Permit Battle Ignites Surf and Turf War

La Jolla surf school owner says he's fighting to survive

A surfing instructor is saying a city decision giving one of his permits to a rival is threatening to wipe him out, according to a report in the

La Jolla Shores is ideal for beginning surfers who want easy waves -- and also for surf instructors who are teaching novices and tourists. In the past, the city’s Real Estate Assets Department (READ) issued four permits -- which are highly prized by surf schools because of the year-round high-end clientele -- for the beach.

The city has required commercial surf schools to have permits since 2005. In May of that year, there were four three-year permits issued for La Jolla Shores, shared by four companies owned by a pair of owners, Surf Diva owned by Isabelle Tihanyi and Menehune Surf owned by Darren Fulhorst. Two months later, a fifth permit was created by READ to accommodate a third company Surf Diva owned, the Australian Surf Academy.

The fifth permit was eliminated during the renewal process in 2008, which is when Fulhorst lost one of his. Now, Surf Diva has three and Fulhorst just the one.

READ manager Gary Jones said the city’s decision was based on scores and criteria assessed for each of the companies’ proposals. Fulhorst believes the decision was granted in order to make up for the creation and deletion of 1A.

Surf Diva's owner Tihanyi told the to contact the city for more information about the creation of 1A. 

Fulhorst maintains he was told by READ that his 2008 permit status would remain unchanged, but he eventually only had a single permit renewed.

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