UPDATE: A resolution has been made! Check out our “Resolution Summary” below to learn about the most recent success – the APPROVAL of the CAPP proposal.
While we can take a moment to rest, the journey is not over. Brown Girl Surf is continuing to work with the City of Pacifica, the California Coastal Commission, and our allies as the CAPP and all systems supporting it are implemented in Pacifica over the next year. We will continue to expand this path to equity for future groups and organizations wishing to share the ocean with their community.
What has been the resolution?
The Community Access Partnership Permit (CAPP) has been unanimously approved and passed by the Pacifica City Council, the Pacifica Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Commission, and the Surf Camp/School Policy Advisory Task Force. Furthermore, Brown Girl Surf and City Surf Project have both been approved for a continuation of our pilot CAPP permits through 2022.
Brown Girl Surf and City Surf Project see the approval of the CAPP program as one success along a path of many as we work towards equitable beach access for all. We will continue to work with the City of Pacifica to create an equitable Request for Proposal (RFP) process for future CAPP and commercial surf camp/school applicants and advise the City of Pacifica during the implementation of all systems, boards, and policies that will support and uphold the CAPP. In the meantime, BGS and City Surf Project will continue to operate on Linda Mar Beach under the second phase of our CAPP pilot program.
Additionally, the City of Pacifica has been in communication with the California Coastal Commission (CCC) and filed an application for a Coastal Development Plan. The City of Pacifica is currently awaiting approval of their application.
How did we get here?
- August 17th, 2021 : Surf Camp Task Force members voted on attributes of the CAPP proposal and other components of a surf camp/school policy – The CAPP proposal is unanimously approved by the Task Force
- October 12th, 2021 : A “Program Recommendations” document is created to share the Task Force’s recommendations to the Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Commission regarding the CAPP proposal
- October 27th, 2021 : Program Recommendations were presented to the PBRC by Mike Perez of the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Department, Johnny Irwin of City Surf Project and Cliff Hodges of Adventure Out – The CAPP and Program Recommendations are unanimously approved by the PBRC
- January 10th, 2022: The City of Pacifica held a public city council meeting in which council members had the opportunity to learn about the CAPP proposal and the Surf Task Force’s recommendations, and vote on its approval. At this meeting, community members and allies spoke during the public comment period or sent in letters of support, sharing their personal experiences at Linda Mar Beach.
“Equitable access to nature is absolutely critical always, but especially now as COVID further compounds the historic exclusion of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) from parks, open space, and coastal resources. All Californians rely on safe access to nature, now more than ever.
Nonprofit organizations and school-based programs with proven track records of bringing BIPOC folks to the ocean through culturally relevant, thoughtfully designed programs, are the best resource to ensure equitable community connection to nature” – Shelana DeSilva, BGS community member
These personal share outs emphasized the importance of a safe and inclusive surf culture, and a city’s role in upholding policies and practices that encourage and uplift that culture.
Ultimately, the City of Pacifica council members unanimously voted to create the CAPP program and integrate more equitable policies for surf camps/schools on Linda Mar Beach moving forward.
The work to achieve these successful policy shifts has not been quick, nor simple, but the support we’ve encountered and built along the way has been monumental. We’d like to thank Black Girls Surf for their call to action and to CSP who organized the 2020 Paddle out for Peace where Brown Girl Surf was able to share the inequitable policies of the very beach the paddle out was held at. Being able to publicly share the impacts of inequitable and exclusionary policy informed many and encouraged community members and allies to act, thus leading the City of Pacifica to create the Task Force.
We’d also like to acknowledge
- City Surf Project once again, for always standing by our side, speaking up, and showing up
- Outdoor Outreach for being thought partners in the work and creating the conceptual framework for the CAPP
- California Surfrider and the San Mateo Chapter of Surfrider for their continual support and allyship
- The City of Pacifica, the Pacifica Parks Beaches and Recreation Commission, and the Task Force on Surf Camp Policy for their dedication to equity
- Our community partners at Parks Now Coalition who supported the development and creation of the CAPP
- The California Coastal Commission and the California State Coastal Conservancy for the work they’ve done in creating and upholding equitable coastal policy
- Our many community members and allies who showed up over the course of a year and a half to offer testimonials and public comment in support of the CAPP program. We appreciate you!
As we continue to work towards creating equitable beach access, we want to emphasize the importance of supporting other groups who are also leading surf programs, and/or lessons to increase equity and inclusion in the line up.
Organizations lead by BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and non-dominant culture groups that are working on the California coast to further beach access and provide surf programs/lessons include:
- Native Like Water : Bay Area/Global
- Queer Surf : Bay Area/SoCal
- Black Surf Club Santa Cruz: Santa Cruz
- Black Girls Surf: Santa Cruz/Global
- The Wahine Project : Monterey
- The Sea League : Santa Barbara
- Color the Water : Los Angeles
- Sofly Surf School : Los Angeles
If you are also doing work or have recommendations/suggestions of groups who are actively running programs/lessons please feel free to reach out to us.
“[the CAPP proposal] was a remarkable example of the power of people working across different perspectives to solve an important problem. I am deeply grateful to all who participated… I believe that the CAPP system and the adjustments to the existing Surf Permit system being recommended today are the best path forward for creating an equitable permitting system that is fair and keeps everyone safe. Brown Girl Surf and City Surf Project did this not just for our own access, but to make sure there was a system in place for other groups who are engaging folks who have been underrepresented in surfing… the policy recommended today is a HUGE step in the right direction and puts in place some really important systems to make this possible.” – Mira Manickam Shirley, Co-founder and former Executive Director of BGS, and a driving force behind this work
“Pacifica has taken the opportunity to lead the way on the California Coast for demonstrating a permit system that truly promotes equity in surfing.”