Inlet Surfing Beach To Return

OCEAN CITY – The Inlet surfing beach concept will return to Ocean City for a second year in 2008, giving surfers another year to enjoy the long-awaited designated surfing beach.

Ocean City Recreation and Parks Director Tom Shuster reported this week that due to the overwhelming success of the first year of the Inlet surfing beach pilot program, the program would continue.

Last year marked the first year for the pilot program, which gave surfers a large chunk of beach at the Inlet to be used Monday thru Friday.

The fight for a designated surfing beach dates back to the 1970’s, when the surfing scene began to flourish in the resort area and beaches began to become increasingly more crowded.

The first designated surfing beaches came in the form of three rotating beaches. Each day there would be three beaches, which would rotate daily, that surfers could use. The three beaches were eventually reduced to two, causing more overcrowding for surfers. The demand for a fixed beach grew over the last few years, causing the town to examine the issue and eventually grant the request.

After receiving the support of the Mayor and Council and beach stand operators along that area of beach, the pilot program went into affect, marking the first year for a fixed surfing beach. Although the surf beach is closed on weekends and holidays, surfers still enjoyed their designated area during the first year.

At the close of the summer season, Beach Patrol Captain Butch Arbin reported an overwhelming success of the pilot program, noting no complaints.

“We have not had a single complaint from the public,” Arbin said. “For a pilot program, I would not have thought it would have brought this positive of a response.”

This week Arbin reinforced his earlier statements, recommending to the Recreation and Parks committee via letter that the program continue into its second year. “Last year’s pilot program was a tremendous success,” he said.

The committee agreed that with no complaints from the public and a smooth first year, the program was a success. The committee voted unanimously to continue with a second year of the pilot program. The designated Inlet beach area will reopen on May 27.

The two rotating surfing beaches will also return in the 2008 summer season. The rotating surfing beaches will pick up where they left off, opening on May 24 on 57th and 137th streets.