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Violence takes a turn at San Diego's surf spots

Newbies have a different attitude

Surfer Joe and John in Pacific Beach
Surfer Joe and John in Pacific Beach

In April, San Diego County beachgoers witnessed a slew of violence. A man was stabbed at Black's Beach, and a female was busted for an assault with a deadly weapon by a beach in Carlsbad. Two men were popped for assaulting different people at the Tourmaline Surfing Park parking lot and the Encinitas surf spots by the 101 freeway. Then, at the beginning of April, the Imperial Beach Sheriffs captured a woman for assaulting someone with a deadly weapon by the pier, which surfers frequent.

And because most of the beachfront assaults mentioned above were reported on Crimemapping.com — there's limited info on the names of the perps and if the incidents were surf-related.

The person who was stabbed in Black's Beach in La Jolla on April 10 was reported to have non-life-threatening wounds. Mainstream news did not mention why the person was stabbed. Still, folks who frequent the infamous yet secluded Black's Beach because of nude-friendliness, its doggie and sunset-gazing areas, and the gnarly surf jumped onto social media to speak on what possibly happened that Wednesday. 

Some said the perp was masturbating, which caused the conflict between him and the victim. Others hypothesized the stabbing was because of territorial surf beef — which made more sense. 

On April 29, I spoke to two surfers at Pacific Beach who have surfed throughout San Diego County since the 1980s. "I've  surfed at Black's many times," said Surfer Joe. "There are a lot of new surfers there, and they all have attitudes, and it's not a local-only thing. I doubt the stabbing was because of the people at Black's being territorial." Joe referred to newbies who don't follow etiquette or the surfers' pecking order, which gets dealt with in other surf spots in San Diego County.  

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Surfer John continued, "Now, people who surf at the South Mission jetty – it's a big-time localized spot – a crew regulates down there. And the same at Windansea Beach. It's just the nature of the guys who want to protect their spot."

These two surf spots have brought some heat lately, according to Crimemapping.com.

At the Mission Beach jetty parking lot, where many surfers park their cars, a man was busted for assaulting someone on February 19. On Felspar Street by Windansea, SDPD busted an unidentified female in March for an assault with a deadly weapon. 

At Dog Park in Ocean Beach, 100 people, some who surf or bodyboard, were involved in a big fight in February. 

According to the other bodyboarders and surfers I spoke with on Monday, territorial surf fights in San Diego County have decreased since the 1980s and 1990s because of cell phones and waterproof cameras that can capture incriminating video. Pair the technology with increased awareness, social media shaming, and changing attitudes — it makes for a perfect wave for outsiders visiting the formerly exclusive and locals-only beaches.

"Honestly, I liked it a lot better ten years ago when our surf was regulated and there were more surf confrontations," Surfer Joe concluded. "That was the school of hard knocks."

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Surfer Joe and John in Pacific Beach
Surfer Joe and John in Pacific Beach

In April, San Diego County beachgoers witnessed a slew of violence. A man was stabbed at Black's Beach, and a female was busted for an assault with a deadly weapon by a beach in Carlsbad. Two men were popped for assaulting different people at the Tourmaline Surfing Park parking lot and the Encinitas surf spots by the 101 freeway. Then, at the beginning of April, the Imperial Beach Sheriffs captured a woman for assaulting someone with a deadly weapon by the pier, which surfers frequent.

And because most of the beachfront assaults mentioned above were reported on Crimemapping.com — there's limited info on the names of the perps and if the incidents were surf-related.

The person who was stabbed in Black's Beach in La Jolla on April 10 was reported to have non-life-threatening wounds. Mainstream news did not mention why the person was stabbed. Still, folks who frequent the infamous yet secluded Black's Beach because of nude-friendliness, its doggie and sunset-gazing areas, and the gnarly surf jumped onto social media to speak on what possibly happened that Wednesday. 

Some said the perp was masturbating, which caused the conflict between him and the victim. Others hypothesized the stabbing was because of territorial surf beef — which made more sense. 

On April 29, I spoke to two surfers at Pacific Beach who have surfed throughout San Diego County since the 1980s. "I've  surfed at Black's many times," said Surfer Joe. "There are a lot of new surfers there, and they all have attitudes, and it's not a local-only thing. I doubt the stabbing was because of the people at Black's being territorial." Joe referred to newbies who don't follow etiquette or the surfers' pecking order, which gets dealt with in other surf spots in San Diego County.  

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Surfer John continued, "Now, people who surf at the South Mission jetty – it's a big-time localized spot – a crew regulates down there. And the same at Windansea Beach. It's just the nature of the guys who want to protect their spot."

These two surf spots have brought some heat lately, according to Crimemapping.com.

At the Mission Beach jetty parking lot, where many surfers park their cars, a man was busted for assaulting someone on February 19. On Felspar Street by Windansea, SDPD busted an unidentified female in March for an assault with a deadly weapon. 

At Dog Park in Ocean Beach, 100 people, some who surf or bodyboard, were involved in a big fight in February. 

According to the other bodyboarders and surfers I spoke with on Monday, territorial surf fights in San Diego County have decreased since the 1980s and 1990s because of cell phones and waterproof cameras that can capture incriminating video. Pair the technology with increased awareness, social media shaming, and changing attitudes — it makes for a perfect wave for outsiders visiting the formerly exclusive and locals-only beaches.

"Honestly, I liked it a lot better ten years ago when our surf was regulated and there were more surf confrontations," Surfer Joe concluded. "That was the school of hard knocks."

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