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Aug 9, 2016 3:39 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Surfers Angered By Surf Lessons At Ditch Plains Beach In Montauk

Instructors teach clients how to surf at Ditch Plains Beach on Tuesday. KYRIL BROMLEY
Aug 9, 2016 3:51 PM

Regular surfers at Montauk’s famed Ditch Plains beach are angry over surf camp operators who have, they say, clogged up the renowned break with their students and instructors and created unsafe conditions for beachgoers and other surfers.

Two dozen surfers, some of whom said they’d been surfing at Ditch since the 1970s, told the Town Board on Tuesday morning that one surf company in particular has caused much consternation with the local wave riders because of what they are guessing is an abuse of the permit they were granted by the town.

The Town Board scheduled a special public meeting for this morning, August 10, at 11 a.m. to review the permit issued to CoreysWave, a Montauk-based surf lesson company. The company received a permit from the board in April 2015 and again this past spring to operate out of the easternmost parking lot at Ditch Plains, commonly referred to as “dirt lot.”

The permit allows for up to 25 people, but a letter to the town attached to the application from an attorney for the company said that surf lesson groups would contain only a maximum of five people. But the irritated surfers said the groups have been much larger.

“These people are coming down and taking over the beach,” said George Drago, a Ditch Plains veteran surfer. “They’re creating an unsafe condition, they’re belligerent.”

Mr. Drago and others said the safety concern is over the instructors pushing their students’ boards as they enter a wave to give them a burst of speed. The practice is dangerous, several people have said. He also said the instructors have taken to “hustling” surf lessons from beachgoers on the sand and in the parking lot.

Board members said that if the company was found to have overstepped the bounds of its permits, they would take action to revoke them.

“To me, this is about an operator who is interfering with the use of a public beach,” Supervisor Larry Cantwell said. “It’s a public beach and we have a responsibility to ensure the public’s use of it.”

Shortly after Tuesday’s meeting adjourned, as many as three different groups appeared to be staging for surf lessons at the Ditch Plains dirt lot, with at least one more at one of the western lots.

Town Clerk Carole Brennan said that two companies have been issued permits to give surf lessons at Ditch Plains, CoreysWave at the eastern lot and Air & Speed at the western. MBX Surf Camp has permits to use Dolphin Drive, Marine Boulevard and Beach Lane. A company called Montauk Boardriders had a truck advertising a surf camp parked in the front spot at the easternmost Ditch Plains lot on Tuesday afternoon as well. Ms. Brennan said the company has no permit from the town.

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Surf Lesson people aren't just sharing the love of surfing. They basically prostitute surfing for monetary gain. Go find a real job. Finally a group is making a stand.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 16 3:55 PM
Same issues in Southampton and Hampton Bays......
The surfers are their own worst enemies, it seems.
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Aug 9, 16 4:35 PM
2 members liked this comment
"the surfers are their own worst enemies.."? the pimps "teaching" lessons are the enemy...get the story straight...in Southampton these clowns are still operating anywhere they want...no one is stopping them...it is a joke
By GO HOME (7), Southampton on Aug 9, 16 4:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
Wait a minute, I can surf here and possible learn to surf here, but you cant?. Doesn't violate some surfing code? I mean really you should help increase th elove of the water. Its there for everyone
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Aug 9, 16 5:03 PM
2 members liked this comment
Elitist lefty environmental liberals want it all to themselves.
By Babyboo (293), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 16 6:40 PM
Get Pappas down there. Dang Tyler still giving Johnny Utah lessons
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Aug 9, 16 8:36 PM
Look at it! It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, man! Let me go out there and let me get one wave, just one wave before you take me in. I mean, come on man, where I am I gonna go? Cliffs on both sides! I'm not gonna paddle my way to New Zealand! Come on, compadre. Come on!
By joeg (31), Hampton Bays on Aug 10, 16 8:16 AM
We need more new surfers like we need more condos
We dont.
By dave h (193), calverton on Aug 9, 16 10:10 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 9, 16 10:18 PM
This guy is not a local. He didn't pay his dues to start teaching lessons and crowding the breaks. The purity might already be gone but it's different from a person who grabs a board, wakes up early, surfs all conditions, and earns it. Surfing is a weird sport, lots of I'm better than you but you don't even get respect coming out of a surf camp. That's why these surf instructors are pimping what it's all about. Selling the soul for a buck.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Aug 9, 16 11:08 PM
Give me a break.
By razza5350 (1911), East Hampton on Aug 10, 16 7:31 AM
You obviously don't surf.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Aug 10, 16 9:38 AM
Razza - I'd give you one but the only good break is at Ditch!
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Aug 10, 16 12:40 PM
Commercial business' should not be allowed on the beaches!!!! Southampton allowed this at the picnic area and its turned the beach into a s*** show . This once quite gem for the locals to rest an enjoy some down time will never be the same because of the Surf School.

By toes in the water (884), southampton on Aug 10, 16 7:34 AM
I'm not a surfer but I wound have thought the instructor / company would want to teach new surfers at an empty beach so there are less people to potentially interfere with or possibly injure with a surf board.
By Rich Morey (378), East Hampton on Aug 10, 16 9:10 AM
2 members liked this comment
Even as a non surfer you get it.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Aug 10, 16 9:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
Maybe it generates too much parking ticket revenue
By dave h (193), calverton on Aug 10, 16 10:28 AM
So only local surfers who've paid their dues get to teach younger generations how to surf? Or are the beaches the exclusive right of those who've surfed there since the 70's? Seriously?? I've surfed Ditch & every other beach since the 70's and I'm both embarrassed and disgusted by the attitude of these so called local surfers. Paid their dues? Go screw yourselves! You are no better than the rich folks who want to keep us off the beaches their houses sit on. So we have a few months of surf camps. ...more
By G (342), Southampton on Aug 10, 16 2:11 PM
3 members liked this comment
Sounds like you need some surf lessons old timer.
By lirider (288), Hampton Bays on Aug 14, 16 1:57 AM
For a bunch of pot heads, you surfers have more rules, regulations, unwritten laws, traditions, inside information, hidden spots, secret breaks, snarky labels, secret hand signals, silly phrases,systems of social division, opinions and complaints.

Gee, I gotta try it some day, it sounds so relaxing and cool...
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Aug 14, 16 5:46 AM
You didn't know?? The surfers in Montauk (locals) are God's gift to the rest of us. In fact, it's their beach, their ocean, their sun, their waves. If we ask, really nicely, we may be able to rent a piece of the ocean from the rest of them, but just for a little while.
By Bayman1 (297), Sag Harbor on Aug 12, 16 8:12 PM
1 member liked this comment
Newbies are not necessarily going out into the line up when its overhead. Still, theres a protocol and etiquette about not dropping in on someones wave. Hopefully the instruction involves some of that, aside from the basic fundamentals. ...Whats upsetting most to many of thecritics is that the 'out of towners' have not only Hamptonized the land, they're making their unwelcome mark on the waters too. Every been out on a boat lately? They drive their watertoys as horribly as they do their luxury cars.
By Harbor Master (114), Sag Harbor on Aug 14, 16 8:45 AM
2 members liked this comment
Since when does our local government have the right to lease or award any part of our beaches, or any other area not zoned as such, to commercial enterprise? What is that???
By beachplum (6), southampton on Aug 14, 16 1:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
Since... always? They can lease public parkland to uses generally associated with parklands. It's no different then the Ditch Witch leasing a spot in the parking lot. They're not leasing the water - they're just letting a commercial enterprise operate on Town land (which doesn't prevent others from using the land/beach - it just annoys the entitled surfers)
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Aug 15, 16 7:57 AM
This would probably be a good time for surfers to provide a list of any other parts of the eastern seaboard they would like to claim as their own?
By SlimeAlive (1181), Southampton on Aug 15, 16 7:32 AM
Better to learn how to surf and have fun in the water, how to use a rip to your advantage then to drown. East Hampton has had several drownings these past years because people get pulled out by a wave and panic. Surfers get pulled out by a wave and think that is the easy way to get out to the break.

I just don't see how pushing a kid into a wave creates dangerous conditions. Mostly these are two footers you are arguing over. Kids don't go out in overhead conditions or hurricanes. Neither ...more
By AL (83), southampton on Aug 16, 16 4:08 PM
spread out for crissake
By scalloper (17), quogue on Aug 17, 16 12:02 PM
Surf lessons are a good thing , in the correct location, a location that does not infringe on the use of a break by other surfers .
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Aug 17, 16 2:56 PM
2 members liked this comment
Its a TOTAL SELLOUT of our beaches and waves. Disgusting. I started surfing in Southampton in the 1990s - and there was just 3 of us out in the water.....no surf schools, no city people .....
By victoria (7), southampton on Aug 18, 16 2:27 AM
2 members liked this comment
Seriously sad overuse of the beach. More people do not surf than do and should not have to walk out of their way for a swim - and places traditionally not used for surfing have become overrun with surfers - Like the picnic area or Old Town beach - What about surfing and non-surfing beaches? Then people would have a choice. Is that really much too much to ask for Southampton to initiate? Maybe so since Native Americans are not even allowed to use the beaches AT ALL - Southampton is still in the ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Aug 18, 16 10:56 PM