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Surf and turf wars: Co-founder of Surf Punks remembers localism battles of the 60s and 70s




March 31, 1983: Surfer in Pacific Palisades near Pacific Coast Highway and Temescal.
March 31, 1983: Surfer in Pacific Palisades near Pacific Coast Highway and Temescal.
Chris Gulker/LAPL/Herald-Examiner Collection

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Maybe you've been following the saga of the gang that controls surfing on  Lunada Bay on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. After years of inaction, it looks like the gang will finally have its illegal beach fort demolished.

In 1976, a group called The Surf Punks captured the essence of surf localism with their songs "My Beach," "My Wave," and "Punchout at Malibu:"

Now that surfing's caught on
There's less waves to go around
I'm a fool to stay in town
A fool to stay in town

Now it's the goons in the water
That are bringing on a slaughter
Gonna be a punch out at Malibu
A punch out at Malibu

The co-founder of The Surf Punks is now in his 60s and lives in Oregon, in part because surfing here is "done." 

Surf Punks co-founder Dennis Dragon, on the beach in Oregon, his new home.
Surf Punks co-founder Dennis Dragon, on the beach in Oregon, his new home.
Dennis Dragon

He's Dennis Dragon, and he grew up immersed in the ocean off Malibu, and immersed in music: his dad was Hollywood Bowl Orchestra maestro Carmen Dragon, his mom was an opera singer, his brother and sister-in-law were The Captain and Tennille, and Dragon produced "Love Will Keep Us Together" and many more hits.

In fact, the hit records gave him the dough to set up the recording studio where he and Drew Steele made music.

Surf Punk's "My Beach" original video

I talked with Dragon about the scene in 1976; about Valleys, dummies, and shoulder hoppers; bird poop in your eye; and whether they made a difference. Listen to the audio for our in-depth conversation and lots of music.