Paddleboarder Was Chased and Arrested by the Coast Guard

Paddleboarder being chased off the coast of Malibu
Artwork by Anthony Faust

During the first month of COVID-19, some of the states adopted all sorts of stay-at-home orders. California was one of the first states to come cracking down on what citizens were allowed to do. On March 19, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state to slow the spread of COVID-19. At the time, people feared that the virus might enter the ocean water and be spread along the coast through the air.


On March 27, Los Angeles County closed all its beaches to reduce crowds as officials tried to slow the spread of the coronavirus. County Supervisor Janice Hahn said, “The crowds we saw at our beaches last weekend were unacceptable. To save lives, beaches in L.A. County will be temporarily closed. We cannot risk another sunny weekend with crowds at the beach spreading this virus.”


On April 2, a man was arrested paddleboarding alone in the ocean off the coast of Malibu. He was doing stand-up paddleboard (SUP) surfing, and there was nobody else in the water, so he had the waves all to himself for over an hour. The county lifeguards (think Baywatch) were patrolling the area in a boat near the Malibu pier.

After refusing their orders to leave the water for 30 minutes, the lifeguards eventually flagged down Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies who responded by boat to help. This interaction was captured on video and it lives online. The situation is so surreal, it’s hard to believe. The Sheriff’s boat comes in hot, as if they are running down a drug smuggling cigar boat off the coast of Miami. In reality, they are aggressively chasing down and apprehending a single man on paddleboard, who isn’t harming or bothering another single person on the entire planet.


The man made his way to the beach and was arrested and handcuffed on suspicion of disobeying a lifeguard and violating the Governor’s stay-at-home order. It could be argued that going paddleboarding alone in the middle of the ocean could be considered the ultimate social distancing act, but the man faces a $1,000 fine, 6 months in jail, or both, if convicted of violating the state order.

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Picture of author Anthony Faust

About the Author

My life as a husband and father transformed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sent home from work in March 2020, I've yet to return to the office. Adapting to the new pandemic world proved challenging for us all.

However, we managed to find silver linings. Drive-by birthdays brought joy to my kids' friends. I'll never forget stumbling upon a heartfelt hand-painted rock during my jog, reminding us that we're all in this together. Regular Zoom happy hours with close friends created cherished memories.

While quality time with my family was a blessing, we also faced hurdles. Assisting my youngest daughter with frustrating math homework on a poorly designed iPad app tested our patience. Both girls struggled with wearing masks during sports and school.

Sadly, witnessing COVID-19 being politicized and witnessing the closure of small businesses while the wealthy thrived was disheartening.

I wrote this book to document our experiences, learning from them and striving for better decisions in the future. Join me on this rewarding journey of resilience and growth.

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