Surf’s angst man proves the days of violent surfing regulation are over

Andy Lyon decided that a boulder needed to be implanted in this surfboard and the consequences of his actions are proof that this is no longer correct. Photos: Screenshot/YouTube

The first week of August, a Malibu resident named Andy Lyon took off on a wave at First Point. But when he took off on that wave, he burned someone, as is very likely to happen there. A small collision happened – which is also very likely to happen there – but what Lyon did next cost him his job. Violence in surf queues was a bit more acceptable when surfing was still a fringe activity. But now that it’s a sport in its own right with its own league and a giant industry surrounding it, the days of window waxing, leash trimming and water boxing are fading in the rearview mirror.

Lyon has blasted off on many waves in his nearly 50 years of surfing what has now become one of the busiest waves in the world, and he is one of the few people who can be called a ‘local’. .

After the collision, the 59-year-old chased the other man’s board down the beach, picked up a large rock and dug a giant hole in the bottom of it. It wasn’t quite enough for Lyon to make their point. He then took the surfboard, paddled it to the pier, and let it go. The other surfer, who has not yet been identified, is described as “in his twenties”.

In the comments section of a now-deleted Instagram account, Lyon claimed the other man involved in the incident was “a disrespectful punk on a piece of shitty retro painting” who was “trying to up the ante on me” .

As is the case with most things these days, the entire incident was caught on camera. It hit the internet – YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, etc. – and went a bit viral. An Instagram account called @andylyonisakook dedicated to seeing Lyon held accountable for their actions has emerged. Lyon has been dubbed “the angriest man in surfing”. “And then Lyon, who worked for The Malibu Agency, was fired from his job.

“The agency was founded to create a unique group of professionals focused on community and camaraderie within the real estate industry,” his employer wrote on Instagram. “We strive to be pillars of the greater Malibu community and foster an environment that fosters integrity and respect. After learning of the incident involving Andy Lyon, we have decided to part ways with this individual. The Agency strongly denounces the behavior of the individual and our thoughts are with those involved in this incident.

Lyon has been in the Malibu roster for a long time and his salty demeanor is pretty well established. So established, in fact, that Hunter Jones, Lex Weinstein and Kassia Meador gave it an award for being the “Saltiest Local” in the World Surf League‘s (De)Tour series. The celebration of being the saltiest local is a bit of a throwback to a time when being a salty local was considered something to be proud of, but times are changing.

Lyon is from a generation where the kind of action he led was not so frowned upon. It was seen as a way to regulate the queue, reduce crowds and make the place safer, and locals were the ones who usually meted out the penalties for infractions.

Think of Pipeline, back then. “Catching cracks” from the Pipeline Posse or the Wolf Pak kept the hierarchy intact. Lunada’s Bay Boys used violence and intimidation to keep what they considered “their” wave as empty as possible. Over time, however, the Pipeline lineup became somewhat less defined in the absence of a regulatory force, and the Bay Boys pretty much disappeared.

And while Malibu was never quite a place like Pipe or Lunada Bay, there was indeed a semblance of pecking order. But in a place with around four million people living just down the street, the number of so-called “locals” is so high that all the rules have disappeared. Everyone, except a few like Lyon, seems to have basically given up on following the unwritten rules of surfing. It’s a bit ironic, however, that Lyon was the one who ignored the unwritten rules in the first place, but he took it upon himself to enforce them because he felt he deserved more waves simply because he’s been surfing there for longer.

Malibu is now free for all. Each wave has multiple people on it. Regulating is no longer possible, unless all those who surf there agree that the rules are once again respected. And the backlash from Lyon’s action is proof that attempting to regulate by violence is no longer acceptable.

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