‘No Surfing’ Signs Come Down At Flagship

As reported by Leigh Jones on GalveNews.com

July 2, 2008: GALVESTON — Never try to separate a surfer from the swell.

Managers at the Flagship Hotel discovered this weekend just how motivated and vocal the typically laid-back beach bums can be when their wave time is threatened.

Surfers who arrived on Friday afternoon at the island’s most popular wave-riding spot, west of the Flagship, discovered a big white sign with blue lettering announcing, “No surfing within 300 feet of the pier.”

The sign cited a section of the city code and warned that surfers were not allowed on the pier.

Longtime surfer Bill “Billyblues” Hill posted a picture of the sign on his Web site, g-townsurf.com, and within hours, the hotel had received so many calls from angry wave-riders that managers were anxious to make peace, Hill said.

“They were very cooperative,” he said. “They asked me to put out the fact that they didn’t want people parking their cars on their pier or jumping off the pier. We posted those (on the Web site) and they pulled the sign down.”

Although the hotel removed the sign, it did not put it up, said Manager Annabelle Dupont.

The manager of the fishing pier south of the hotel put up the sign, Dupont said. It was obviously the wrong thing to do, since it upset so many people, she said.

A man who answered the phone at the fishing pier on Tuesday but declined to give his name said he put the signs up because people were jumping off the pier right near the fisherman. Having surfers too close to people fishing was dangerous and he didn’t want anyone to get hurt, he said.

The sign skirmish is just the latest incident in the long-running fight between surfers and fisherman over the spot both groups cherish.

Some surfers jump off the pier to get access to deeper water they might not be able to paddle out to from shore. And fishermen have reportedly been seen throwing weights at the surfers in the water below them, Hill said.

Working as peacemaker, Hill said he hoped to keep tempers on both sides from escalating.

But surfers will still be forced to look at two “no surfing” signs displayed on the south end of the pier, which can only be seen from the water, Hill said. Their best consolation is the signs are meaningless.

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