A potential rift between surfers and stand-up paddleboarders in Ventnor appears to have been healed in King Solomon fashion — the beach will be split down the middle.
An ordinance that would have prohibited stand-up paddleboards and bodyboards in the designated surfing area north of the Ventnor Pier was introduced at the June 14 Board of Commissioners meeting, leading to a number of paddleboarders registering their displeasure.
But following talks between the city and paddleboarders, Ventnor Beach Patrol Chief Stan Bergman said, a compromise was reached in which the designated surfing beach north of the pier would be divided.
Council still has to vote on the new version of the ordinance for it to go into effect.
From Derby Avenue to a designated mark on the beach about 100 yards down the beach — about a third of the surfing beach — paddleboarders would be able to enter the water, Bergman said, while surfers would use the area between that mark and the pier.
“The only place they can go in and out is that area there,” Bergman said, adding that stand-up paddleboarders can still go out further into the ocean beyond the beach as they can do now.
“At this time, it was the best solution they could come up with,” Bergman said.
Paddleboarder Petra Kanz, of Somers Point, said she would be satisfied by the split beach idea.
“I think a reasonable solution can be reached by a simple partition,” Kanz said. “Closer to the pier, the waves are steeper. ... And the other two (sand) bars have naturally slower waves, which suit stand-up paddleboarders anyway.”
Kanz had been concerned that paddleboarders were being relegated to the same beaches used by kayakers, which she said were different from boards in that they aren’t tethered.
“If someone is dumped from a kayak and the kayak is flushed all the way to the beach, it’s a pretty heavy missile,” she said. “Mixing another sport with that is not a good idea at all.”
Kanz did say that beginner paddleboarders should start in the bay before venturing to the ocean.
“It’s not as easy as people think,” Kanz said. “People can really get hurt in the waves.”
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