Harvey Cedars Looks to Soon Resolve Surfing Issue

Oct 11, 2017

By the end of the month, the Harvey Cedars Borough Commission is looking to decide whether to allow surfing outside the flags on all beaches during guarded hours.

Last summer, borough resident Mike Kramer submitted a petition with approximately 3,000 signatures urging the borough remove the restriction and allow surfing outside of the designated swimming areas. He reiterated his views at a recent presentation to the board of commissioners.

“Every other municipality on Long Beach Island besides Harvey Cedars has listened to the advice of their senior lifeguard and decided that surfing outside the flags during guarded hours is perfectly fine,” he said.

According to Kramer, the other LBI communities analyzed 10 years of data regarding ocean safety and liability issues and found that it simply has had no ill effects

“I think we can all agree that if surfing outside the flags had any negative impact on these municipalities that the mayors would have had to ban it, and they haven’t,” he said.

Kramer also said it is well documented that surfers frequently assist in water rescues in hazardous conditions.

“Surfing is a healthy, multi-generational family activity and it is practiced on an increasing basis yearly,” he said. “This is a great way to maximize the public’s use of the beach and surf zone and acknowledge over a century of wave-riding tradition on the New Jersey coast.”

Currently, Harvey Cedars allows surfing all day on Hudson Street, as well as at near the north and south edges of town.

Borough Commissioner Michael Garofalo, who is public works chairman, said he would reserve comment until having more discussions with Police Chief Robert Burnaford, who once was a borough lifeguard, and beach patrol Capt. Randy Townsend.

“The lifeguards have a lot to do in watching the swimmers in the protected area,” said Burnaford. “With surfers nearby, that could greatly broaden the scope of their work as they would have to watch beyond the swimming area. But I also understand the views of the people who want surfing, and perhaps we might be able to allow it on a trial basis.”  

Townsend could not be reached for comment. But in August he said having surfers next to swimmers can potentially create safety hazards.

— Eric Englund


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