California Surfers Win Landmark Case Against Billionaire for Martins Beach Access

Ryan Mulcahy | | SurfSurf
Surfer Joao Demacedo walks past a San Mateo County Sheriff's deputy along a private road to Martin's Beach, a popular surfing and fishing spot, in Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Surfer Joao Demacedo walks past a San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputy along a private road to Martin’s Beach, a popular surfing and fishing spot, in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Today history was made when some local Northern California surfers along with the help from the nonprofit group SurfRider won a land mark case. In this the group was able to legally gain access toMartin’s Beach near Half Moon Bay CA.  This is a very popular and famous spot for surfing, fishing, and sightseeing. Surfers have been surfing this spot for years and it provides a great swell on a very typical Northern Californian point break.

Martins beach, CA.
Martins beach, CA.

Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems bought the land that accesses the beach a few years back and temporary allowed people to use his land to access the beach, but shortly after, decided that he no longer wanted people cutting across his property via a road in order to gain beach access, and thus a conflicted resulted. With this Khosla had hired people to help secure his land and the road to the beach but many times this did not stop people from gaining access to the beach and also resulted in arrests.

Open the gate!
Open the gate!

Surf Rider prevailed and won the case today in San Mateo court and with this making it a land mark case.  The organization along with the local surfers I feel really made an important point with this win. This is because the people who are truly passionate about and dedicated to the ocean will not give up or back down when you restrict or deny them access to their beloved ocean. Furthermore the fact that some surfers organized, did research, legitimately found a way to regain access to the beach over a billionaire puts a smile on my face.

Mark Massara, one of the attorneys representing the Surfrider Foundation, hops a gate to Martins Beach in Half Moon Bay, Calif. on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, which remained locked despite a judge's order to landowner Vinod Khosla to to open the private gate and allow public access to the beach. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle
Mark Massara, one of the attorneys representing the Surfrider Foundation, hops a gate to Martins Beach in Half Moon Bay, Calif. on Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014, which remained locked despite a judge’s order to landowner Vinod Khosla to to open the private gate and allow public access to the beach. Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle

This is a big win for the surf community and I feel should influence other groups and sports that have been restrict due to land use conflicts to stand up for what is right. A similar dispute is on going in the backcountry ski and snowboard community where backcountry lines are accessed via private land. Most famously the debate between millionaire land owner Thomas Chapman and backcountry skiers and rider that access the Bear Creek area that at one time was accessed via a backcountry gate from Telluride resort In South Western Colorado.

Surfer at Martins beach after a court order opened it to the public this week.
Mark Massara, Surfrider lawyer, at Martins beach after a court order opened it to the public this week.

Read full article here:

http://news.msn.com/us/surfers-beat-billionaire-in-landmark-california-beach-case?

Martins beach, CA.
Martins beach, CA.
Martins beach road.
Martins beach road.
Former U.S. Representative Pete McCloskey talks with and support local surfers in opening the beach back up to the public.
Former U.S. Representative Pete McCloskey talks with and support local surfers in opening the beach back up to the public.
Map of Martins beach in San Mateo county, CA.
Map of Martins beach in San Mateo county, CA.
Surfer entering the private road to Martins beach on September 27th, 2014.  The gate remained closed even after a court order said it was to be opened.
Surfer entering the private road to Martins beach on September 27th, 2014. The gate remained closed even after a court order said it was to be opened.

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