Floatopia 2009

Meredith Ennis

Floatopia 2009

Faced with Floatopia, County Will Close Isla Vista Beaches Saturday

Massive 2009 Event Promoted Similar Closures in 2010 and 2011

Friday, April 6, 2012
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On Saturday, April 7, the Santa Barbara County Community Services Department will close Isla Vista beaches because of the Floatopia event planned for that day. Officials said the health and safety hazards faced by partygoers and the environmentally detrimental impacts of the large scale 2009 Floatopia, which attracted thousands of college students who left the beaches strewn with trash and human waste, prompted both the previous 2010 and 2011 beach closures after repeat parties were announced by organizers.

The 2009 event saw over 12,000 participants flood I.V. shores equipped with inner tubes and rafts brimming with booze to drink, dance, and float in the waves, while hundreds more watched from their beachfront balconies on Del Playa Drive. The bash led to 33 hospitalizations, 78 citations, 13 arrests, and piles of broken glass, trash, and poop, the result of no sanitation facilities at the unsponsored event. A Facebook page set up in 2009 was credited with drawing so many more participants to that year’s event versus the estimated 4,000 that showed up in 2008 and 300 in 2007.

Although the beaches were closed in 2010 and 2011, spirited students took to Del Playa Drive for parties informally called “DPtopia” or “Deltopia,” which still featured bikini-clad dancing students day drinking in the warm weather. It proved to be far less treacherous for both the participants and the environment since those involved were not near the ocean waters or steep cliffs.

Erin Strand, a fourth-year student at UCSB, described Deltopia as a smaller version of infamous Isla Vista Halloween weekends. “For the past two years that I’ve been to Deltopia, the streets were filled with students walking around and day drinking while deejays blast music from the front yards of every couple houses,” she said. “The first year I went to Deltopia in 2010, it felt like an act of rebellion against the closing of the beaches since there were kiddie pools in front yards and people made makeshift sail boat floats to “sail” up and down the streets. Since then it has turned into an annual event the first Saturday of spring quarter to replace Floatopia.”

The County Community Services Department will enforce the beach closures, and the Isla Vista Foot Patrol will continue to roam the streets to regulate the anticipated Deltopia parties.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

It's basically become just another weekend in IV.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 7, 2012 at 11:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In reading the old articles. Kudos to Mr. Hernandez in 2010 and to Mr. Carter in 2012. This event was an ecological disaster to our beaches. Students....have fun, but until you can be responsible in keeping the beaches clean, enjoy DelTopia.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
April 8, 2012 at 9:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Most of the people trashing the beach ect weren't even local students.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
April 8, 2012 at 2:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The financially motivated discrimination against medical marijuana patients and dispensaries by the Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office is inexcusable. Two years ago Grass Roots Research and Education, a medical cannabis dispensary in Goleta, volunteered 27 members for Floatopia clean-up, and as many as needed were available. SBSO called Grass Roots to confirm this shortly before they issued a press release announcing the cancellation of Floatopia, and the cost of clean-up was used as an excuse.
Definitely the beach is a mess after Floatopia and the trash is a serious environmental hazard if not removed. I don't think water pollution is a major concern, it's there, but I think the real issue is the pollution that would result if trash wasn't removed from the beach. I doubt that it's significant relative to the pollution caused by cruise ships.
Swimming in the ocean while drunk can be fatal, but the law really can't protect us from ourselves, and risk takers who make poor judgements will always have a venue to do so.
Drug laws only help law enforcement and criminals, and the cops and judges and DEA agents and FBI members of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition who want to legalize them don't support drug use, they just don't support making a living doing something that destroys others and wastes money and kills people and helps only themselves.
Beach clean-up isn't a reason to cancel Floatopia, but I bet there are others issues that aren't considered as costs of other events in SB that be used as an excuse.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
April 8, 2012 at 10:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Hm. those out of towners were invited by our students. Also, youtube the pictures folks. It was disgusting the mess that was left behind after the event. Yes, some student groups did the best they could to clean up. Some of the Sororities and Frat houses, as well as student groups really stepped up to try to help clean up. However, much of that mess was left on the beaches and washed away with the high tide. Also, the County is left to foot the bill for the clean up of the mess at the top of the stairs. You can't get heavy equipment down there to clean up. If you know the area, you certainly know this. Get a sponsor who would be responsible for safety, sanitation and trash and THEN host your party. Otherwise, see ya floatopia.

BeachFan (anonymous profile)
April 9, 2012 at 11:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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