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Aug 18, 2019 12:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Board Amends Surfing Restrictions, Will Set Up Committee To Look At Issue

Surfers at Agawam Beach in Southampton Village on Sunday.   DANA SHAW
Aug 21, 2019 11:37 AM

The surfing community was stunned this week when Southampton Village Police, on Saturday, began enforcing a section of the village code that prohibits surfing on a nearly one-mile stretch of beach between Halsey Neck Lane and Old Town Road, and another small stretch at Fowler Lane during the summer months.

But after many of the surfers held a brief protest of the prohibition on Sunday morning — one attended by Mayor Jesse Warren — Village Board members on Tuesday amended a section of the code, which had prohibited surfing from June 15 through September 15, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., to instead allow surfing everywhere in the village at all times, with the exception of the bathing area at Coopers Beach

Mayor Warren and Village Trustee Mark Parash introduced the code modification at the beginning of the board meeting on Tuesday night.

“Mark Twain said, ‘History doesn’t repeat itself, but it [often] rhymes,’” Mr. Warren said before introducing the amended law. “Our goal, really, is to look at laws we had in the past, and fix them. In reality, there is no ban in Southampton.”

Mr. Parash reiterated to those in the packed room at Village Hall — mainly surfers who were concerned about the unexpected prohibition — that surfing was not banned, but it had been restricted at certain times, and that the law in question had been created in the 1970s, though largely went unenforced.

He added that surfing “has become a huge, popular mainstream sport,” and that the village supports it.

Chloe Kimball, 22, who organized Sunday’s demonstration and launched a petition to gather the signatures of people opposed to the restrictions, said she has been surfing in Southampton Village since she was 8 or 9 years old. She attended the Flying Point Surf School when she was a kid and worked for the school as a teenager.

Surfing, she said, is a tradition that she partakes in every summer when she comes to Southampton Village to live. After the summer, she heads back to the city, and on occasion surfs at Rockaway Beach in Queens.

Ms. Kimball said she went to the beach on Saturday morning and noticed a bunch of police officers stationed at every beach between Old Town Road and Halsey Neck Lane.

“We were told that surfing was now banned in Southampton Village. Without any warning or explanation, they told us on Saturday that they were going to enforce it,” she said, referring to the former code.

Ms. Kimball started a petition on Change.org — which collected more than 7,000 signatures in just a few days — in opposition to the village’s ban.

“Many of us surfers were told by the police that they would tell us to get out of the ocean and give us tickets if we went in,” the petition read, adding that they faced a fine of up to $1,000. “This understandably caused disruptions and concern among those of us who love the sport. Please support the petition to overturn this ban altogether.”

The petition called for a “surf-in” protest at Agawam Beach, next to the Bathing Corporation, on Sunday morning. Ms. Kimball said the idea was for everyone to storm the water at one time to see if the police really meant that they would enforce the surfing regulations. But, according to her, the police never showed up.

In total, she said, she counted about 57 people in the water at one time during the protest on Sunday, along with a bunch of people on the shore in support of the surfing community — including the mayor.

“Jesse came down at the end and said he fully supports us, and that this was a decision by the police department,” Ms. Kimball said.

She said that many people she spoke with did not recall the prohibition ever being enforced previously.

Village Police Detective Sergeant Herman Lamison, however, said on Monday that the restrictions have, in fact, been enforced at times in the past, typically after the department receives complaints from the public regarding the surfers.

“It’s something that comes up every summer, and it’s just like anything else,” he said, pointing out that once a complaint is filed about something that can be enforced, the police have to step in and enforce the code.

Det. Sgt. Lamison said he was not sure who complained or what the complaint was, saying he would look into it.

Mr. Warren said on Monday that an anonymous call came in, but he had yet to see the complaint.

“The only reason they were down there in the first place is because a grumpy person, or some grumpy people, called them and they were asked to go down there,” the mayor said. “They were doing their constitutional duty to uphold the law.”

The surf break near the Bathing Corporation has been firing this summer and often is populated by local surfers, out-of-town surfers, surf schools and private surf lessons.

With so many people on one break, tensions can run high.

“Surf schools clog the water up,” Dr. Conrad Miller told Village Board members on Tuesday night.

Dr. Miller, a local surfer, said that there was a time when he and another person would set up a stretch of beach separated by signs, notifying people of the surfing area. He suggested that the board do something similar.

He also suggested that police presence could have been avoided. “Perhaps the conflict should have been sorted out between the surfers, without the police,” he said. “That’s how it used to happen.”

Francis Adamczeski, another surfer, said safety needs to be controlled with so many people on the water. He also raised concerns about commercial activity taking place on the beach when private lessons are held.

Mr. Adamczeski suggested the board should address the commercial activity in the code and enforce that portion of the law.

Mr. Warren said the permitting of surf camps is in place and only one camp had been approved as of Monday.

The overall consensus of the room after the Village Board approved the amended version of the 1977 law was positive, and people even cheered when it won approval.

In addition to the amended law, the Village Board approved two other resolutions: one to repeal the old law and have it removed from the books, and the other to set up a surfing committee to advise the Village Board in the future.

All five board members voted to approve the measures.

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Jesse, law breaker??? If he goes in with a board, he should be arrested...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Aug 18, 19 1:31 PM
A village wide ban on surfing is RIDICULOUS! I understand the safety concerns, so establish designated "swimming only" areas. To create such a ban that hurts so many people is simply asinine. This should be heavily protested. I will support the protest any way I can.
By Corwin1879 (40), Southampton on Aug 18, 19 1:41 PM
4 members liked this comment
It was a knee jerk reaction to a nothing issue. Every couple of years there’s some kind of issue with surfing and surfers. The mayor is doing the right thing. If there’s a problem, don’t ban all surfing. Thanks Jesse for the support.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 18, 19 1:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
I just hope someone does not get killed by a drunk driver while the cops are hanging out on the beach handing out tickets to kids surfing...Really Chief Cummings, your officers have better things to do, no?
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Aug 18, 19 1:47 PM
Actually, no, they don't.
By deepchanel (89), Hampton Bays on Aug 28, 19 2:31 PM
Petition-- https://www.change.org/p/oppose-southampton-s-ban-on-surfing
By Dafsgirl (64), Southampton on Aug 18, 19 3:13 PM
1 member liked this comment
Our village government, writ larg, has never looked so idiotic as they do right now, on this issue. And that is saying something. Surfing is the most popular recreation for kids on the east end right now. Fix it, you knuckleheads.
By CPalmer (122), Southampton on Aug 18, 19 3:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
better off if you ban them from coming to east hampton
By logic (3), east hampton on Aug 18, 19 3:25 PM
Change the law. Done.
By East End 2 (151), Southampton on Aug 18, 19 4:11 PM
The East End is so overly regulated! Stop already!
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Aug 18, 19 4:17 PM
The east end? Try all of New York; it is one of the most regulated and least free states in the Union. I would put up a link but that is verboten in the eyes of the 27 east staff.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Aug 19, 19 8:48 AM
I grew up in Southampton Village & we were allowed everywhere on the beaches. As times changed, surfers were allowed anywhere except where people were swimming in front of lifeguards.
Over my many years here, surfers have rescued thousands upon thousands of lives in our oceans. To ban a fun, recreational, & lucrative draw to our beaches & resort area should be the crime!
By Linda G (1), Barefoot Bay on Aug 18, 19 4:56 PM
3 members liked this comment
Jessie Warren creates the controversy and then pretends to be a hero in trying to fix it.
By North Sea Girl (1), Southampton on Aug 18, 19 5:27 PM
2 members liked this comment
Is that surfing when the waves are 3.5 feet always?
By 11953guest (48), southampton on Aug 18, 19 6:16 PM
11953guest, it’s not always bombing, it’s still surfing, not bocce ball.
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 18, 19 6:37 PM
Areas not a formal beach protected by lifeguards should be open for all including surfers.
By A Great American (103), East Quogue on Aug 18, 19 7:06 PM
Why now? What precipitated this action?
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Aug 18, 19 7:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
First surfers ruined camp hero by causing erosion. Now surfers are destroying Southampton village! I've even heard rumors that some surfers also ride bicycles on public roads, causing wear and tear without paying gasoline tax for their bicycles.
What can be done to protect the public from.these ruffians? . This is an urgent matter!
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Aug 18, 19 8:06 PM
The Village has NO jurisdiction over activities in the Atlantic Ocean. I will paddle, boogie board , SUP , whatever the situation calls for, ticket me please, the beat down the Village will take in court will be worth the time.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 18, 19 8:36 PM
In my opinion, the mayor did a great job today handling the situation. He was quick and efficient. Go Mayor!
By Local45 (4), Hampton Bays on Aug 18, 19 8:59 PM
In my opinion, the mayor did a great job today handling the situation. He was quick and efficient. Go Mayor!
By Local45 (4), Hampton Bays on Aug 18, 19 8:59 PM
What did the mayor do that was quick and efficient?
By 11953guest (48), southampton on Aug 18, 19 9:58 PM
Restroom Break
By Funbeer (273), Southampton on Aug 19, 19 11:15 PM
SH Village needs to go watch how it’s done at Ponquogue, no real problems between surfers and swimmers. Everyone enjoys the water together
By Flannery66 (9), Hampton Bays on Aug 18, 19 10:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
The problem is that Ponquogue has a lifeguard and designated swimming areas. You must be outside the flags if you want to surf. It's always been like that and like you said, everybody follows the rules. I'm not sure where these surfers and going in, but many of these Village beaches don't have lifeguards and/or said swimming areas.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Aug 19, 19 1:23 PM
and why did the Village decide to enforce this part of the Village Code but allow other code violations to continue unabated at the Bathing Corp?
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 19, 19 6:48 AM
So the surf camp is opposed and stopped early this season.Than the new Mayor re-establishes the surf camp and now all surfing is banned on Village beaches?!?!

By toes in the water (884), southampton on Aug 19, 19 7:29 AM
1 member liked this comment
What did you expect from the Land of NO.
By birdyblue6 (3), sag harbor on Aug 19, 19 7:31 AM
2 members liked this comment
This whole fiasco started with the nonstop whining about surf camps. The police decided to enforce an old rule that hasn’t been enforced in years. The whole argument about “commercialization “ of beaches is weak at best. There’s yoga on the beach, party’s up and down the beach.the beach club has chairs and umbrellas on the beach, plus the ropes that restrict use of that beach. If there was no commercial use of the beach it would be understandable, but this is just selective ...more
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 19, 19 7:38 AM
1 member liked this comment
You always seem to want all the whining left to you.
By themarlinspike (542), Northern Hemisphere on Aug 19, 19 8:22 AM
NY State laws also include a regulation that every business must offer a spittoon and that it must be cleaned 1x per day. (not it)

If anything, a police chief should be consistent.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 19, 19 7:44 AM
Police are not consistent.
2 hour parking in village is only enforced in the summer
By Local247 (39), Southampton on Aug 19, 19 9:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
Chief Cummings is not a leader he is a joker with no leadership.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 19, 19 10:48 AM
Chief Donald Findlay did the same thing in the 1960's, prompting a group of local surfers to meet with him, and work out a compromise. Most non-surfers do not understand why a certain "break" is so popular. At the time, there was a great break just east of Coopers.

Once Chief Findlay understood the logic of a certain break, he maturely worked it out to everyone's satisfaction.

Well done, Chief!

PS -- Editors and Mr. Wehner -- I imagine a search of the archives will find ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 19, 19 12:32 PM
A cursory search revealed a relevant article, in a certain weekly newspaper to our east, dated 11/26/64 . . . so the Press's archives probably have a similar article from that week +/- IMO.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 19, 19 12:42 PM
A good drop knee bottom turn is a thing of beauty, they are never forgotten
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 19, 19 1:45 PM
9 foot single fin only for that one Fred!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 19, 19 5:57 PM
Chief of Police, Donald J. Finlay...gentlemen and a scholar.
By BostonStrong (8), Orlando on Aug 19, 19 2:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just get your Green Key card and go to the county beach. Leave the rich folk alone you Southampton ruffians! They're nice taxpaying botoxicants, they deserve a few weeks of peace and rest from their weary lives spending the hard earned hedge fund money.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Aug 19, 19 3:54 PM
Barry is clean and articulate...........
By Ditch Bum (929), Water Mill on Aug 20, 19 12:44 AM
Earlier this summer I was swimming at Hot Dog Beach, something I've doing for around 45 years. And for the first time, there were surfers in the swimming area annoying the hell out of the swimmers that were there. Eventually, they got bored and left since there are really no waves here so it was difficult for them to show off in the front of their friends on the beach. I am a body surfer and rare are the days you can even catch a wave it's so weak here. And 90% of the time, the waves break so close ...more
By dave21 (16), westhampton on Aug 20, 19 9:40 AM
- there is no designated swim area at Hot Dog Beach
- you were probably annoying the surfers just as they were annoying you
- if you actually have been swimming at HDB for the last 45 years you def. would have seen some surfers.
- - I didn't realize that surfers were out there to show off for the people on the beach - this is something that you have taught us.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Aug 20, 19 10:21 AM
Dave21, no ones whining. Plus the fact we do get decent waves here.you get good surf everyday, that doesn’t happen anywhere. Surfers are in the ocean 12 months a year, see you body surfing in February!!!
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 20, 19 10:37 AM
Imagine if some day Southampton Village allows driving on the beach but not surfing?
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 20, 19 10:39 AM
Hot.Dog.Beach was a good surf beach last year. The sand has shifted.

Also, the twins were still running their biker bar/restaurant and it was a private beach 45 years ago.

But thanks for.playing. your consolation prize is the east end of Tiana Beach.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Aug 20, 19 11:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
This ban is insane
By AMR (4), miami beach on Aug 20, 19 6:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
There was never a ban, just enforcement of a law on the books for over 40 years, at last night's Village Board meeting, the board passed a resolution changing the outdated law. Surfing is now allowed at all village beaches that don't have lifeguards, Coopers and Bathing Corp.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 21, 19 6:11 AM
There was a ban on surfing at the majority of village beaches. There is no longer a ban.

officially or legally prohibit.
"he was banned from driving for a year"
synonyms: prohibit, forbid, veto, proscribe, disallow, outlaw, make illegal, embargo, place an embargo on, bar, debar, block, stop, put a stop to, put an end to, suppress, interdict; More
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 21, 19 6:42 AM
Thanks for the update. The devil may be in the details IMO. Is the Village going to set out stakes/flags to demarcate the no-surfing zones, or will the lifeguards have to draw the battle lines?

See earlier comment about a great break at Coopers back in the 60's -- there will likely be another one someday. Ditto for the Bathing Corp..

Nice to see the Village so responsive, though!

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Aug 21, 19 6:44 AM
The Village is setting up a committee that will be tasked with coming up with some ideas and guidelines in regards to surf schools and private surfing lessons with members from both sides of the issue, as it stands today the Village has not changed the code banning commercial activity on the beaches but is allowing it to continue.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 21, 19 6:56 AM
Parking on meadow lane is not permitted but the police don’t enforce it. Signs state they will tow vehicle. Chief. Needs to grow a set and start towing. This village has no standards!! Spineless
By Local247 (39), Southampton on Aug 21, 19 8:48 AM
As long as people are complaining - bicycle riding on Main St. and Job’s Lane. The signs indicating that this is prohibited are barely noticeable. Compare with Pedestrian crossing and Farmer’s Market signs. There appears to be minimal to no enforcement of the no bicycling law. Then we have the U turns on Job’s Lane and Main Street. Perhaps our ordinance enforcers or whomever they are that stand around talking to each other could kindly give a warning to people.who are clearly ...more
By metsfan2 (163), southampton on Aug 21, 19 11:49 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but biking is allowed - just not on the sidewalk I believe.
By FarOutEast (16), Southampton on Aug 26, 19 9:35 AM

Conrad Miller learned to surf here, his kids learned to surf here, his grandkids learned to surf here but he thinks there are too many kids in the water? Too many of other people's kids?
According to another article church services are now taking place on the beach. Should that be banned too as commercial activity? Can some else please tell Barbara Wilson to stop marrying people on the beach? Why is it ok for some people to use the beach or water as they wish but not others? Shall we ban ...more
By AL (83), southampton on Aug 22, 19 7:10 AM
organized , for profit surf lessons here are a relatively new phenomenon going back 10 years at most, before that we learned to surf on our own starting out in the shorebreak away from those with more experience. As we got better we migrated towards the better waves where we met up with those who actually surfed well, welcome to the reality of the pecking order! One didn't get the waves they wanted until dues were paid and some time was spent in the lineup. The hierarchy was a very real thing, ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 22, 19 12:46 PM
Bigfresh, I agree wholeheartedly. The dynamic has changed. Don’t agree with the participation trophy mentality comment. I’d say it’s lack of self awareness and participation. “Surfers “and”instructors “ comes off as an insult. Most of the guys are top notch, curt is world class, no need to insult if you don’t like surf school.the license does require insurance and there is oversight. I know some of the instructors have taken cpr classes which is a ...more
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 22, 19 1:06 PM
There are a couple of reputable organizations and some fly by night solo instructors involved ,so "instructors" is spot on, those getting pushed into waves are worthy of "" "" , they're not surfers yet. The fact remains that there is one legal operation this year, the Village issued the only permit about three weeks ago for lessons at Cryder, Monday to Friday , 8-noon. The rest are being allowed to operate in violation of Village code. Hopefully things get hashed out shortly by the Committee and ...more
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 22, 19 6:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
I appreciate those that took the time to put my comments into historical perspective. Makes me wonder how we could have progressed from great live music, the Pagans and unhindered surf, to candyass surfers on three foot waves who insist on performing right in front of their friends on public beaches at the expense of body surfers and swimmers minding their own business.
By dave21 (16), westhampton on Aug 22, 19 11:18 AM
Hey dave21, I used to go to hot dog beach back in the day. In the parking lot drinking beer. It was fun. As to the fun loving pagans, the last thing they were was “fun”I’m glad they got run off Long Island. Surfers are candyasss’s ? That’s a joke. I don’t see anyone body surfing when it’s bombing on the outside bar.get a little grip, surfers surf all waves, can’t just surf big perfect waves everyday
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 22, 19 12:21 PM
The million dollar question is -who is it that has the legal right to 'regulate' recreational activities on public trust lands?
By semi local (19), southampton on Aug 24, 19 6:41 PM
The million dollar question is -who is it that has the legal right to 'regulate' recreational activities on public trust lands?
By semi local (19), southampton on Aug 24, 19 6:41 PM
So glad the ban is over. How are the waves?
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 26, 19 6:39 AM
a more pressing question is this , Why is the Village allowing violations of the Village Code to continue multiple times on a daily basis??!!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 27, 19 6:44 PM
1 member liked this comment
The bigger question is, why Barney fife are you so concerned?
By Fred s (3321), Southampton on Aug 27, 19 7:05 PM
Nice ground swell building over the next few days and the water is warm : )
By Aeshtron (431), Southampton on Aug 29, 19 11:21 AM