My family rented a house in Whalehead on the oceanfront the week of 8/11 – 8/18/2012. We purposely rented a house quite a few lots away from the public access because we like being away from crowds. Part of the joy of being oceanfront is enjoying the beach without having big groups “park” in front of you or all around you. The openness of the beach is one of the main reasons we go to Whalehead and we purposely stay away from the public accesses.
Halfway through our week, there was trouble in paradise. Corolla Surf Shop decided that the beach in front of our house and the house next to ours was the perfect spot for their surf lesson school. For the last three days of our vacation, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., the ocean and beach in front of our house was completely taken over by two dozen surf students and their many family members taking pictures and setting up camp.
I don’t mind sharing the beach and ocean with people who are thoughtful and have decent beach etiquette. But the surf school completely took over from the dune to beyond the breakers for at least 100 yards north and south. You could not get in the water in this area because the surf boards were everywhere and none of them had command of their boards. The family next to us had small children and the children could not even get in the edge of the water because of the boards. The surf student families came and set down in front of us and all around us – leaving their towels and stuff under our shade canopy and using our chairs if we weren’t in them at the time.
The surf instructors had great people skills. We know because we spent three days watching them. They could have easily handled this situation differently. At the very least, they could have reminded the students and families that they were just “borrowing” the nice location for a few hours, and to be considerate of the other beach goers. They could have moved a little farther north and had virtually no impact on existing beach goers. They could have worked with us and our neighbors a little bit to try and eased our frustration.
I understand that the surf school needs to be somewhere. I also understand that the Corolla Surf Shop is making good money from the students and they don’t care about our beach experience. I would not have minded one day of inconvenience. I could have made the most of the entertainment and gotten over it. But day after day after day was just too much. I would have discussed the situation with the lifeguards but it was obvious that the surf instructors and lifeguards were good friends. My solution would have been to move to a new spot each day. That way the frustration of the house renters is minimized, and the surf school can still get away from the busy public accesses.
The surf instructors could have tried various options but they just didn’t bother. They should be teaching beach and ocean etiquette along with their surfing.