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Mar 18, 2014 9:29 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Village Moving Forward With Bidding Process For Village Surf School This Summer

Mar 19, 2014 9:56 AM

The Southampton Village Board still plans to allow a surf school to operate on its beaches this summer, pending a competitive bidding process that will start in the next few weeks.

Last week, Mayor Mark Epley said the board plans to place an advertisement seeking bids later this month. The bidding process will be the same as for the village-operated food concession stand at Coopers Beach.

This will be the second year the village operates a surf school after the Flying Point Surf School got the wave rolling last year, sparking controversy with beachfront property owners and local surfers who opposed the idea. They cited safety and crowding concerns at the end of Fowler Street, where the camp took place.

“We hope to have it finished mid- to end of April,” Mr. Epley said of the bidding, public hearing and selection process.

The Flying Point Surf School was first officially authorized to operate last July after a series of public hearings and years of operating on a smaller scale. After the business exploded, with locals estimating dozens of students at a time, the school was forced to apply to the Village Board for a permit to operate on a municipal beach. Because the application was heard after the summer started, the board opted not to put the inaugural year out to bid, and awarded the permit to the local business that had started the application process.

Flying Point is not guaranteed to retain the sole village permit this year, although business owner Shane Dyckman confirmed this week that he does plan to submit a bid for the upcoming summer. Last year, the business paid a $500 permit fee to the village.

“It will be business as usual,” Mr. Dyckman said in a phone interview about what he plans to do if he secures the bid for the second year. “We will be focusing on ocean rescuing, ocean swimming, paddling and beach cleanup.”

To date, Mr. Epley said no other businesses have expressed an interest in running the surf school, although an advertisement soliciting bids has not yet been placed.

The village surf school must follow several guidelines to operate, including operating only Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. through noon. The school may not have more than 20 students at any given time, and the school cannot give separate private lessons before, during or after the allotted time.

The school must also follow Suffolk County guidelines for a day summer camp for all of its activities, even though it does not qualify as a camp. A qualified lifeguard is required for every 25 students in the water, and all aquatic staff members are required to be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The selected surf school also cannot have signs on the beach at any time advertising the business or surfing sponsors.

To protect the village, the surf school must also file a comprehensive public liability insurance policy with at least $5 million in coverage for personal injury. The village will be named as an insured party on the policy, without contributing any money, and the village is to be protected from any claims, lawsuits, damage or attorney fees resulting from the camp.

Mr. Epley said it is unclear where the surf camp will take place this year. Last year, he said, the waves at the end of Fowler Street were not the best.

“I think what will happen is, since we have the one village vendor, we will have more ability to allow them to operate based on where the waves are better,” he said. “We will be able to allow them to go wherever for two hours a day in a period that is not really high in the traffic time frame for the surfers. It will give a better opportunity for kids to learn.”

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