Pacifica Surf Schools


May 1, 2023

The Coastal Commission unanimously voted to approve the passage of the City of Pacifica’s Coastal Development Permit (CDP), fully authorizing a reformed surf school permitting program at Linda Mar Beach. The permit makes it easier for non profits to take people to the beach - the current permit system favors commercial entities. Administrative shifts to the permitting system in Pacifica will also be accompanied by a 'community surf agreement' amongst the local surf group to foster equity. This campaign was led by Brown Girl Surf, City Surf Project and other organizations that focus on taking groups to the beach that have historically been marginalized, and with the hope that the decision will soon spread beyond Pacifica.

Why You Should Care

Many organizations beyond Pacifica have expressed frustration with impossible permitting, "locals only" attitudes, and continued and blatant exclusion. The Coastal Commission’s decision will set a precedent for the rest of California as we continue to work towards removing and dismantling barriers to beach access for all.


Pro-Coast Vote

Anti-Coast Vote

Commissioner Effie Turnball-Sanders questioned if there is an opportunity in the future to do an environmental justice forum or convening to collect the stories and bring greater attention to these statewide inequalities. Commissioner Paloma Aguirre supported Commissioner Turnbull Sander’s idea and spoke to her personal experience with the effects of localism in the line up. Commissioner Justin Cummings spoke to the exclusion of people of color in the water and supported the critical work nonprofits are doing to bring people of color to the beach. He remarked that this was a historical decision breaking down a barrier to equitable access.

Organizations Opposed

Decision Type

Coastal Development Permit

Staff Recommendation

Approval with conditions

Coastal Act Policy