As our coasts and ocean begin to open for recreation, the Surfrider Foundation is urging the public to continue to honor stay-at-home orders, practice physical distancing, and avoid any crowded public spaces, including coastal parks, beaches and surfing areas. Stay-at-home orders specifically allow for exercise as an essential activity. As such, Surfrider supports getting outside close to home and recreating responsibly for mental and physical well-being. We love the beach and surfing as much as anyone and we look forward to returning to the water in socially responsible ways.
Responsible access to our coasts and ocean requires two important elements. First, communities must have a plan to limit crowding and ensure responsible use. Second, coastal users must adhere to the rules. The Surfrider Foundation is advocating for both.
Cities, counties and states are currently opening their coasts to recreational access with new guidelines and rules focused on limiting crowds and physical distancing. Surfrider has been working in communities across the U.S. to help enact responsible plans. We have seen successful coastal recreation strategies in California and Hawaii that allow for active recreation only. If active recreation-only guidelines are in place, then surfing, swimming, paddling, jogging, walking, etc. are allowed but casual beach-going, sunbathing, picnicking, gathering in mass, etc. are not. This promotes safe and responsible ocean and coastal recreation and discourages large groups, while minimizing the potential for community spread.
If you are legally allowed to visit the beach in your area as a form of essential exercise, we urge you to follow all guidelines from public health authorities, as well as local regulations. Let’s all work together and recognize our shared role in keeping our beaches and surf spots open and safe. If not, we risk losing access to our favorite places to recreate.