A 20-year-old Florida man paddled out into the ocean in an effort to avoid authorities after a localism spat last month and was subsequently arrested on charges of battery, reports the TC Palm
The incident occurred on October 14 at Wabasso Beach Park. According to testimony from the victim, the man, later identified as Justice Cureton, yelled at him and told him to leave the beach. Cureton mumbled something then threw a beer can, hitting the victim in the face. Cureton then proceeded to grab his surfboard and paddle out into the water.
When authorities arrived on the scene, they attempted to coax Cureton out of the water. Ultimately a mom on the beach successfully called him in.
Cureton spoke with authorities upon his arrest and admitted he had, “gotten in his face,” but denied throwing the beer.
Cureton reportedly smelled of alcohol and had beer cans in his car that were the same brand the victim claims were thrown at him.
The victim was reportedly new to the area.
In the wake of the high-profile “dunking” that occurred at Salt Creek earlier this year, ongoing litigation with respect to the Lunada Bay Boys, and the like, the line between endemic localism and assault, battery, and other arrestable offenses is becoming increasingly blurred. Not to mention, whereas even a decade ago many acts of verbal and physical abuse in surfing chalked up to “localism” would go unchecked, lately either victims are more inclined to get the police involved, or police are more open to getting involved. Maybe both.
That new reality has many surfers looking back to the days when they learned the hard way to show respect with affinity, while others contend that localism is toxic. Either way, these run-ins with cops over spats at beaches across the country seem to be increasing.