The SDUT published an editorial today that was mostly correct re: Encinitas and the “Surfing Madonna”. It was indeed a piece of art which was illegally and anonymously affixed to public property and subsequently removed by the artist to prevent it from being destroyed.
The artist then went through the permit process to gift the piece to the city, but the site he selected was owned by the CA State Parks Dept and merely leased by Encinitas. The Encinitas Arts Commission recommended approval and the City Council voted 5-0 for its placement on the parcel, but the state Attorney General Kamala Harris opined that it would be illegal due to its religious imagery.
I personally grew up in a Catholic household and do not remember any images of the Virgin of Guadalupe wearing booties while on a surfboard, but maybe the AG has a greater religious education than I do…
Ultimately the artist elected to have the artwork placed on private property in a location in Leucadia suitable for public viewing. All’s well.
The editorial was incorrect when it says I was “tired of the whole affair,” but correct in that I said this has indeed become a beloved and iconic piece of local lore.