Boarders to Protest at Miami Beach City Hall

Water sporters say board ordinance being unfairly enforced

Surfers and paddleboarders in Miami Beach are taking on city hall over what they say is the unfair enforcement of a longtime city ordinance.

Water sport lovers will be protesting at Miami Beach City Hall Wednesday over the ordinance which doesn't allow the use of surf, paddle or kite boards north of 3rd Street.

City officials had been getting complaints about kite surfing and paddle boarding on the beach and began actively enforcing the activity, said city spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez. She said boarders are allowed in nonrestricted swimming areas.

Jesse Bull, chair of the Miami Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, said the 1964 ordinance is outdated and that the city may have started enforcing it in response to an incident between a jogger and a kiteboarder.

"We've been told that there was a complaint by a jogger who thought a kiteboarder got too close to him, and if that's the case, that's a legitimate concern," Bull said. "But I don't think that's a concern that suggests we should just ban the use of those kinds of equipment.

"To just blanketly say because we had this one incident we're going to ban everyone from every area to me is just not the right approach."

The city released a statement Tuesday, saying they may look for additional areas to allow the use of the boards.

"The City of Miami Beach has not passed any new legislation, nor is any currently pending, regarding further restricting the use of boards (surf, paddle, kite) beyond the current restrictions that exist in the city code," Miami Beach spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez said in the statement. "We have responded to complaints received about illegal watersports concessions on our beaches, as well as the use of certain types of watersports equipment that is permitted only in a particular area of the beach."

The protest is planned for 4:30 p.m.

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