Surfing and Beach Access during the peak of COVID-19

The Surfrider Foundation
Reprinted with permission from their blog, April 7, 2020
April 20, 2020

With more than 1 million cases of COVID-19 across the globe, over 15,000 deaths in the United States, and healthcare workers risking their lives every day, it has become clear that the best thing the public can do in the short term is to stay home and practice physical distancing to stop the spread of the virus and flatten the curve.

The Surfrider Foundation is urging people to stay home and to avoid any crowded public spaces, including beaches and surfing areas.

Unfortunately, we have seen surges in beach visitation around the country that are both irresponsible and a threat to public health, and which have, in turn, led to numerous closures.

Surfrider, long a champion of ocean recreation, surfing and beach access, believes it is our responsibility to discourage surfing and beach visitation at this critical time. This includes honoring these closures and avoiding crowded public open spaces. Through our #StayHomeShredLater effort, we are asking the surfing community to honor stay-at-home orders put in place by governors, local cities and coastal resources managers.

We believe that by honoring these requirements, we can protect the well-being of our fellow community members, be respectful of front line health workers and limit the impact of the virus so that we can get back to the beach and surfing as soon as possible.

As Surfrider members, we greatly enjoy the outdoors, particularly the beach and the ocean, which is why we’ve fought for decades to keep our beaches healthy and accessible, and will continue to do so. We believe nature should be a place of refuge for everyone. However, above all at this time, we believe in being responsible citizens acting to protect the health and safety of our community.

In response to the coronavirus crisis, public health experts have emphasized the importance of staying home, the necessity of physical distancing and have explained the dangers of crowding into any public spaces, including beaches. Surfrider therefore strongly encourages everyone to adhere to state and local laws and health department guidelines designed to protect our communities and prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes practicing physical distancing and accepting temporary closures of public resources, including libraries, parks and beaches.

Surfrider continues to be a staunch defender of public beach access rights; however, in these extraordinary times, extraordinary measures are needed to protect our health and livelihoods so we can, in due course, protect and enjoy our ocean, waves and beaches in the future.

Please stay home as much as possible, recreate with caution if you choose to, and learn more about potential transmission risks of COVID-19 and beach water quality.

We believe that honoring stay-at-home orders is the fastest way to crush the curve and get back to enjoying our ocean, waves and beaches as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so.