Seeking to avoid $62 fine, surfers use secret beach access points cops can’t touch |
Seacoast Online, HAMPTON, N.H. – While the beaches were closed Saturday by order of the governor to prevent the spread of coronavirus, some surfers were still enjoying waves off New Hampshire’s coast in the days that followed.
Carter Walsh, 25, said he walked down to a point break in Hampton Monday night to find some surfers in the water.
He preferred not to share where to prevent “everyone flooding the spot,” but he planned to return with his board the next morning.
“Surfing it tomorrow at first light,” said Walsh, who planned to walk down to the spot which is 10 minutes away.
Amidst the pandemic as health officials encourage social distancing to stop the spread, some surfers say they should be able to keep going to their favorite surf spots, many of which are accessed through rocks and not the beaches.
“They’re not taking other exercises like walking on the beach,” said Walsh, who has no concerns about staying 6 feet away from others while surfing. “Surfing is the same exact thing.”
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Gov. Chris Sununu gave an order March 26 that people remain at home unless “absolutely necessary” through May 4, joining other states in similar measures to stop the spread of the virus.
The ban included closing the state beaches, which include Hampton Beach State Park and North Beach, at midnight March 27.
New Hampshire State Parks spokesman Brent Wucher said whether surfers can still find ways to get to their waves without parking in the closed lots or walking on the sand will be up to local police.
If the rocks are part of the beach, Hampton Police Chief Richard Sawyer said surfers would be in violation.
He said Tuesday that officers would be directing surfers to get out of the water if spotted.
Rye Police Chief Kevin Walsh, whose town draws surfers to its beaches and secret spots, said his department is discouraging all surfers from trying to get into the water while health officials urge the public to stay home.
He said his department has the power to ticket people parked illegally along the road while surfing, but he hopes surfers will stay home on their own and not seek loopholes to get in the water … Read more.