Bay Boys’ Fort Busted

Jackhammers airlifted to demolish Lunada Bay Boys' clubhouse

The Los Angeles Times reports that jackhammers and wrecking crews have been brought in to tear down the clubhouse / fort erected by the “infamous” Lunada Bay Boys, a group of territorial Palos Verdes surfers.

According to the LA Times‘ Dan Weikel, “Work got underway Monday to demolish an illegal stone and wood shelter built by a group of territorial surfers who are accused of using intimidation and violence to keep non-locals away from the well-shaped waves at Lunada Bay in Palos Verdes Estates.”

The Lunada Bay Boys have found themselves under an unwanted spotlight, their exploits in the water and on land – harassing visiting surfers, slashing tires, throwing rocks – becoming the subjects of international exposés by the likes of The Guardian and Newsweek, who called them, unironically, “America’s Most Notorious Surf Gang.”

The gang’s clubhouse was erected in the late-1970s, during California’s dark period (white boards, black wetsuits, no cameras), and has remained one of the last outposts of that era’s latent localism and aggressive surfy xenohobia.

According to Weikel, “Police reports over the years also show that the shelter, which was constructed without permits near the water’s edge, has repeatedly been the scene of drug and alcohol use.”

“That the city is moving forward with plans to take down the fort is indeed a good first step,” said Noaki Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the California Coastal Commission. “We will continue to work to make sure measures are put in place to ensure the public is not discouraged from enjoying Lunada Bay.”

Demolition began on Monday, and involved a helicopter airlifting “jackhammers, an air compressor and other equipment to the site below steep cliffs on the northwestern part of the bay.”

They are expected to have the whole structure torn down and cleaned up by Friday.