As many in the Long Beach Surf community are aware, the City has published a proposed 2013 Surf Schedule. While the LBSA and it’s members fully support the City in it’s efforts to develop a fair and equitable schedule for this first summer post Sandy, there are a growing number of members of the LBSA and the community at large that have expressed safety and other concerns, especially as it relates the the proposed schedule’s lockdown of all surfing west of Lincoln Boulevard after 11am on holiday weekends. Will Hallett, the new President of the LBSA, expressed concerns to the City manager via email on May 23rd, 2013. Below is the email, in it’s entirety.
Dear Mr. Schnirman,
As you may have heard, I recently took over for Billy Kupferman as President of the Long Beach Surfer’s Association. I’ve had the great pleasure to work with you and members of the City’s management on a variety of projects over the years, both as part of the LBSA and individually. On behalf of myself, the Board of Directors of the LBSA, and the entire membership, we all look forward to continuing to work with all of you cooperatively for the greater good of all of the citizens of our City.
I am writing to you today to express the concerns of the LBSA membership and the LBSA Board of Directors over this year’s proposed Surf Beach Schedule, which to our knowledge, has not been finalized. We all know that it has been a difficult time since Sandy, and there were legitimate concerns over the initial schedule that was published. We applaud the City for quickly looking to correct the concerns brought out by the community. In a similar light, I would be remiss in my duties if I did not call to your attention the following concerns from 2012 that have not been addressed in the proposed 2013 schedule, and a new major concern that has been introduced by the proposed 2013 schedule. The two issues unresolved from last year are as follows:
1. Fairness to the swimming (non-surfing) community in the Westholme area – addressing “Back to Back to Back” surf only beaches.
The 2013 proposed schedule, as written, allows for scenarios where there will be two consecutive back to back beaches, and some weeks even THREE consecutive beaches that will be off limits to swimming in the morning hours. The LBSA believes this is an unfair burden, and we strongly recommend that this be addressed.
2. Undue burden on any one of the rotating Westhholme and West End beaches as the “Surf Beach” for entire holiday weekends.
The 2013 proposed schedule, as written, maintains the same beach in the Westholme and West End areas through the entire holiday weekend. The LBSA and other interested citizens have recommended changing the beach each day. If this cannot be done for 2013, it certainly should be considered for Summer, 2014.
With the Memorial Day Weekend rapidly approaching our most grave concern is our third item:
3. Closing of all Surf Beaches west of Lincoln Blvd after 11am for the entire Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day weekends.
The 2013 proposed schedule, as written, provides that the rotating beaches in the Westholme area and the West End be closed to surfing after 11am for these 10 “holiday weekend” days. This effectively means that there will be no place to surf after 11am for an entire 3 mile stretch, and will force surfers to converge on one of only two places, both in the east end of town.
Make no mistake – the position of the LBSA is that closing these beaches after 11am on the holiday weekends creates a major safety concern!
We completely understand the need to make the best possible decisions with our shared resource, and while we understand that the holidays bring out major amounts of swimmers, it also brings major amounts of surfers. We believe the overcrowding that is likely to occur puts our surfing community at a severe, totally unnecessary risk.
Additionally, by closing all beaches west of Lincoln after 11am on these days, the City has effectively deprived anyone who lives in the Westholme area or the West End an opportunity to surf with their families for major portions of their holiday weekend, as no one who lives in that area will be willing to move their car and give up a precious parking spot to go to the east end. Finally the youngest of our citizens in the surf community deserve better. If they live west of Lincoln, we cannot and should not send them off to surf alone, and certainly not into a dangerously overcrowded surf beach.
The LBSA plans to monitor the situation carefully, and we will do our best to respectfully relay our findings and observations to you, the City Council, and the Chief of Lifeguards, for whom we have the utmost respect. We have always enjoyed a great, cooperative relationship with the City. We look forward to your response on these issues, and with you, we all look forward to a safe and successful summer.
President, Long Beach Surfer’s Association
Anyone with thoughts or concerns on this issue is encouraged to contact the LBSA at [email protected], and to write or call the City Manager and the City council as well. The LBSA firmly believes that all points of view on the 2013 surf schedule should be heard, but safety must be and should always be the top priority.