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Surfers, Beachgoers Celebrate Reopening Of Martin's Beach Near Half Moon Bay

HALF MOON BAY (KCBS) – Although the access road to Martin's Beach along the San Mateo County coast remains closed, surfers and beachgoers celebrated a legal victory that finally allows them public access to the beach.

One of several people headed out to surf Martin's Beach on Thursday was Mark Massara, lead attorney for the Surfrider Foundation, which for four years fought venture capitalist Vinod Khosla in court over public access to the popular spot.

Massara said San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Barbara Mallach's ruling Wednesday that Khosla can't close off access to the beach near Half Moon Bay upheld all of their legal theories.

"Namely that the various activities that Vinod Khosla has undertaken to intimidate and eliminate public beach access are illegal and that he has to apply for permits if he's going to change the use of the beach and/or attempt to close the beach," Massara said.

Surfers, Beachgoers Celebrate Reopening Of Martin's Beach Near Half Moon Bay

Michelle McNiff has lived in the area for two years and walked down the access road for the first time on Thursday.

"We just thought, wow, we can actually go see the beach that's there," she said.

Surfrider Foundation founder Rob Caughlan called the ruling a fabulous victory for all Californians for affirming the strength of the Coastal Act of 1976. "Sometimes, the American judicial system works just the way it's supposed to and that justice can triumph," he said.

The Surfrider Foundation expects fines to be levied against Khosla if he doesn't open the gates soon. A statement from Khosla's lawyer said they are considering their options to appeal.

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