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Watch: Surf Nazis vs. Kid Anglers?

A recent fishing derby for children off a local pier turns negative when surfers in the water reportedly shout profanities, cut fishing lines and even yank a 7-year-old Long Beach girl's rod and reel.

It was the perfect setting for the annual Huck Finn Fishing Derby on the Huntington Pier Saturday, a gorgeously hot day that drew hundreds of thousands to Southern California beaches. Nearly 300 participants, volunteers and others showed up to lead the City of Huntington Beach derby, and the Huck Finn-Becky Thatcher costume contest.

It didn't take long, however, for some bad feelings to develop. Many surfers saw the anglers on the pier as infringing on their sacred territory--waves--and they were not about to let it happen.

Seven-year-old Gracie Veith from Long Beach thought  a big fish had pulled her rod over the side. It turned out to be a disgruntled surfer.

“My little girl lost her rod and reel,” said her indignant father, Don Veith. “I don't know why they (surfers) can't just give us a break for the kids derby.”

Witnesses including other fathers, a wheelchair-bound aunt who had escorted her nephew from Minnesota and several others, say surfers in the water cut several lines but also, on this YouTube, shouted profane insults at people fishing.

California Department of Fish and Game personnel observed two surfers storm onto the pier pitching a fight with one Dad, although there was no official to make a statement that day.

Watch as another father, Veith, reports indignantly that his daughter's entire rod and reel were yanked off the pier and into the waves.

It appeared no arrests or citations were issued, but the law prohibits interfering with someone engaged in lawful fishing.

Patch fishing and waterfront blogger Phil Friedman was on scene, witnesed the shouting and profanity from surfers in the waves--though not the reel yanking-- and provides this video report. He will be talking about this topic on Phil Friedman Outdoors Radio tonight, with some of those on scene calling in. If you miss the live broadcast, you can always listen to the archived radio shows for free anytime.

If you were present that day and have video footage, post it here and let us know: nancy.wride@patch.com

tinytom August 16, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Surf Nazis because there is a limited supply of good surf spots that can't really be increased. So it becomes a tough guy competition for dominating the prime spots, even when the waves aren't robust. And some can take a liking to the green agenda, Ayn Rand and Nietzsche. Either that or there are too many chemicals in the water.
S.A.P. August 16, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Why didn't the lifeguards black ball the areas right next to the pier during the fishing derby?
Nancy Wride (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Good question.
John B. Greet August 16, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Civility in our nation continues to erode at an alarming pace. This is but one more example of how more and more folks behave as if other folks don't matter.
tinytom August 16, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Maybe they had sharks on their minds, with all the reports of late, and were preoccupied looking for them in order to keep those in the water safe.
John B. Greet August 16, 2012 at 10:26 PM
"Witnesses including other fathers, a wheelchair-bound aunt who had escorted her nephew from Minnesota and several others, say surfers in the water cut several lines but also, on this YouTube, shouted profane insults at people fishing." Sounds a lot more like a sense of entitlement and unnecessary rudeness -let alone unlawful destruction of personal property- than a pre-occupation over sharks, but I am more than willing to be convinced otherwise.
tinytom August 16, 2012 at 10:39 PM
A report I received indicated a couple of lifegaurds were over stimulated looking for sharks, (like the police chief in Jaws). Well, a couple sun bathers got caught up in the anxiety, and were yelling shark after seeing something in the water. A surfer near the pier overheard the yelling and figured the kids on the pier were attracting the shark(s) with their bait, and this caused him to start yelling at these kids to get them to real it in, because he knew one of the things to avoid was being in the water with bait fish. But no sharks were actually seen, so it was a lot to do about nothing.
John B. Greet August 16, 2012 at 10:53 PM
"Many surfers saw the anglers on the pier as infringing on their sacred territory--waves--and they were not about to let it happen." That was author Friedman's take in any case, who was there at the pier at the time. If a concern over sharks was truly part of the surfers' motivation, Friedman didn't notice it or, if he did, he didn't see fit to mention it in this story. If the surfer's were truly concerned about sharks, why were they still out in the water? Does that seem like a reasonable response to that sort of threat? I can tell you this, though, had I been out there with my kid and someone in the water had damaged or stolen our property, there would not have been just a citation issued, I would have insisted that the person was physically arrested and booked for vandalism or theft.
tinytom August 16, 2012 at 11:00 PM
I don't know why they stayed in the water. The waves in the picture didn't look that good. If you had been there, how would you have issued them a citation when there might have been sharks in the water?
John B. Greet August 16, 2012 at 11:11 PM
tiny: I wouldn't have cited anyone. I no longer have the authority to issue misdemeanor citations and never have had that authority in Huntington Beach, in any case. I would have pressed charges and insisted that HBPD take the offender into physical custody and booked him for either vandalism or theft, whichever charge was most appropriate, rather than simply citing and releasing him in the field. It has been my experience that most people who are inclined to commit crimes generally become less so if they are required to always answer, in court, for the crimes that they commit.
tinytom August 16, 2012 at 11:26 PM
Maybe we can set up a fund to buy the little girl a new rod and reel?
John B. Greet August 16, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Good idea. Maybe Philip has an idea of how to facilitate that. In the meantime here's what the good folks at SurfScience.com suggest surfers do in the event of a shark sighting: "Get out if there is a shark sighting Regardless of how epic the waves are, get out of the ocean to surf another day." http://www.surfscience.com/topics/surfing-lifestyle/life-as-a-surfer/avoiding-shark-attacks/ Maybe some of these surfers missed that memo.
Emily Knell August 17, 2012 at 02:43 PM
My comment is not siding with one or the other but creating a solution where both sides win: Next year, why not hold the fishing derby at the END of the pier or further down the pier where the surfers are not surfing? There are plenty of fish in the sea, why fish directly over the surfers in the first place? Or move the derby to the Seal Beach pier where the surfers, are a little less hostile & then go get some meatloaf at O'Malley's it's the best!
Onyx Joanne Henneke August 17, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Sad, but true. People are forgetting how to be considerate, I wonder if parents are still trying to teach this to their kids.
S.A.P. August 17, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I have to wonder what led up to the surfers' behavior. Were they being hit with fish hooks? Obviously, they acted like jerks, but were they provoked? I really can't believe it had anything to do with sharks. I know many people who surf at the pier & some of them have children. I can't imagine they would act that way for no reason. Pulling a rod out of a child's hands is pretty extreme.
carter kendrick August 17, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Simple answer...they hold the fishing derby once a year. Ban all surfing within a fifty feet distance within the pier that day. Cite anyone that violates the issue and that will solve the problem.
carter kendrick August 17, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Trust me, if this had happened at Belmont Pier, or my daughter's fishing pole, somebody would have gone to jail. Believe that!!!
carter kendrick August 18, 2012 at 12:00 AM
I'm not a trouble maker, but let them cut my line and there will be TROUBLE!

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