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Long Beach OKs plan for swimmers, surfers

Surfers taking advantage of this summer like weather

Surfers taking advantage of this summer like weather on the rough shores of Long Beach in Long Beach, NY. (April 16, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

After weeks of public testimony from swimmers and surfers, Long Beach officials have approved a summer beach plan that aims to strike a balance between the two groups -- and keep both safer in the water.

Finalized Friday, the schedule places the Skudin Surf day camp on the beaches between Maple and Pacific boulevards and Long Beach and Riverside boulevards, answering the concerns of Ocean Club condominium residents who were irritated that the plan previously designated National Beach, directly in front of their building, as home to the bustling, all-day camp.

"If this comes to be, residents of the Ocean Club and nearby residents will lose much of the benefit of why we chose to buy and live where we do," Lorraine Nordlund, 55, said of the original plan at a March 20 City Council meeting.

Skudin Surf owner Cliff Skudin, 29, said he was happy to compromise.

"I think it's a positive thing for the community with how much surfing has grown," Skudin said. "We're going to work with the community and make everybody happy, that's the goal."

Long Beach officials said they needed a summer beach formula to keep the thousands of daily swimmers and hundreds of daily surfers separated for safety reasons. City Council president Fran Adelson said last month that Long Beach Surfer's Association president Billy Kupferman, City Manager Jack Schnirman and Chief of Lifeguards Paul Gillespie were collaborating on the plan.

In the final draft, beaches between Lincoln and Monroe boulevards and between Maple and Pacific boulevards will be solely for surfing this summer. Most beaches in central Long Beach and the West End will be on a rotating schedule for surfing, but surfing will be permitted at all beaches at the discretion of the lifeguard on duty, unless swimmers are present.

Kupferman called the plan a "fair and efficient use of space. Surfing is a tremendous asset for Long Beach, and it's great to see how the city has embraced it," he said.

The full surfing schedule is available on the city's website, longbeachny.org.

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