A proposed class-action lawsuit filed this week claims local surfers have used violence and intimidation to protect their Southern California surf spot from intrusion by outsiders.
The suit asks a federal judge to prevent the group of surfers known as the Lunada Bay Boys from congregating at beaches in wealthy Palos Verdes Estates south of Los Angeles.
Among the three plaintiffs named in the case are a 45-year-old El Segundo police officer and experienced surfer, Diana Milena Reed, 29, of Malibu, who's an aspiring big wave surfer and the Coastal Protection Rangers who work to protect beach access.
Reed claims on two occasions this year she was scared off by local surfers who threatened her and poured beer on her.
"I've never had a 40-to-50-year-old man screaming profanities at me and yelling at me," she said. "It's a way I 've never been treated before in my life."
Reed's attorney Vic Otten, said he hopes to get a gang injunction against the Lunada Bay Boys.
"We're going to ask a federal judge to step in and stop them from surfing their own beach," Otten said. "And when we're done we're going to restore access to the public."
Amanda Calhoun, a Palos Verdes Estates resident, believes the lawsuit is much ado about nothing.
"Everybody I know has been nice," she said. "When you get men in certain situations they act like guys. And I think maybe there is some of that, not to the extent they need a federal lawsuit. It's silly."
Authorities have been accused of looking the other way as the gang threatened outsiders, tossed rocks at them and vandalized their cars. The plaintiffs also allege the Bay Boys illegally claim as turf the break there and have erected an illegal "Rock Fort" made of masonry, rock and wood that overlooks the waves from the beach.
The suit filed Tuesday also targets the city of Palos Verdes Estates, asking the judge to require the municipality to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by the Bay Boys.
The suit names seven Bay Boys and Police Chief Jeff Kepley and City Manager Tony Dahlerbruch, who did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Kepley said in an earlier article that this year that the department has stepped up patrols to try and prevent problems at lunada bay.
The Bay Boys named in the lawsuit did not return calls seeking comment.
Surfline, the popular surf forecasting website, says Lunada Bay is LA's little-known, premier big-wave spot on a scale with Sunset Beach on Hawaii's famous north shore of Oahu. It takes north and west winter swells up to 20 feet and pitches a "beautiful walled right that takes you through a boiling boulder-riddled lineup," Surfline says.
The site says it is also home to some of the most notorious localism.
"There have been threats, slashed tires, rocks thrown, fist fights and even drive-by noogies," the site says.
Clashes with outsiders during the 1990s were brought to national attention when a TV news crew and others were harassed and assaulted.
"The place really doesn't wake up till 6 feet and over, and at that size, the alpha males are out in force," according to Surfline. "To their credit, the local crew has kept alive the old surfing tradition of cute nicknames, such as 'Knothead,' 'T-Bone' and 'Goober.'"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.