There’s a pack of balding, gray-haired Starbucks-drinking, Prius-driving, wanna-be thugs protecting their village surf spots in Los Angeles County. The gang colors are Tommy Bahama Aloha blue, with coordinating Reef leather sandals and mom jeans or cargo shorts, if the weather is warm. The gang activity isn’t happening in the boroughs of Compton or Long Beach. Their turf is Rancho Palos Verdes.
People laugh at the idea, but these older, aloha shirt wearing fathers and husbands are no joke. They’re beating outsiders down, vandalizing vehicles and throwing rocks at those who dare venture into the Lunada Bay and surrounding beaches of Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
The area of Rancho Palos Verdes is less than an hour south of Los Angeles and is located on a westernmost peninsula that juts into the Pacific. The median annual home income is $163,000. Median home prices are $1,150,000 and Hispanic, African American and mixed-race minorities consist of less than 6% of the population.
The unlikely thug crew has been involved in this foolery for decades, it’s just gotten more serious in the recent years—and can be caught on video with a smartphone. Reports and folklore of their fathers doing the same back in the day when Gidget, Beach Blanket Bingo and other films fueled interest in surfing are aplenty. These spoiled rich kids didn’t want the children of the lower income parents coming to their local beaches and bringing a crowd to the surf zone. So much for social integration!
The vigilantes have been sued and lost multiple lawsuits filed against them, paying tens of thousands of dollars to the victims, yet they still continue on with their inherited tradition of damage.
Police in the area have known about this pack of rock throwers and fists of fury for decades and seem to turn a blind eye. Interestingly, the police boat used for patrolling the surf is inoperable with “mechanical issues” and unable to stop any water-born turf war. The Los Angeles police have decided to “let the city and local authorities” handle the problem, for now.
So visitors beware: when beach-combing or surfing the beaches of Lunada Bay, bring your .45 sidearm, or Gandalf the Grey wizard staff for self-defense. Listen for threatening sounds like the song “Vahevala” by Loggins and Messina—it’s the war cry for this pack of toddlers—and be ready. Perhaps when the “Bay Boys” start getting laid out, police inquiries will start flowing through and the bald, greying delinquents will settle into sharing the ocean and beaches they believe are only for them.