WEST OCEAN CITY — The newly formed Ocean City Surf Club’s first significant membership drive on Sunday was a huge success with roughly 100 new members joining, signaling a promising start for the organization.
The Ocean City Surf Club, formed about three months ago is actually a resurrection of the original club started five decades ago by a handful of pioneers of the sport in the resort area. With close attention to a nostalgic past and a careful eye on a promising future, the Ocean City Surf Club was formed this winter with a renewed focus on the popular sport, environmental advocacy and charitable fundraising. For the last few months, the club has been busy establishing the new organization and putting together a leadership group in advance of its first big membership drive.
With the primary pieces in place, the club held its first membership drive with a special event at the Greene Turtle in West Ocean City on Sunday. On a picture perfect Sunday afternoon, hundreds turned out for the inaugural membership drive with nearly everyone in the local surfing community on hand from ages 70 to seven and everything in between. The event included grizzled veterans with more than a little gray in their hair and beards to young groms ready to make their own mark on the local surfing scene.
The West Ocean City Greene Turtle played the perfect host with oysters of all sorts from raw to fried to oyster stew along with all of the appropriate sides, plenty of beer, music and fun. The Greene Turtle-West is the first official sponsor of the club and the de facto headquarters for the new organization.
Ocean City Surfrider Foundation executive director Shelly Dawson, who led the local chapter for 14 years, stepped down from the position this winter to take the reins of the fledgling Ocean City Surf Club. Essentially, the club is a resurrection of the original Ocean City Surf Club formed about 50 years ago.
The new Ocean City Surf Club will focus its attention on the local surfing community and will continue the fundamental principles of the Surfrider Foundation in the resort over the last decade or so. Under Dawson’s watch, the Ocean City Surfrider Foundation has been instrumental in advocating for clean beaches and clean water, including the ubiquitous “leave only your footprints behind” campaign.
The new Ocean City Surf Club will continue those efforts, but will also place a renewed emphasis on charitable works in the community and fostering and nurturing the next generations of surfers in the resort area.