Surfers, Bathers Peacefully Coexist in Surf City

Jul 26, 2017

Surfers riding waves on guarded beaches in Surf City over the last week kicked off the trial period approved by the borough council earlier this month.

“The surfers have been very cooperative,” Beach Patrol Capt. Mark Dileo said, noting that bodyboarders have been accommodating as well. “So far so good with the new rules.”

The council agreed to allow surfing outside the flags on all borough beaches July 12 on a trial basis, but there are no guarantees surfing in Surf City will continue beyond this summer. For years, surfers could only ride on one beach in the borough, which created overcrowding and sometimes dangerous conditions for the surfers. A petition to change that garnered more than 700 signatures before it was delivered to town hall, and an additional 400 names prior to the vote.

“Surfers must have a beach badge and a leash,” Dileo said. A leash is attached to the tail of surfboard and secured around the surfer’s ankle to thwart the board from being washed away in the event of a fall.

On July 17, the first day surfing was allowed on guarded beaches, the Borough of Surf City, New Jersey Facebook page updated regulations to include the following: surfing is permitted in designated areas only; surfing is subject to daily weather and water conditions; surfers must check in with the lifeguards and beach badge checkers before entering the water; disrobing or changing on the beach or in the street is prohibited. Failure to follow the rules will result in a ticket or a fine.

Surf City is the last Island municipality to allow surfing on all beaches. Ship Bottom opened its beaches to surfers more than a decade ago, and Long Beach Township began opening designated beaches to surfers a few years ago in a trial run. Surfing is permitted on all township beaches this summer. Surfers and bathers also coexist on the beaches in Barnegat Light, Beach Haven and Harvey Cedars.  —G.G.S.

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