Miami Beach lawmakers re-examine surfing ban
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Surf's up for dozens of aficionados after some lawmakers agreed that it is time to quit enforcing an unusual ban.
Miami Beach commissioners stopped short of wiping the 1964 law off the books Wednesday, but the vote is a giant step in the right direction for many of those in the surfing community.
The ordinance went so far as to threaten jail time to those caught surfing north of Third Street. Still, the law remained mostly ignored. It called for anyone doing water sports to remain between south of Third Street and the pier at South Pointe Park. If they were caught north of that, they could either face a fine or face 30 days in jail.
When the law was recently enforced, outraged surfers descended on Miami Beach City Hall to demand commissioners re-consider the law. This was never an item on the agenda, however, officials heard out those that came to the meeting and sided with them. They immediately decided to suspend the enforcement of the ordinance.
That means surfers are now allowed to surf anywhere on the beach without fear of arrest. "I'm so happy that the mayor and the commissioners were on board with our opinion," said Michael Laas. "I just hope that they're just a little more progressive, they take the opportunity to update the ordinance to reflect the modernization of water sports."
Miami Beach commissioners said they plan to look at the ordinance again to either modify it or wipe it from the books altogether. "They're looking to us today to take action to resolve this and to restore their rights, as they have been surfing across Miami Beach," said Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Gongora to applause.
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