Dear Pacifica Action Team and Ocean-loving Community,
First, on behalf of the BGS team, we hope that you and your loved ones are well and continue to stay safe amidst the pandemic. Quite some time has passed since you last heard from us! Earlier this year we made a giant leap forward on the path to coastal access, equitable beach permitting, and surf equity. The Community Access Partnership Permit (CAPP), was unanimously approved by the Pacifica City Council and the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission. Our combined activism, including your letters of support and public comments, have made it possible for Brown Girl Surf and City Surf Project to hold programs at Linda Mar Beach (Pacifica State Beach).
Since then (Fall 2020), Brown Girl Surf has had over 20 surf programs at Pacifica State Beach, supporting a new generation of surfers who had previously been systematically excluded from accessing the beach on their wave-riding journeys.
However! We’ve known for some time that the City of Pacifica DOES NOT have the authority to regulate activities of surf camps/schools, and has been operating under an out-dated system that does not currently meet the California Coastal Act’s requirements on public access.
Earlier this year, the Coastal Commission shared a letter to the City of Pacifica that stated:
“The City does not have authority to operate the surf school program, or any other similar program, on Pacifica State Beach unless and until it is authorized by the Coastal Commission through a CDP, or other appropriate process allowed under the Coastal Act. Thus, if the City is continuing to implement such a program, please note that that would be a knowing and intentional violation of the Coastal Act to which enforcement consequences would apply, and the City needs to immediately cease such activities if they are ongoing. Importantly, absent an approved CDP, access to the beach and ocean is available to all without any restrictions, and we would encourage the City to inform all who ask, including surf school operators, that Pacifica State Beach is open to all members of the public.”
SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?… PACIFICA STATE BEACH IS OPEN TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC! And although we have successfully pushed for the expansion of their outdated permitting system to include both Brown Girl Surf, City Surf Project, and other future nonprofits, we recognize that with our continued partnership, much larger, more equitable reform is possible and necessary. We’re currently working closely with the City of Pacifica Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Department, the California Coastal Commission and other California non-profit partners to create a system that is truly equitable for all, and will have some updates coming your way soon.
What an exciting opportunity we have – to create a better permitting system that will allow for all people to feel like they belong, feel safe, and are welcome on the beach. If you have any thoughts and ideas on the issue, we’d love to hear from you.
Stay tuned as we continue the movement for surf equity! You can subscribe to our Advocacy mailing list to be notified of any updates or calls to action.
With Gratitude and Stoke,
Your team at BGS