We seem to have had a run on news from California lately, but todays post is not celebrating the recent run of great waves the local Surfers have been enjoying, instead it is a troubling tale of Surfers being denied access to their local beach by a successful entrepreneur. The battle lines have been drawn in the sand at Martins Beach, by Vinod Khosla, a billionaire who has amassed his great wealth through his part ownership of the computer company Sun Microsystems.
In 2008 Vinod purchased a vast estate above Martins Beach for a mere $30 million and that property has the only access road down to the beach running through it. The previous owners had always had a healthy relationship with the Surfers that used the beach and even constructed a small car park that they charged a nominal fee for the Surfers to use. Initially Mr Khosla allowed the Surfers access to the beach but after 2 years suddenly blocked the beach access, frustrating the local water users.
One group of Surfers, infuriated by the beach closure, ignored the warning notices and crossed Mr Khosla’s land and preceded to enjoy the waves, only to then be arrested when they left the water and charged with trespass. This has since lead to legal battles and two law suits being served on Vinod by the Surfers and The Surfrider Foundation and the arguments and legal wangling continue.
We would love to know your thoughts on this, Do you feel sorry for Mr Khosla, having hoards of Surfers traipsing across his land or do you think the Surfers have every right to be there and should continue to ignore the beach closed warning signs? One thing is for certain this is a battle set to rumble on and with Vinod Khosla’s vast wealth he is going to fight it all the way and we unfortunately feel that the person with the most money is always likely to win. To find out more about this story and to follow the Surfers fight, take a look at the NBC News website and see the official NBC news report below this article.