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Newport Blackball: Surfing Safari

The city had a right to be concerned at the time, because the life guards typically only have a single boat in the water, and three surf spots means enforcing SIX border-lines. For those who have seen lifeguards try to enforce any border-line you know how resource-intensive that can become.

So, how do we stop this inequity of constantly pushing away the people who want to use the ocean the most frequently of any group? Let's give them their own surf space and let's make it easy to enforce. The burning question is: How much space, and where?

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I will attempt to answer this question here: First, it needs to be somewhat large, because "good surf" changes all the time. A large south-swell or a few changing currents can turn a hit surf spot into a deadzone in just a couple of days and vice versa. Second, it also needs to have clear demarcation, to ease enforcement. This could be either from a lifeguard stand or more easily a jetty. There are two jetties between 56th and 52nd street. If we set up a dedicated surf spot from 52nd until the Huntington/Newport border, we would have a wide surf area dedicated to the hundreds of surfers who use the water in Newport on a regular basis. This would be an easily enforceable line for the lifeguards with only a single line to enforce and a highly visible line for the surfers, which would maximize enforcement and minimize friction.

This would also play well with the long-standing permanent Blackball already in place from 40th-44th street, allowing dozens of body surfers a dedicated place of their own, year round.

Finally, this plays into the real value of property in the area. Newport Beach is a beautiful area built on the water. People rent here in the summertime with the explicit intent of surfing. TK has told me of several stories of people renting boards from him paying top-dollar for weekly rentals during the summer only to return them a few days later because they keep hitting Blackball events. He said that these people went on to explain that this simply wasn't worth the dollars per week that they we're spending just in rent, and that in the future they would instead be renting in Huntington or Laguna cities with areas dedicated to surfers. That's not good for business.

Dedicating a section of the ocean to surfers would not only be fair in light of the areas dedicated to lovers of other ocean sports, but it would give them a "home" something whose absence certainly cannot be of benefit to anyone.

So, while I'm in favor of alternating days at the Wedge (say, odds for hard-boards and evens for softboards and bodysurfers), I think that we should be looking to address a much more important issue: Instead of forcing surfers to choose between areas where they aren't currently Blackballed, how giving them a place to call their own?

Posted in Health and Medical Post Date 05/13/2018


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