First Floatopia of 2010

by on March 21, 2010 · 22 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Culture, San Diego

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Floatopia - March 20, 2010. Photo by Jane Armstrong.

by Nate Hipple

Let it be known: The first Floatopia of 2010 occurred yesterday on Mission Bay!

Apparently, nobody got the memo that Spring has only barely sprung and hence it’s still a bit nippy to be rafting with an ice chest of beer. But never ever underestimate the indomitable spirit of the people’s will to party, even when all signs tell them to behave.

When the city banned alcohol on the beach, Floatopia was the natural reaction. (It’s sort of a cross between ‘Jersey Shore’ and the movie ‘Waterworld‘).

The end result of the ban is pushing public drinking into the bay or over to neighboring balconies at waterfront apartments. This creates a “no-man’s” land at the beach, where police and lifeguards monitor the floating fiesta in a fleet of trucks, ATV’s, and one of those mobile police box-like towers that lifts into the sky on a crane. Some may argue this is another drain of city money, but don’t knock it ’til you try it.

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Photo by Jane Armstrong.

The event was all in good fun and everybody seemed to be having a pretty good time, but I can’t help thinking about who was left out of the action. Floatopias are hardly wheelchair accessible, and if you’re the kind of person who isn’t a strong swimmer (like when you’re blowing .08 on the breath-o-meter) then you’re gonna be sipping Pepsi on the sand with the rest of America’s Finest.

But if you do enjoy a doggypaddle in a blackout, well then… Floatopia is just another neat legal loophole.

Editor: Here  is the SignOnSanDiego‘s take on the Floatopia.

More Photos:

Jim Grant has sent us some from the Floatopia:

floatopia jgrant 02 s

floatopia jgrant 01 s

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

George March 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Looks like that mobile surveillance unit will be good for closeup photos of the floaters, if not all attendees?


Nate March 21, 2010 at 3:40 pm

They kinda look like those killer robots from Return of the Jedi, which sort of puts a damper on the fun.


Dave Sparling March 21, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I sure hope everyone lifted their cans and plastic glasses in a resounding TOAST to Kevin Faulkner and CARRIE NATION.


bodysurferbob March 21, 2010 at 5:36 pm

i hope other warm-blooded san diegans are as upset about the use of this police tower as i am. look at that thing, and then go read the book 1984, and then think about the cameras homeland security wants to put up all around the beach and bay.


bodysurferbob March 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm

don’t get me wrong. in a weird way, i think it’s great that so many people are finding this loophole to this stupid and authoritarian alcohol ban.


Editordude March 21, 2010 at 6:04 pm

We added some photos by Jim Grant to the Floatopia post.


Nate Hipple March 22, 2010 at 4:05 pm

HAaha…. Your photos are hilarious!


jim g March 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm

go to my facebook and see THEM ALL !!! jim grant


lane tobias March 21, 2010 at 6:08 pm

its certainly a great practice in civil disobedience, and an “F You” to the cops sitting in that scary tower. But from what I’ve heard, and what I saw on the news today, the aftermath in terms of discarded cans and rafts was despicable. I know it could be overblown…but at least these folks could have collected their own cans instead of tossing them into the bay.


PSD March 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm

I appreciate the civil disobedience factor, and I support anyone who thumbs their nose at the ridiculous booze ban, which I still feel is in large part to blame for deteriorating conditions along the cliffs. That said, these events are mainly promoted and attended by a bunch of trust-funded State students on the ten-year plan and East County bros/bro-hoes. I’m not surprised if they indeed exhibited zero class in trashing the bay and exhibiting zero personal responsibility.


Catherine March 21, 2010 at 6:31 pm

A great act of civil disobedience? Just a bunch of people who want to party and don’t really care whether they trash the bay in the process. Or create a hassle for the neighbors. or a hassle for the police. also looks like a great recipe for alcohol-related drowning. City Council needs to close this loophole and send the bill for police services to the party planners.


jettyboy March 21, 2010 at 7:54 pm

This has nothing to do with civil disobedience, most of these people couldn’t even tell you what civil disobedience is, or its importance in the history of the country. This was just a way to try and put one over on the police. If any of you saw the mountains of trash and garbage these assholes left on the beach, and in and under the water, you would be laying the criticism on them, not the cops.


lane tobias March 22, 2010 at 9:42 am

re-read the comment people. A great PRACTICE in civil disobedience and an aftermath that was DESPICABLE. i didnt say a great “act” in civil disobedience because the outcome was just a pile of trash.

just because people showed up to get drunk doesn’t mean they weren’t taking part in some kind of statement. if there had been a widespread effort to make sure all cans and bottles were recycled and/or collected, and the rafts not left on the beach, then one might say it was a successful demonstration. unfortunately, it will probably result in tighter rather than looser restrictions.


Nate Hipple March 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm

That’s interesting. Most attendees seemed to be primarily concerned with partying, rather than making a political statement. Well, wait, there were a few dudes with a homemade American flag, and one guy sitting behind a table with a banner that read:
Stop Wasteful Spending– but mostly, it was about rafts and beers.

Now I’m left wondering: What did the party accomplish?


JPinSD March 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm

They accomplished having fun!


Nate Hipple March 25, 2010 at 5:20 pm



Not in my hood March 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I agree, I was cleaning up the mess they left on my front lawn most of the day Saturday and again Sunday morning as I live directly across the street from this “event”. I can’t tell you how many of these drunk idiots I chase off my doorstep. They seem to think that because I have privacy fencing up they can use it as their own personal toilet. Once things mellowed out, all that was left was to hose off the vomit left behind.

Once again, the young and ignorant are ruining things for others, just to pretend to get one over on the man.

If they only had some respect for the people that live in the area and clean up their mess and use the public restrooms I bet they would get more support. Until that day day I say, not in my hood!!


lane tobias March 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm

civil disobedience doesnt have to be political in nature, nor does it have to be made up of a group of people who are ALL on the same page. this was a large group of people thumbing their nose at a seemingly unpopular city ordinance.

did it accomplish anything? yes – it probably cemented the drinking ban in place, and will lead the council to pass an amendment that will prevent a floatopia in the future. methinks the organizers probably did more harm than good here….mass pollution notwithstanding.


Catherine March 23, 2010 at 9:50 am

This is just a bunch of people wanting to party and not caring about anything else such as what a pain in the butt they are. If there’s a statement being made here it’s clearly not very well thought out and not particularly noble. Bunch of drunk kids saying FU to their police oppressors. Yeah, that’s moving stuff. Is that what they’re trying to say with the giant inflatable penis balloon?


Nate Hipple March 25, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I believe the Beastie Boys once said, “You gotta fight for your right to party!” and NOT party for your right to party…. maybe that balloon was supposed to be a giant inflatable middle finger. Or an exclamation point. Eh?


Bob J. March 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Wow. It was a good party, and many of the people were well-behaved. But the same few thousand idiots who just can’t handle their booze were there in force. The cops and lifeguards were there, and they kept the dumbasses from fighting and drowning, respectively. The sad truth is that if you want to see who was responsible for the passage of the beach booze ban….they were right there at Floatopia.
Remember back during the Prop. D campaign, when the pro-boozers argued for “drinking zones” on the beaches? Well, that’s what Floatopia was, a drinking zone…and you see how well that turned out. Big waste of taxpayer dollars for lifeguards, cops, park & rec cleanup crews. Turns out that for every person who just chills and enjoys a few beers at the beach, there’s at least one idiot who throws trash in the water, has to be rescued by a lifeguard, pees in somebody’s yard, or gets all full of testosterone and wants to start a fight. And yeah, try to blame it on OC’ers, Zonies, East County goobers, and semester locals…..but plenty of the knuckleheads are PB residents. Nice work, Floatopiards, you killed it for all of us, just like you killed drinking on the sand.


Bob J. March 29, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Oh, yeah. Those evil cops in that “scary tower” were spotting for the lifeguards. Half of the dozen or so rescues (that would be “drunks who were saved from drowning”) might not have happened without the tower.
The cops in the tower also spotted a few chesty drunks on the sand, and kept ’em from punching each other. See kids, that’s how “riots” start. If the cops and lifeguards hadn’t been there, a drowning or a big scuffle would have resulted in an emergency ordinance. But that didn’t happen…so I can still enjoy a cold beer while I’m floating..for a few more weeks, anyway.
Which brings me to my question…what’s with these internet zombies who don’t know how to have fun, unless someone on Facebook tells ’em where to go and what to do in order to be part of the in crowd?


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