Surfers might soon be able to enjoy the ocean’s swells in more areas along North Myrtle Beach.
North Myrtle Beach City Council approved the first reading of an ordinance on Monday that would expand the areas people can surf along the beach. There are currently five surfing zones, which allow the activity between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from May 15 to Sept. 15.
Cherry Grove resident John Griffiths, a surfer who brought the issue to council, said the current surf zones are swarming with swimmers, causing a public safety issue along the shore. When the surf zones are too crowded, Griffiths said, he, along with other surfers, will try to surf in a less-populated area along the beach but is inevitably instructed to get out of the water due to the area being a no-surf zone.
Officials said they found additional areas on the beach with a lower population of beachgoers, making it safer for surfers to hit the ocean.
The current law restricts any person from riding a surfboard or skimboard on the public beach or any waters adjacent, with exceptions made at the Cherry Grove Pier, 13th Avenue South, 27th Avenue South, 38th Avenue South and 6th Avenue North.
An amendment to the ordinance would allow surfing beginning at Hog Inlet and ending at 5th Avenue North with the exception of 300 feet on either side of the Cherry Grove Pier, beginning at 6th Avenue South and ending at 27th Avenue South, and beginning at the Town of Atlantic Beach southern limit and ending at 46th Avenue South.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Councilman J.O. Baldwin said. “For safety reasons, this is a win-win.”
Officials also discussed placing signs along the beach indicating where surfing is not allowed.
City leaders are scheduled to vote on the ordinances second reading during their Oct. 7 meeting.