By CAROL GORGA WILLIAMS
The response is a “resounding no” to the Surfrider Foundation’s request that Asbury Park consider creating a second surfing only beach south of the Casino building on the boardwalk.
“The primary reason is safety,” said Mayor John B. Moor who along with Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn questioned why Bradley Beach didn’t create its own second beach area designated for surfing, considering the request to Asbury Park came from Bradley Beach Councilman John Weber who is the northeast regional manager for Surfrider, overseeing nine chapters over five states.
Moor initially heard they discussed scheduling a meeting to discuss their differences but Moor does not see the effect of meeting since Asbury Park is definitive in its opposition.
Bradley Beach could consider adding to its surfing which is permitted on the beach at the tip of Third Avenue, Asbury Park officials said.
Asbury Park officials said there are safety issues at the southend area of the beachfront.
“The main concern is the outfall pipe that experienced surfers know is there,” Moor said while surfers noted the outfall pipe is elevated, near a jetty and visible in all tides.
But for surfing newcomers to the beach, the liability for the city adds up, the mayor said.
“If someone from Paramus gives that beach a try for the first time and hits his head, we are looking at a multi-million-dollar lawsuit,” Moor said.
Surfrider is a welcome charity in the city and helps sponsor Family Fun Day in the city where beach fees are waived and children – drawn primarily from the city’s west side – can enjoy free introductory surfing lessons from some time as many as 50 Surfrider volunteer teachers. Moor calls it “one of the best days in the city.”
“It is just on this one issue we disagree,” the mayor said.
A Surfrider member explained that as a result of beach replenishment projects, surfing in many towns south of Asbury Park is no longer allowed.
Ocean Grove does have a surfing-only beach but according to local ordinances, it can move depending on surf conditions, according to the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.
“I would love to see it opened to surfing,” said Diana Petitr of Sunset Avenue, a Surfrider volunteer who helps coordinate Family Day. She noted that towns like Long Branch and Spring Lake have two beaches – one devoted to a surfing school for beginners and one for veteran surfers.
Moor said it isn’t as if some people in Asbury Park government are on the fence about approving surfing there.
“It was 100 percent ,” Moor said. “Nobody in the city is for it. This came up two years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago. The answer always is the same.”
He said it is not prudent to overlook the opinions of the city’s safety director and other beach employees who warn against using that beach for surfing.
Further, Moor said. if the beach were opened to surfing, the city would have to hire lifeguards, which is not so easy considering the city had difficulty this year in finding enough lifeguard applicants to cover the portions of the mile-long coast where bathing is permitted.