Long Read: Unsealed Lunada Bay “surf thugs” lawsuit reveals shocking acts of wanton “disrespect toward outsiders!”

"Throwing rocks, running people over with surfboards in the water, etc."

Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, Coronavirus, but do you remember when other worries, large worries, loomed over our days and kept us awake at night?

Worries like if those who identify as non-binary had suitable bathrooms and unchecked localism at Los Angeles’s Lunada Bay?

Well, a lawsuit against the notorious “Bay Boys” is being allowed to go forward and its formerly sealed complaints have just been made public.

Should we waltz back to a simpler time when an un-permitted stone fort and name calling represented the sum of our terror?

Without further ado, I present Spencer v. Mowat.

Lunada Bay is a premier surf spot, located in Palos Verdes Estates [a rich suburb of Los Angeles, south of LAX -EV]. The Lunada Bay Boys are alleged to be a group of young and middle-aged men, local to Palos Verdes Estates, who consider themselves to be the self-appointed guardians of Lunada Bay. One of their tenets is to keep outsiders away from the surf location through threats and violence.

Plaintiffs are non-locals who have tried to surf Lunada Bay, but encountered harassment by the Bay Boys. They brought suit against the Bay Boys and more than a dozen of its individual members. Two of those members filed motions to dismiss under the anti-SLAPP law (Code Civ. Proc., § 425.16), arguing that the allegations against them were based on protected speech and petitioning activity. The trial court denied the motions, concluding that the allegations against the moving defendants were actually based on a conspiracy to commit assault and other torts. Those defendants appeal, and we affirm….

The operative complaint is the first amended complaint. The plaintiffs are two surfers, Corey Spencer and Diana Milena Smoluchowska-Miernik, and Coastal Protection Rangers, a non-profit dedicated to protecting California’s beaches and ensuring they are safe and accessible to all visitors.

The defendants are the Lunada Bay Boys, a number of its individual members, including appellants Michael Thiel and Charlie Mowat, and the City of Palos Verdes Estates. Thiel and Mowat are the only defendants who are appellants in this appeal. Our discussion of the complaint’s factual allegations will therefore focus on their conduct, although some understanding of the general allegations is necessary….

Broadly speaking, plaintiffs allege that the Lunada Bay Boys, sometimes with the tacit approval of City officials who did nothing to stop them, engaged in what is known as “localism”—a practice of keeping outsiders away from the surf site through threats and violence. {The complaint alleges more than just tacit approval on the part on the City; it alleges that the City used its discretion to enforce municipal laws in a manner that discriminates against outsiders, and ignored requests of the California Coastal Commission to make Lunada Bay more accessible to the public. As we are only concerned with the anti-SLAPP motions of Thiel and Mowat, we do not further discuss the allegations against the City.}

The complaint alleges that the Bay Boys have “blocked public access to the beaches of Palos Verdes Estates, Lunada Bay in particular, for over 40 years. In what is a multi-generational practice of extreme ‘localism,’ and using rules established by the ‘older boys,’ the Bay Boys use physical violence, threats of bodily harm, vandalism to visitor[s’] vehicles, verbal harassment and other intimidation to enforce their unwritten rule: ‘If you don’t live here, you don’t surf here.’ Indeed, members of the Bay Boys believe it is ‘disrespectful’ for outsiders to visit, use or even photograph ‘their’ beach.”

The Bay Boys, specifically including Mowat, were alleged to have built and maintained an unpermitted masonry rock and wood fort seating area, known as “Rock Fort,” near the beach. “The steep switch-backed trails that lack proper improvements act as perfect pinch points, which the Lunada Bay Boys use to block access to the shoreline. From the Rock Fort and the bluffs above, the Individual Members of the Lunada Bay Boys orchestrate illegal activity that is intended to keep the public away. Some of the more egregious tactics include: (1) physically obstructing outsiders’ access to the beach trails; (2) throwing rocks; (3) running people over with surfboards in the water; (4) punching outsiders; (5) stealing outsiders’ wallets, wetsuits and surfboards; (6) vandalizing vehicles and personal property, including slashing tires and waxing pejorative slurs onto vehicle windows; (7) levying threats against outsiders; and (8) intimidating outsiders with verbal insults, gestures, and threats of serious injury.”

Due, in part, to the local police’s claimed unwillingness to pursue complaints against the Bay Boys, the individual plaintiffs and other would-be surfers who allegedly were harassed by the Bay Boys were often unable to identify the specific individuals who harassed them. As a result, certain allegations of the complaint simply name the “Individual Defendants,” a designation which includes Thiel and Mowat. For example, the complaint alleges that, “Individual Defendants intimidate visiting beachgoers with threats and taunts, by taking photos and video of beachgoers, and by congregating near the entrances to both [trails to the beach].” The complaint also alleges a conspiracy amongst the Bay Boys: “For many years, The Bay Boys have conspired to commit wrongful acts for the purpose of keeping outsiders from coming to Lunada Bay. The agreements between the individual members of the Bay Boys are made orally, in writing, and are implied by the conduct of the parties.”

The causes of action alleged against the Bay Boys and its individual members (including Mowat and Thiel) include public nuisance, assault and battery…..

The allegations against Mowat and Thiel are that, as members of the Bay Boys and “Individual Defendants,” they participated in the conspiracy. However, thanks to discovery in a related federal action, plaintiffs obtained records of some text messages among Bay Boys, and, based on those messages, made some specific allegations regarding participation in the conspiracy.

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Continue the terrifying saga here!

Listen: “If you could go back in time and either prevent the Coronavirus or invest in Zoom which would you choose?”

Let's stop being polite and start getting real.

When this Coronavirus first launched, some two months ago now, it was seen as a novel oddity. Difficult to comprehend. People in China made a disease/caught a disease, maybe, but China is so far away with notoriously spotty press releases. Then it raced to Europe, cut Italy away from the rest of the world and grounded many flights. Next came America where most cities are now under severe lockdown orders, a Navy hospital ship sits in New York’s harbor, albeit empty, brave SUP pilots head to jail and Joel Tudor and Ken Skindog Collins wage pitched battles.


That all escalated very quickly.

But if you could go back in time and either stop a hungry Chinese man from eating a bat or invest in the video conferencing application Zoom which would you choose?

David Lee Scales told me that Zoom’s current valuation is higher than the entire airline industry.


I don’t know.

He also told me that I fly in the face of science.

We discuss science today and surfing. Also Joel Tudor, Ken Skindog, paranoia, sensitivity, disease and fun.

You can listen here and why not? What other pressing business do you have?

But you can also answer the principle question below and cut through the noise, as it were.

Saving “millions” or making “millions”?

Also, anyone have any other investment advice?

Atmospheric chemist doubles down on danger of surfing in time of Coronavirus: “I wouldn’t go in the water if you paid me $1,000,000!”

Also much yelling at surfers from windows.

This novel Coronavirus pandemic has more twists, more turns, than a Guy Ritchie film. Each day brings some wild, unforeseen drama. Martial law put in place across the United States of America, no human being allowed within six-feet of another human being. Scientists and doctors sharpening their swords, swinging wildly at each other.

This last bit is particularly intriguing seeing as the two are usually complimentary and genteel but no longer. Not now when China’s Great Middle Finger is causing much consternation.

It began two days ago, when Kim Prather, then described as a “virus scientists” declared that surfers bashing the lip, causing spray also sent the Coronavirus far and wide.

Yesterday, Hawaii’s health director, Dr. Bruce Anderson took violent umbrage and declared, “I disagree with that.”

Unbowed, unbent Ms. Prather is back today, this time with a different title and putting her money where her mouth is and let us read directly.

Kim Prather, a leading atmospheric chemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, wants to yell out her window at every surfer, runner, and biker she spots along the San Diego coast.

“I wouldn’t go in the water if you paid me $1 million right now,” she said.

Prather fears that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could enter coastal waters in similar ways and transfer back into the air along the coast.

In her research, Prather has found that the ocean churns up all kinds of particulate and microscopic pathogens, and every time the ocean sneezes with a big wave or two, it sprays these particles into the air. She believes that this new coronavirus is light enough to float through the air much farther than we think. The six-feet physical distancing rule, she said, doesn’t apply at the beach, where coastal winds can get quite strong and send viral particles soaring.

“It’s not going to kill you if you miss a few surfing sessions, but it could if you go out there and get in the wrong air,” she said.

“You can’t see the virus, you can’t smell it … It’s a real silent killer right now.”

And there we have it. Gauntlet laid etc. But a few questions, have you been yelled at by Ms. Prather?

Also, if we crowd funded $1,000,000 and gave it to her if she went for a quick surf do you think she would take or turn down?

Lastly, how will Hawaiian doctors respond?

More as the story develops.

Carson, during his two-hour solo sesh, as photographed by his gardener. | Photo: Carson's gardener.

Interview: Graphic Design icon David Carson on epic solo sesh during Tortola’s 24/7 lockdown, “It’s one thing being the only one out, I get that every season, but it’s a whole different feeling knowing no-one’s even coming out!”

Who among us could ignore the siren call of empty four-footers spinning down a down a tropical point like a mirage?

Yesterday, we celebrated the eighteenth most influential artist in history, David Carson’s solo session at Cane Garden Bay on the Caribbean island of Tortola.

As the joint bunkered down to fight the spread of Covid-19, Carson flouted its six-day long twenty-four hour lockdown law to ride empty four-foot CGB on Sunday, March 29, posting the event on his Instagram page, and, eventually, losing his surfboard to the local cops.

I asked, who among us could ignore the siren call of empty four-footers spinning down a down a tropical point like a mirage, its endless beckoning enough to drive any man mad.

Carson, who is sixty-four years old and whose surfer bona fides are proved by the fact he was once invited to the prestigious Smirnoff Pro Am in Hawaii, felt as restless as a ship pulling against its mooring.

The view from Carson’s yard.

I asked him, today, about the experience.

How good was CGB in the grand scheme of things?

“Best day of the year,” said Carson. “It can get bigger, but rarely as clean. I’ve been here twenty-three winters now and I’d rate this as one of my top two go-outs. It’s one thing being the only one out, I get  that every season, but it’s a whole different feeling knowing no-one’s even coming out.”

Carson, during his two-hour solo sesh, as photographed by his gardener.

Carson said he was surprised no one else had a swing at what was always going to be a one-day swell.

“I saw it coming on the charts, right after they had  announced the island’s lockdown. The night before I read online that they had just announced a five-thousand dollar fine and possible twelve-month jail sentence for ‘anyone who violates the curfew’. Ugh.”

Carson, whose own property extends, theoretically I suppose, fifteen yards into the water, knew it was firing from the moment he woke up.

“There were long lulls between sets so if you quickly had a look, you might’ve thought it was flat.”

Thing was, Carson could hear it.

He took a morning coffee, watched a few sets, then figured his strategy.

“Get one wave, then get back in before the cops come. I wanted to know I had at least ridden one wave during what truly was ‘a once in a lifetime opportunity’ but then I decided after the first wave, ok, maybe three and then I’ll go in. Two hours later, I was still out there.”

Figuring he’d save a little energy for the late sesh, the joint aways pulses right before dark he says, Carson came in and sat beneath the same tree he always sits under after a sesh.

“Just to relax, do some breathing exercises and reflect on what just happened. Then I saw ’em.”


“Two police officers walking up the rock on the point to where I was sitting. Oops. Well, I had kinda been expecting them all morning and I was surprised it took them over two hours to show up.”

Carson said, “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” replied the cops, who then asked Carson for his ID.

Happy and polite Tortola policeman.

“I was still dripping wet and I told him I didn’t have it on me. Kinda without warning, he grabbed my surfboard which I was holding on my knees as I sat, they took my name and they were gone. He told me to get it at the local police statin when this is all over.”

Cops leave with Carsons’ vessel.

When was the last time Carson surfed it solo like this?

“Well, living right here, the property goes right to the water, I often see the first rideable set come down the point. So it’s not that unusual. I’ve had solo sessions  a half-dozen times just in the past couple months, but not like this.”

How did he feel about the episode with the cops?

“Overall, the cops were pretty decent about the whole thing,” says Carson. “I understand they were just doing their job in unprecedented circumstances. I think we both showed mutual respect, which goes a long way in disputes. We’re still in lockdown here so I haven’t heard much about what people think, though no doubt some of the other surfers were kinda jealous or pissed. I would be. There was a news conference where they talked about how many people had been arrested since the curfew started and someone asked, ‘What about that guy who went swimming?’ That’d be me.”

I ask Carson for his response to people who snitch and the narcs who say nobody should surf.

“I walked down my own property that actually extends fifteen-yards into the sea and jumped of the rocks. It’s two acres. The gate was locked and I never left my property. There wasn’t another person in site so no one was in any danger… the new two-week lockdown here specifies that you are allowed anywhere on your own property. The police couldn’t see me around the point from their offices and I suspect never would have seen me…”

“But,” says Carson, “there’s an old guy here who used to surf, who lives up the hill. The police told me he and his wife called to complain that I was surfing.  As my gardener was opening the gate for the cops to leave, one cop said,  ‘Look, she (the wife) is up there filming us now.”

The price of surfer resistance.

High stakes game of cat-and-mouse: Malibu Season opens to first empty lineup in one hundred years; SUP pilot arrested after high-speed chase for breaching “gestapo” lock-down laws!

Unidentified SUP pilot takes on amphibious division of LAPD!

Two days ago, it was celebrity VALS Jonah Hill and Jaden Smith raising their fists to LA County’s beach closures.

(Read about their brave resistance here,)

Now, on the opening day of the Malibu season, the new face of surfer-resistance against what super-shaper Matt Biolos calls “Commie” Gav Newsom’s “gestapo laws” is an unidentified SUP pilot who took on the amphibious division of LA’s cops.

After a short-ish session, the city’s lifeguard boat pounced and the pilot subsequently arrested.

The springsuit-clad man was led, in chains, up the famous beach, now home to television actress Meghan Markle and her former royal husband, Haz.

Captured SUP man, chained and arrested at Malibu.

And how good are the waves?


View this post on Instagram

Empty Malibu right now, unveiled and naked.

A post shared by Beach Grit (@beach_grit) on

Update, from Lost Hills’ Sheriff Station,

On April 2, 2020, Lost Hills Sheriff’s station deputies were flagged down by lifeguards regarding a male adult in the water, disobeying lifeguard orders to exit the water.

The suspect remained in the water paddle boarding for approximately 30-40 minutes. LASD boat was brought in from Marina Del Rey Station, once the Sheriff’s boat arrived on scene, the suspect complied and swam to shore.

The suspect was arrested for Disobeying a Lifeguard 17.12.115 LACC and Violation of Government Code 8665. The suspect was transported to Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station where he was booked and released on a promise to appear.

Net closes in on rogue pilot. The photo, which appeared on the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station Facebook page drew one comment: “Not another soul in the water and yet this monster chooses to demand his freedom and liberty to paddle board in the abandoned waters off the coast.
Abandon all hope you have become subjects to a government that considers you slaves and revenue prey.”


(Footage and other photo courtesy of noted BeachGrit commenter Hippy.)