Things haven’t been that easy on the East Coast this Summer. In true fashion, the Atlantic did not provide much to play on through the hot summer days, but as summer wound into fall, hope gleaned eternal with the promise of incoming storms on the horizon. But just as the waves finally arrived, a new hiccup hopped up on Shea Lopez and Peter Mendia, when they tried to paddle out at a pier about a mile from Lopez’ home. “It’s the only spot where photographers and video guys can get up above the waves and actually get a good shot,” explains Lopez of the pier. But Johnny Law, or rather Joanie Law, had little regard for their artistic endeavors.
A local crew will usually surf the South side of the pier, but Lopez and Mendia decided to head out on the North side that fateful afternoon. It didn’t take long, only about thirty minutes before the fuzz got savvy to their renegade surfing to the north. The Police Captain pulled up to the beach just as “me and Peter get caught by a big set and pushed within about fifty feet of the pier, and you’re not allowed to go within 300 feet,” says Lopez. Hot on her feet, the Captain sent out a jetski to bring the two to shore, and justice. Thinking they would get little more than a slap on the wrist and a “Don’t surf here,” the two headed in, but they were not received with open arms.
“So we get up and I’m the first one out of the water and she’s just straight up, ‘You’re under arrest,’ and I’m like ‘Excuse me? … I’m harming who? Why?’ She’s like, ‘Arp, urhg, fwah, don’t make me put you in cuffs!’”
“It was a ruckus,” describes Lopez. “There was FWC, which is wildlife officers for marine violations, and they radioed police officers, and all the beach patrol, who are actually officers here as well and carry guns, and then she was the captain of it all. She was running the show, making an example [of us] for the kids who hang out there.”
As the scene unfolded, the two were near cuffs on several occasions, but managed to keep their heads, and not cause too much of an argument. What it amounted to was what Lopez described as “a glorified ticket, being arrested without going to jail.” Luckily however, Lopez picked up on a useful tidbit of information from the Captain; she’d be off the clock by 5:30 p.m., leaving them a little over an hour to get back in the water at the pier before sunset.
The circus took its toll however; during the hour and a half dispute about who did what, the best waves of the day passed under the best lighting, but all eyes were on the parking lot. About which, Lopez raises an interesting point, “if someone was drowning, every lifeguard and beach patrol on the whole beach was dealing with me [and Peter] in the parking lot for surfing too close to the pier,” in which case, who’s watching the beach?