Let's plan on mass e-mailing & calling the OCBP to modify the beaches for upcoming swells. If we overwhelm them.... they are more likely to modify the surf beaches according to the lifeguards I spoke with on monday.
I am contacting you about the surfing beaches and the use of them throughout the summer. I understand they are put in place to protect the people and also give us a designated surfing zone. For some reason, it seems as though when I was younger, even just 10 years ago, the beaches were modified more often then they are these days. Fortunately we do have an extra surfing beach now (the inlet during the week). But, there are more surfers then ever, and exponentially so. My curiosity is why the surfing beaches are not modified more often than they are? There are numerous days throughout the summer when the weather is not condussive for sunbathing or any beachgoer for that matter (rainy, windy, cloudy days where only the lifeguards and surfers are out in it). There are also quite a few days that the surf is so large and breaks out so far that the typical tourist can enjoy the water while not being bothered by any surfer coming his/her way (or it is too big for any tourist to swim). I'm contacting you just to hear your thoughts and if there is anything we can do as surfer's to promote a healthy relationship with the beach patrol and to help expedite the modification of surf beaches. Thanks for your time and consideration.
Excellent note. I spoke to a lifeguard near the Ocean Pines beach club at 50th 2 weeks ago (June 6th, a day they DID modify the beaches) and he had basically the same thing to say. I think your approach is very good.
Here's my take on the Surf Beach issue. The only way this problem will be taken seriously is if the powers that be in OC, (the Mayor and Council) understand that surfing is a legitimate part of the tourism industry. Just like golf expanded the tourism base for the resort, a surfing frriendly policy on the beaches during the summer could attract tourism dollars, which is the only thing the City understands.
That of course would involve locals embracing surfing tourists rather than denigrating them. The more you make surfing tourists feel unwelcome and uncomfortable, the fewer will vacation in OC. The fewer vacationing surfers, who stay in hotels and condos and eat in restaurants, the less compelled local government will feel to accomodate surfers. After all, if they don't accomodate the locals, what are you going to do, move? But if they don't accomodate the surfing tourist they just pack up and head to the OB instead of OC. It happens now.
I live in an upper middle class neighborhood outside of Baltimore. If the town officials had any idea how many SUVs with surf racks I see on a daily basis in my neighborhood, they would fall all over themselves to attract these families with disposable income, income that they want to spend in part on surfing.
There has to be some demographic information available about the income levels of surfers, and the money they spend on their sport. I would be willing to bet it is pretty impressive, despite the stereotype of surfers as slackers. That information should be obtained and should slowly and repeatedly be brought to the attention of local officials. Surf shops should collect demographic information from board purchasers and renters, at the very least their home zip codes, to show the Council how many out of towners participate in the sport. Find a friendly council person to introduce a bill to expand surf areas. Have articulate out of town surfers come down to testify at a hearing. If there are no friendly council members, recruit someone to run in the next election. Even if you lose you'll get people's attention.
In short, this is a complex political problem that needs a lot more work than a few dozen e-mails.
Surfing tourism is minor in the summer compared to regular tourism and the numbers would show that. this has been an uphill battle for the last 30 years and i doubt it will change anytime soon. the idea of more modification is good but i think a better idea would be to put pressure on ESA and Surfrider to work with the town to create more surfer friendly rules.
Surfing tourism may or may not be minor compared with regular tourism, but I would venture a guess that 30 years ago golfing tourism was virtually non-existent.
The town needs to understand that surfing tourism is a viable market and that properly nurtured it could expand. Tourism dollars, and not e-mails from a few dozen surfers are what will drive a change in attitude about surfing restrictions.
They just addressed this issue last year with the addition of the inlet beach. I doubt they will put any new regulations into place. These are all great ideas but they will take alot of time and work. I just thought the e-mails would be a good starting point and would get us some short term relief. Furthermore, if we all e-mail/call/whatever then if it did go in front of the council, the OCBP could testify to the amount of growing concern among the surf community. And, it would show that we could band together to make something happen. That might actually be scary to them.
It would be nice not to have to take my less favorite board to the surfing beach just because I know it might get dinged by someone less experienced dropping in on me, cutting me off, or simply spazzing out on the paddle out as I come flying down the line.
Last edited by wang; Jun 26, 2008 at 02:17 PM.
Tourism dollars, and not e-mails from a few dozen surfers are what will drive a change in attitude about surfing restrictions.
How about e-mails about surfing tourism dollars? Besides, there's alot of political time that needs to be invested for that. I'm 27 and already got my hands full with Salisbury politics (since this is where I now work and live).
like i said, since ESA and Surfrider apparently 'speak for the surfers' in OC, i work through them too (or at least cc them on any emails).
Do you have any e-mails for them or contact info? I just remember them being a pretty closed group when I was younger and doing contests. They would look at us like..... "what are these kids doing coming from Fenwick and Salisbury, ugghhh."