Yo, yo. You down wit da MLO? {{{Fox}}} News recently aired an unintentionally hilarious news story about a new type of street gang, replete with its own hand signs and graffiti that was as vicious as the Crips or the Bloods, and was from, of all places, {{{Malibu}}}. Fox reported that alleged members of group of surfers called MLO, short for Malibu Locals Only, were involved in two battery cases last year. So are these guys real muthaf***n’ G’s? Or is this another case of the mainstream media trying to make a federal case out of run of the mill localism? We sat down with young Malibu High surfer Daniel Howard, who was quoted in the Fox report, to get da 411 on da MLO. Word.

SURFINGTHEMAG: What is the MLO and how did it start?
DANIEL HOWARD: The MLO started as a group of guys who were fed up with obnoxious surfers who didn’t grow up in Malibu and didn’t live in Malibu and were coming to beaches and acting like they did. It originated as a gang but the leader got put into jail ten or fifteen years ago.

What are the goals of it?
Right now it’s not a gang, it’s more of a vibe, but the overall goals are to allow everyone in the surf to have a good time by basically everyone respecting each other, keeping the beaches clean and not acting like an asshole in the lineup.

How are things organized?
It’s not organized now. There’s a group of guys that graduated from Malibu High that are in their twenties and have nothing else to do. They just go to high school parties and (MLO) gives them something to do, something to claim.

How do they show they’re in MLO?
They’re wearing the hats, the sweatshirts, the belts. It’s kinda become a fashion since Shops started making “Locals Only” shirts or “Malibu” shirts. Even people in the Valley are wearing them.

How come the stuff they wear is all written “gangsta” style script?
It’s just what’s popular. It’s just what’s cool.

Do these guys consider themselves a real street gang?
They used to. It used to be a more organized group. Most of the gang realized after a couple of years that their lives weren’t going anywhere. So they went and got jobs and realized (MLO) was stupid. But there’s still some older guys that (MLO) is all they have going for them. So that’s what they do, they get drunk and they want to fight. And what’s their excuse? MLO.

How many guys are really into it now?
10 or 15 at most. There’s no MLO enforcers, just people who put out the vibe.

What about the two assaults mentioned in the Fox News report — the one about the guy from Canoga Park who was supposedly attacked by MLO members on the beach and the severe beating of a teenager by older MLO members at a party in Malibu?
I didn’t hear anything about the guy on the beach. I think that was just played up. It was probably just some guy acting like an idiot on the beach and then some people who were just fed up with it, who didn’t have an excuse to beat him up, but it was over the summer when there’s tons of beach traffic, tons of people trashing the beach, tons of people breaking glass at the beach and then when you go out to surf, you step on it. And this was a guy who probably had it taken out on him. He probably thought he was Mr. Cool coming to the beach from Canoga Park and didn’t realize that there actually are some people that care. And he was at a beach that is fairly localized and there’s only a few of them that are like that. So it was probably a bad call on his part to go there. The other party where the guy got hit with the Mag light — what happened was there were these guys, they were invited to a Malibu party, they were from the Valley and some local Malibu guys showed up at the party and they had been drinking all night. All the locals needed was a reason to get into fight and this guy from the Valley gave them one. H probably didn’t want to take any crap at first and it exploded on him and he got hurt pretty bad.

Were the guys who did it surfers?
No, they’re not. They’re just assholes. They either don’t go to school or have graduated and all they do is go to parties and wreck the parties. They just don’t have anything else to do. Some of them used to work at Subway, some of them used to work at Blockbuster. They’re just the scum of Malibu.

But there are surfers that claim MLO, right?
Yeah. I mean if I’m out there and there’s just guys being idiots and I’ve never seen em’ out there, I’m gonna ask em’ where they live.

What about “Malibu’s Most Wanted?” Do guys in MLO act like the wannabe gangters in that movie?
I’ve never seen anyone like that in Malibu in my life. I know a lot of stuck up and spoiled kids but no one acts like that. I lot of people don’t realize it but there are poor parts of Malibu. There’s kids whose parents are druggies or who work in shops in Malibu for very low money and who live up the canyons in shacks. Half the guys in (MLO) are from the poor parts of Malibu.

Do you think that putting the name MLO in graffiti throughout Malibu and flashing MLO hand signs is going to inspire jokes because Malibu is thought of as the opposite of a tough neighborhood?
The reason why most people put it out there is because surf spots are so crowded nowdays that they want to surf with less people and if that means only surfing with people from Malibu then that’s what they’re going to want. The jokes come from it because people think it’s a gang — but it’s not. Jamie Tierney