September 29, 2014

Five surfers were arrested in 2012 for trespassing on billionaire Vinod Khosla's property.     Photo: Marcin Wichary/Flickr

Surfers Win Battle for California Beach Access

Judge says private landowner must let them access waves

A judge has ruled that a private landowner near California’s Half Moon Bay must allow the public to cross his property to access a beach and surfing waves.

Martin’s Beach, about five miles south of Half Moon Bay, has been at the center of a legal battle between surfers and billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who purchased the property in 2008. In 2010, Khosla closed a public access gate to the beach, citing the expense of maintenance and liability insurance. In 2012, five surfers were arrested for trespassing when they crossed Khosla’s property to get to the waves.

The nonprofit organization Surfrider Foundation filed suit against Khosla in March 2013, claiming his actions violated state laws guaranteeing public access to the coast. Khosla argued that while the beach may be public, the road—which provides the only land access to the beach—is private land.

According to Surfrider, surfers have been crossing the property to ride waves off Martin’s Beach for decades.

“The beach has been the fabric of the community for generations, and previous landowners allowed beachgoers to access the coast,” said Angela Howe, Surfrider’s legal director. “All of a sudden, the access was gone.”

On Wednesday, San Mateo County Superior Court judge Barbara Mallach ruled that Khosla had failed to get the necessary development permit required to deny public access to the beach.

Howe said the gates of Khosla’s property have not been opened yet, but people are now free to walk across the property to get to the beach without being accused of trespassing.

“This very strong ruling is setting the tone for future cases to let property owners know that they can’t lock the public out,” said Howe.

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NHL's Brian Jennings said GoPro footage could help demystify the workings of the game of hockey.     Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

NHL Strikes Deal with GoPro

Players to wear cameras beginning this season

The National Hockey League and GoPro have announced a content-sharing deal to give TV viewers a point-of-view look at the action on the ice. NHL players will wear cameras on their helmets, masks, and jerseys beginning this season, which starts on October 8. 

GoPro, looking to branch out from its action-sports beginnings, will feature taped game clips on its YouTube channel, while the NHL will make more immediate use of the footage. The league will incorporate the video into live telecasts to walk viewers through the workings of a breakaway goal or give them a first-person look at what really happens when a goalie takes a 100 mph slap shot to the noggin. The NHL’s two national broadcasting partners, NBC Sports in the United States and Rogers in Canada, can edit the GoPro film into broadcasts; the league will also show it on the NHL Network and NHL.com.

“The [technology] demystifies our game and truly shows what skills our players have,” Brian Jennings, the NHL’s chief marketing officer, told Adweek

Players seemed to welcome the idea. “It can definitely help the game become even more interesting for the viewer, no question,” New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist told Adweek.

The NHL will also use GoPro footage in promos for the upcoming season.

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The body found in the Tennessee River was not an Ironman competitor.     Photo: epantha/Thinkstock

Chattanooga Ironman Scarred by Sabotage, Body in Water

Racers endure for strong finishes

Competitors in Chattanooga, Tennessee’s inaugural Ironman triathlon faced two unexpected and troubling challenges during their race on Sunday.

At around 8:30 a.m., just as the swimming leg of the competition was underway, a body was reported in the Tennessee River under the Olgiati Bridge. (Chattanooga Police told WRCB-TV that the person, who has not been identified, was not a competitor in the race.) Then, around noon, race officials reported that tacks and oil had been placed on a section of the cycling route, requiring approximately 30 cyclists to dismount and fix their flat tires while crews cleaned it up. An Ironman official later told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that this method of sabotage is common, especially in rural areas. 

At the finish line, 28-year-old Matt Hanson, of Iowa, took first place with a time of 8:12:32, his first overall Ironman victory. Hanson trailed Barrett Brandon and Eric Limkemann during the swim and bike before pulling ahead during the run. He averaged a 5:45 mile pace for the first eight miles. 

Similarly, Canadian Angela Naeth was behind the pack during the swim and first part of the bike leg before taking a big lead by the start of the run. She won the women’s field with a time of 8:54:55. It was her first overall victory in a full Ironman event.

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The fees will raise funds for improvements leading up to next year's 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.     Photo: Spondylolithesis/Thinkstock

National Parks to Hike Entrance Fees

Size of increase varies across parks

The National Park Service has proposed raising entrance fees in 131 of the 401 public properties under its management, according to a report in the Denver Post. In a memo sent last month, Park Service director John Jarvis credited a desire to complete improvements before the 100th anniversary of the Park Service in 2016.

The size of the proposed increases varies across the parks, and the majority of properties will retain the same entrance fees. But Glacier National Park, for instance, would raise the cost of a vehicle pass by 50 percent, from $20 to $30, and Great Sand Dunes National Park will more than triple its individual entrance fee, jumping to $10 from $3.

The superintendents of each park will be responsible for determining when the new rates go into effect. This is the first system-wide fee increase since 2008.

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