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Long Beach renews surfing school contracts, increases fees

Isabelle DePalma, 7, of Lido Beach, feels the

Isabelle DePalma, 7, of Lido Beach, feels the thrill of surfing with the help of instructor Cliff Skudin at the beach in Long Beach on Wednesday, July 2, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Long Beach has renewed contracts for two surfing schools to operate on the beach for the next five years and increased their fees.

The approvals are part of the city's preparation for New York Surf Week events this month. City officials are looking to expand and promote surfing and tourism through the schools and the annual competition, which draws some of the country's top wave riders.

Renewed contracts with Skudin Surf School, a longtime presence on the city beach, and the Surf2Live school, begin in October.

Skudin will continue to operate on the beach in front of the vacant Superblock development site, and away from apartments, under an agreement reached with residents two years ago. Surf2Live operates its classes on the east end of Long Beach at Pacific Boulevard and Shore Road.

Under the new contracts, approved last month, Skudin will pay the city $6,000 annually, with a $200 increase each year, plus sanitation fees for surfing, paddle board instruction, equipment rental and liability insurance. Skudin last year paid the city a one-year fee of $2,500 plus the additional fees. Surf2Live will pay the city $3,200 per year with an annual increase of $100 and fees for surf instruction. The city has the option to renew the contracts for five more years.

"It's important to teach kids about water safety and how to be safe in the water," City Councilman Anthony Eramo said of the schools. "As they learn at a young age, they'll spend their whole lives surfing in the ocean."

Residents have praised the schools' presence in the community but asked the City Council to maintain beaches for general use. City officials and the surf schools have agreed to keep surf camps and Surf Week in front of open areas, rather than in front of residential buildings.

Some residents had complained about noise from last year's Surf Week, which set up speakers near the Ocean Club condominiums. Residents said the all-day noise was too close to their homes.

This year's Surf Week -- to be held July 16-20 -- has been moved next door, in front of the Allegria Hotel, said Cliff Skudin, 32, whose family has run the school for three generations.

Surf Week 2014, the fifth annual event, includes a surfing contest, skate contest, art show, movie premiere and parties, according to the website of NYsea, which manages the program.

Complaints about noise from surfing camps and classes led to a 2012 agreement among the city, Skudin and residents for Skudin's school to operate in front of the vacant Superblock off Long Beach Boulevard. The school hosts about 100 students daily during the summer's 10-week surfing day camp.

Although the city wants to promote surfing, Eramo said he didn't know if it could expand its efforts to include more schools on the beach. "It's good for surfers to visit our city," Eramo said. "It's a balancing act -- taking care of our residents, and inviting and welcoming visitors."

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