Towersey, who is thirty-seven years old and a fifth-generation Newport Beach, California local, deal with a drop-in with a yank of the hair. In the shallows, the drop-in behaves in a conciliatory manner but Towersey continues to rebel against the injustice.

According to Towersey’s live post of the event, the red-headed Rasta said, “Hey man, this is my wave I’ve been waiting for this one.”

Towersey responded:

“You know who’s a loc dog and who’s not by the way they paddle out and look at you. If I don’t know who you are, you can’t be a doinker at my local spot. The first wave came right to me. He burns me on this day. I knew the camera was filming and I came right up on this guy on my Russell love muscle surfboard. I have the quad fins so it wasn’t too hard to catch up. I’m not playing grab ass. I am a core surfer, blood in and blood out. As a local, I run the show. If you want to come down to busted stick beach and test me, then come down and test me. This is my pipeline. I’m not going to let any doinker tell me it is his wave at my spot. I grew up with localism in my generation. I don’t care how big it is. Surfing is about being a savage and getting barrelled. Surfing to me is about regulating doinkers at your spot.”

And, earlier today, posting live, Towersey said, and referring to himself in the third person, “It looked like a six-foot-on girl. Unkle Tito pulled his hair and took him down to Chinatown.”

The last time Towersey’s Instagram page, OcInstaNews, was on blast was for starting a schoolyard trend of calling cyclists, “butt darts” and pretending to shoot ’em, which upset local bicycle enthusiasts.

From the Orange County Register:

Tony Petros has seen a lot as a cyclist and former Newport Beach city councilman.

But he’s not likely to forget a recent Wednesday evening ride on Pacific Coast Highway by Mariner’s Mile, when a pickup truck jumped from the leftmost lane and toward his bicycle.

“Young kids started screaming (‘butt dart’) at me,” Petros said. “They kept doing it, and it wasn’t funny.”

The “butt dart” stunt — an act of pointing a finger gun, making a shooting noise and yelling at cyclists — has gained traction recently on social media. As silly as the act may seem, Orange County cyclists say it has them intimidated.

Now, a law firm is considering filing a harassment suit on behalf of several affected cyclists against Chad Towersey, the man who started it all.

“What we want is for (Towersey) to denounce this,” said Gven Sariol, a cycling safety advocate at the Sariol Legal firm in Santa Ana.

Towersey said he’s actually performing the stunt, and recording it, as a way to promote safe bicycling: “Please ride safe and obey the rules of the road — That is all we ask,” he wrote in a caption for an Instagram post.

He declined to comment further.

Towersey operates the website ocinstanews, which has about 9,000 followers on Instagram. He calls himself “a home grown California kid in a grown man’s body delivering real news with real problems,” although his videos mostly document his antics.

He has been doing “butt dart” stunts at least since May, and some of his followers have joined him.

There are no state or local regulations against the act. Law requires that drivers must leave at least three feet of space as they pass cyclists, but there is no other regulation against drivers or pedestrians harassing cyclists.

California Highway Patrol officer Josh Nelson said it’s difficult to cite someone simply for yelling.

“Everyone would be arrested,” Nelson said.

Towersey later apologised.