(May 26, 2023) As winter has turned to spring these last few months, surfers have been able to enjoy the offseason in relatively more mild conditions.
By this I mean water temperatures in the 50s and air temperatures in the 50s and 60s.
Make no mistake, these are still cold conditions, just not as cold as the winter months when water and air are generally in the 40s.
Thus, some of the thicker, heavier wetsuit gear can be shed in favor of lighter gear and assuming that ridable surf is present, some fun can be had.
The town is still generally “open” with minimal traffic, available parking and no restrictions.
Restrictions?!?! Whadaya mean?
Well, boys and girls, surfing restrictions will come into force on the fast approaching Memorial Day Weekend.
At that time, surfing will not be allowed after 10 a.m. and before 5:30 p.m. in the town of Ocean City.
There are some exceptions to these restrictions.
Beaches are available everyday that are set aside for surfing, one in the north part of town and one in the south part of town. These rotate everyday.
In addition to these two beaches, a significant portion of the beach area between the inlet and the pier is available for surfing on weekdays.
The enforcement for these restrictions has traditionally been the Ocean City Beach Patrol (OCBP).
Many of the OCBP are surfers themselves and if you find yourself being called out of the water it’s best to obey the signals which will be blasts of a whistle and flag signals alerting the surfer in the water that the 10 a.m. hour has arrived.
For many surfers, the first reaction is one of resentment and disdain for the lifeguard or Surf Rescue Technician (SRT) as they are known.
Basically, they are just doing their job and none of their signals or commands are personal or mean spirited.
In truth, the SRTs most probably have just as much regard and attraction to the ocean as surfers do.
As an addition to the relatively small one block surf beaches that the town allows, the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) has been successful in an appeal to widen these surf beaches when the surf is good and demand is high.
This is a good step toward a goal of less restriction for surfing during daytime in OCMD’s most populated season.
Slowly but surely the town of OCMD is realizing that surfing brings people to the area and is just as important to the economy as any other group of people.
As an aside, though one of great significance, we have Assateague Island to the south and Indian River Inlet to the north.
These areas have little or no restriction and we are quite blessed to have them.
Assateague Island especially is wide open with miles and miles of beaches with no development aside from showers, toilet facilities and a concession in the State Park.
The Island does have a State section and a Federal section and yes there are admission fees, but well worth the price. Camping facilities are also available.
So there you have it. Another phase, another season in the ongoing, everyday activities of OCMD.
— Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop in Ocean City.