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South Bay

Turf War Between Surfers in Lunada Bay Is Settled

December 04, 1996

The waters may be rough on Lunada Bay, but surfing should be smooth at the Palos Verdes Peninsula beach this winter.

A longtime turf war between local surfers and outsiders was settled last week and the accord should be approved by a judge next week.

Last summer, Geoff Hagins of Torrance and other South Bay surfers filed a lawsuit alleging that the locals who ride the waves off the peninsula had engaged in assaults, vandalism, harassment and "terrorist-like" activities to drive away outsiders.

The case had been scheduled to go to Los Angeles Superior Court in February. Instead, Peter McCullom, one of a group of local surfers known as the Bay Boys, has agreed to pay $15,000 to settle the case, said Mike Sisson, Hagins' attorney. Hagins also has obtained a permanent restraining order against McCullom that restricts the Bay Boys from threatening outside surfers.

The city of Palos Verdes Estates also was named in the lawsuit because outsiders alleged that city officials had known for two decades about the activities but did little to stop it.

As part of the settlement, Sisson said, the city has agreed to issue a public proclamation that the beach is open to everyone. "We need a commitment that Lunada Bay is available to everyone whether you live up there or not," Sisson said.

Palos Verdes Estates officials and McCullom could not be reached for comment.

Lunada Bay is a prime winter surfing spot at the base of 250-foot-high cliffs on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. To get to the beach, surfers have to hike down a dirt trail.

In the past, outsiders claimed they had their car tires slashed, had rocks hurled at them and were intimidated into leaving.

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