Above photo taken by Steve Domjan at the Bowl. Thank you Steve, you could have been sailing you

  • Above photo taken by Steve Domjan at the Bowl. Thank you Steve, you could have been sailing yourself instead of taking photos of me.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Sunday was a day filled with generosity

My Sunday was a day filled with generosity. And I wasn’t the generous one: I was the recipient.

I want to give a big THANKS to everyone who came out for the beach grass planting, and / or the beach clean up on Sunday.
The weather was less than ideal: so I really appreciate the effort with such short notice. I had this great idea… We encouraged everyone with kids to bring them to the grass planting. Sylvia, from Surfrider spent her Saturday digging through Surfrider CLI’s inventory of T-shirts. She dug up 50 or so size medium or smaller shirts. The Idea was to give them away to the first 50 kids who showed up to help on Sunday. We knew there would be news coverage…and the camera loves a cute kid in a Surfrider T-shirt at the beach. So while I was out enjoying a great day sailing Segue with Lauralee, my wife; Sylvia spent her day sorting through T-shirts, and driving up to my house to deliver them.

I had a long day Sunday. First I was up at
6:30 for a Dune Grass planting at Gilgo. The rain made the morning cold and miserable. But everyone was in good spirits. It was good to see LIBBA and Surfers working side by side. As usual Fishermen outnumbered Surfrider, LIBAG, Windsurfers, and Kiters 4 to 1. We managed to plant 12,000 grass shoots in under 3 hours.

BTW, News 12 Long Island didn't show up until after we were done planting grass on the West Gilgo dune.

Even the “Earth Day” Surfrider, Beach Clean up at noon, was under-attended. It was cold and wet. [My waterproof boots were soggy and cold.]

At 1:00 I was supposed to head on over to Ray’s for a LIBAG meeting and barbecue.

I didn’t.

I was already soaking wet; and the E NE breeze was filling in. Do I sail Demo? Or just sail from Gilgo. I spoke with Florian who arrived at about 12:30 with his two beautiful children in tow. He didn’t have his gear with him. But I offered to lend him my spare drysuit, and rig. He was thankful; but was really there to be with his kids.

I knew Pete was on his way. So I rigged a 6.9. [my biggest wave sail], and my RRD 110. The wind seemed a little “iffy”, so I considered my 125 ltr Angullo. But the swell was pretty big [waist to overhead high] and I stuck with the RRD.

I had some nice semi-down-the-line wave sailing. But was having a tough time staying upwind. Between the East wind, and side shore sweep, I kept ending up at least 1-200 yards downwind of my starting place. After dragging my gear back up the beach for the second time, Florian says “why don’t you do a Down Winder?” “Really” I said. “Sure, I’ll meet you at TOBAY in a half hour or so."

God I really want to THANK YOU Florian. You gave me the most generous gift I’ve had on a long time. I was then treated to one hour; and two and a half miles of pure DTL Wave Sailing. No fighting to stay upwind. Just pure; go with the flow Windsurfing. And it was glorious. Side, to side-off the whole time. Just me and the seals. By the time I reached TOBAY, I was exhausted, and there was Florian waiting. We loaded up my gear, and he drove me back to Gilgo.

This is going to be one of those sessions I will be re-living in my head for years. I owe it all to Florian. He and Brook introduced me to sailing Demo in a Nor Easter. [another one of those sessions I will be replaying in my head till the day I die].

I still made it to Ray’s at about 6 PM, for some post LIBAG steak, shrimp, and Pool.

Thank you Florian. We are definitely going to do that again; together, next time.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Beach Access, and the 4X4 issue

Cape Hatteras is in danger of losing it's 4X4 access again.
You can post your opinion on the mater at

I just did. Thank god, in Cape Hatteras, the fishermen, soccer moms and Surfers all work together. Here in NY; the fishermen seem to feel they are the only user group entitled to use the outer 4X4 beaches. This is an error, supported by a few vocal fishermen, who claim to speak for the rest of us. These fishing lobby's should work with, NOT against, all the other user groups.

The following is a letter I wrote to the Island Free Press Friday, April 4, 2008. The last time this issue came to a head; I believe it still rings true.


I packed my truck last night. This morning, my family and I will drive 12 hours to Cape Hatteras. We have been visiting Hatteras since the early 70’s. What I have always loved about the Outer Banks, is that I could do any thing there. My father shared his love of the ocean, sound, and marshes that are the cape’s barrier islands. My father is now retired to Cape Cod: I now live and work on Long Island. While we live in places that are similar to Cape Hatteras… They are still not that wonderfully special place where I learned how to play with its forces; [waves, wind, and, water]: Feed from its bounty: [fish, crab, and shellfish]; and stand in awe of its beauty. That’s why we keep coming back.
But if you ban four wheel drive access, you will make it impossible for me to share the same experience with my family that my father shared with me. Sure, you may need to limit or regulate 4X4 access. There are just too many SUV’s around today. But an outright ban is unnecessary! There are just too many of us who use 4X4 access responsibly who will be hurt in the process. We understand that the beach is a fragile and ever changing place, best accessed by foot, or by responsible four wheel access. The last thing you want is hard structures like roads and parking lots.
So, I will make my “pilgrimage” to the OBX today. I’ve already paid for my rental house. Because of this love for the Cape, we visit in the spring or fall. Any sunburned tourist can love the Cape in the summer…But we rent homes, and spend dollars when it is 50 degrees, 40 knots, and pouring rain. And we love it! Take away our access, and see how many of show up next season.

Postscript: Saturday April 24, 2010…

I am a member of Surfrider’s Central Long Island Chapter, The Long Island Beach Buggy Association, LIBBA, The North Shore Yacht Club, NSYC, the Long Island Beach Access Group, LIBAG, as well as an avid year round Waterman. I believe in 4X4 access not merely for convenience. Although that is part of it. [It is difficult to drag your family to the beaches I love, especially when some of your family are unable to walk one or two hundred yards. In one place I enjoy, the walk is over 2 miles].

I believe it is the flexibility of 4X4 access that makes it environmentally responsible. Barrier Islands are nothing more than shifting sand bars. They are constantly in motion. With responsible 4X4 access. you can better utilize the beaches they create and take away. If a certain area is eroding, or needs to be protected as a nursing or nesting area…you can simply close, or limit access to that beach. Temporarily; of course.

If you build “hard structures”: like buildings and roads: you are forced to engage in irresponsible dredge and fill operations, as well as poor beach management practices, like building bulkheads, and jetties. These practices do more harm than good. In many cases, they regressively use taxpayer money to subsidize, ie protect, some rich guys home, that should never have been built in the first place.

Tomorrow, I will attend a Dune Grass Planting at Gilgo beach in NY. As a 4X4 user, I fully support the closing of this, and other beaches to Off Road traffic right now. [Long Island beaches, where I live, took a real beating this winter.] So that is why I will be planting Dune Grass on Sunday. It will give the beach a fighting chance to replenish its self. And I will once again be able to drive on and access that beach at some point in the future.
It’s responsible 4X4 users like me; or some irresponsible rich guy with a million dollar home. You tell me what’s better for the Environment.

Thanks for listening,

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

dune grass planting

I am sending this to EVERYONE. I think we should make every effort to rally the troops. I would love to have this well represented by ALL Waterpersons.

Surfrider: since we are doing a beach clean up that day... Can we do an e_blast?

Windsurfers: get your asses down there.

Kiters: you too!

LIBAG: looks like we have a busy day ahead of us.

I suspect the fishermen are going to be there as well.

From: "Wintenberger, Elizabeth (LI)"
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 15:37:27 -0400
Subject: beach grass planting
To: "drysuit2@gmail.com"
Cc: "Agostinello, Ann Marie (LI)"

Hello Frank, Ron Foley gave me your contact information. We are
planning a volunteer effort to plant beach grass in the area at Gilgo
where fresh dunes have been constructed. The date of the event is
April 25, 2010 at 9 A.M. The meeting place is the Town of Babylon
parking field. Through State Parks and Save the Beaches we have
approximately 12,000 bare root plants to get in the ground.
Volunteers should bring a small spade to facilitate planting.
I apologize for the late notice. This date was establish a while ago
for another project but as you know this issue came arose and we feel
it must be addressed quickly. Any assistance your group can provide
will be greatly appreciated. Hope to see you Sunday. betsy

Elizabeth Wintenberger
Facility Manager
Robert Moses/ Captree State Parks

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dune Grass planting


Friday, April 9, 2010

This season is going to be interesting. The Beaches have changed so much. that many of the good fishing spots and surfing breaks have moved around.
With so little beach left; we are bound to get in each other’s way.
So all the little inside deals the State made with the local residents and the fishing community in the 30’s will start to be questioned. More of the “general” community will want to know why they can’t enjoy the same rights to the beach that the fishermen have. After all, they pay taxes too.
By accessing Demo through field 2, we have increased our visibility to the general public. They will ask.
Why can he drive his truck on that beach, but I can’t?
Why does he need a giant truck/camper to carry a few fishing poles to the water?
I just saw some surfers walk down there, and they were carrying their gear.
Why are they filling in the road to Demo with my taxpayer money when Jones WE2, RM3,& 4 are still closed?
More and more of us, who do more than just fish, will continue to question” why is it against the rules to simply have a surfboard in my truck? Especially if I not only possess all the proper fishing, and safety gear; but I am actually FISHING, on the FISHING BEACH. NOT SURFING.
I live on the north shore; so this has always bothered me. Why do I have to decide at 6 in the morning what activity I will engage in at 6 tonight, after work? Do I load my fishing, or surfing gear?
When I surf from the T/O Babylon Surfing beach; They don’t care that I have a fishing pole in my truck.
This is my opinion…I think the state can’t enforce the no surfing policy. They CAN make it illegal to carry a board in my truck. But can’t enforce the no surfing rule because it takes place bellow the High Tide Mark.
It all comes down to That often sited Colonial Law: “The Public Trust Doctrine”. It concerns "public rights of way", and a man's right to feed his family. This is why it is often quoted the Fishing Lobby. Some of these public rights of way go back 300 years.
It has also been stretched to include the right to recreate in the water. Though I doubt that Colonial Law anticipated surfing, recreational fishing, or driving on the beach.
So I will watch this year with great interest… if Sore Thumb and Gilgo remain closed, and DEMO is now open, only at night; it will be interesting to see how many “Fishermen” decide to carry their gear down to Demo.