A California State Parks lifeguard angered surf legend Kelly Slater and others in the surfing and veterans communities by telling surfers at Cardiff State Beach Tuesday they would need a permit to take a group of Wounded Warriors into the water — on Veterans Day no less.
Joel Tudor, a former longboard world champion from San Diego, posted a photo on Instagram of an event organizer discussing the matter with the state parks official. Tudor explained in his post that the official said permits are needed for gatherings at state beaches like the Wounded Warriors’ that are organized via Facebook.
In the photo, a prosthetic leg stands noticeably between the two men.
Encinitas City Councilman Tony Kranz posted this on my Facebook page after I shared the story: “As a member of the Encinitas City Council, I’m embarrassed that this happened in our city. I will do everything I can to see that it doesn’t happen again.”
The image quickly went viral on Instagram as more than three dozen people shared it — and Tudor’s disbelief. An astounded Slater was one.
Former state Assemblyman and Marine Nathan Fletcher was another. He wrote, “Having previously sat on the legislative committee that overseas State Parks, I would hope there is a legislator out there willing to ask about the treatment of our wounded warriors who find peace through surfing at our state parks. They gave their body and soul for our country. Can’t the state at least let them surf?”
Fletcher CC’d State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who wrote back: “Hmmm. You could’ve just called. But, yes, will look into it.”
An angry Tudor [warning: curse words ahead] wrote this with his photo: “In all my years of being a surfer and being hassled by the state parks, I’ve never seen such a asshole as this officer here! Today on Veterans Day of all days— this piece of shit had the audacity to tell the wounded warriors ( a none [sic] profit for wounded veterans who want to surf as a form of medication to their souls!) that they would need a permit to be at Cardiff due to a public post on Facebook— the post was made so that people could volunteer time and take a vet for a slide! Mind you that every vet there today had already payed [sic] the 15$ parking fee— at one point as the wanna be cop was hassling the organizer…. A woman with no leg crawled through the dirt behind this guy to the waves…. Talk about zero sympathy or respect for his country and it’s [sic] vets! Please repost this pic in hopes of this getting to this jerks [sic] boss! What a douche!”
Eventually the surfers did get in the water, apparently because they were volunteers and not paid fitness instructors, but critical comments piled up on Tudor’s post. As did likes. He got nearly 4,000 in 15 hours.