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Sunday, January 25, 2015
Guest Column
With Quiksilver Pro N.Y., Long Beach finds its identity
Cancellation of Quiksilver fest hurt merchants, but contest illustrated city’s character
By Roy Lester
A surfer observed the waves during the Quik Pro N.Y. in Long Beach last week.

Congratulations Long Beach, it looks like you finally have found your identity. For many years, it appeared that Long Beach could not decide if it wanted to be a Coney Island or a Point Lookout.

On one hand, a portion of the town wanted to welcome the tourists and the business that they bring, and on the other, there were those residents who had no use for outsiders, the parking spaces that they take up and the noise that they bring. Given that divide, the concept of an international surfing contest such as the Quiksilver Pro New York and the ensuing hoopla seemed like a bold concept. Ultimately, a decision by the city to host the event was made, albeit one that appears to have been made in secret and with virtually no public input or even a contract.

The reason given for Quiksilver’s Sept. 1-15 time period and location was that it was meant to coincide with hurricane season that could generate ideal waves necessary for such a contest — and Mother Nature did not disappoint. After all, Surfline forecasters, using a 15-year wave study for western Long Island, summarized that September is one of the most consistent time periods for sizable surf in the region.

Perhaps the prediction was ominous, and why it was such a shock and surprise to many people that a hurricane actually came is still a mystery to me. Nevertheless, most Long Beach residents decided to weather the storm when Hurricane Irene hit. And though Irene rolled into Long Beach at peak high tide — with a new moon that created a storm surge — by noon on Aug. 28, hundreds of locals were milling about on the boardwalk, checking out the waves, observing the uprooted Lifeguard Headquarters and talking about the storm’s impact.

While it’s true that numerous homes were flooded and damaged, and there were people without electricity for days, I have yet to hear of a single person expressing a desire to move out of Long Beach because of the storm. Residents, in typical fashion, took the hurricane in stride. After all, we had invited the world into our town for an event that began a week later, and we aren't the type to let some saltwater get in the way of our hospitality.

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Couldn't have said it better!

Thursday, September 15, 2011 | Report this
ShaunSea

While I agree with almost everything here - this section is counter to what I've heard first-hand

"Unfortunately, the contest was not as kind to our local merchants. From most reports, the merchants gained nothing from the crowds, who were mostly concentrated around Quiksilver's surf site and merchandise tent on the beach and the boardwalk."

The LB Chamber of Commerce has been making all sorts of claims about business loses, but hasn't substantiated the numbers with anything. Whereas when I've talked directly to business owners in the area, they said they did very well.

http://www.seabythecity.com/?p=6741

Beyond that, totally agree

Monday, September 19, 2011 | Report this
CharlesTheofan

Mr. Lester glosses over the fact, as he states that there "were people without electricity for days." On Monday August 29th there were 4,200 residences and businesses without power. LIPA was telling customers that they could not reasonably expect to have power until the following Sunday. Many of those without power had flooded basements and refrigerators full of rotting food. The bathrooms on the beach were not functioning, and our Ocean Beach Park suffered extensive damage. For those reasons I was compelled to cancel the festival, and only the festival. Mr. Lester is incorrect in stating that public outcry convinced the City to go forward with the surfing event. The surfing event was never in jeopardy.

Leadership means having to make tough decisions, I'm sorry if some people were disappointed but concerns for public health and public safety have priority. Hopefully Mr. Lester will catch the Flaming Lips at another venue.

Charles T. Theofan, City Manager

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 | Report this
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