2002-08-10 / Letters

Lifeguard /Surfer Speaks Out

Lifeguard /Surfer Speaks Out

I am 16 years old and have been living and surfing in Rockaway my whole life. I am also a NYC lifeguard. About a week ago I was surfing at around 7:30PM when a moron PEP officer on an ATV drives up with a bull horn and tells me to get out of the water because the cops are on there way. He told me I couldn’t surf when lifeguards are not on duty. I told him I was a lifeguard and I am not allowed to surf while I am on duty. I am positive that I am not the only surfing lifeguard with this problem. The city insists on stopping us for surfing because it is against the rules? This rule was never enforced before.  These rules are going to end up killing someone. At least one time for the last three summers I have pulled a DFD (down for the day person) out of the water while I was surfing after hours. Surfers save lives while lifeguards are not on duty. So if the city begins ticketing us we simply won't be there to help. A large percentage of surfers are lifeguards, firemen, and police. The rest are local Rockaway kids who grew up in the ocean and know how to handle its force. When was the last time a Rockaway kid has drowned? We are good swimmers we know how to get in and out of heavy surf safely and easily. So I think the city should take a look at who they are giving tickets to.  There are other ways to approach this problem. How about permits? How about designating 24 hour surfing beaches every five blocks, because out of the 7 and a half miles of beach there is one block designated to surf on!

SCOTT BLUTSTEIN
     


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