Surfers, fishermen battle over choice spot along Volusia County beach



VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Volusia County residents will meet Monday night to talk about a controversial rule that limits where local surfers can catch a wave.

The rule prohibits surfing close to the Sunglow Pier, a popular spot for fishing.

County officials told Channel 9's Blaine Tolison that the meeting will be an attempt to seek a compromise between surfers and the fishermen.

Some see it as a battle over turf or surf battle over turf or surf.

"That's a large area to be excluded from, especially when that's where the best waves are," said professional surfer Shea Lopez.

"(The surfers) could get hooked, and obviously it could be dangerous to them," said fisherman Charlie Adams. 

Tuesday's meeting is the first in a series of public workshops where each side will get to make recommendations. Leaders said it's to help them come up with rules that would be reasonable for everyone.

"Enough is enough, you know.  I think compromise is what I'm looking for, and I think the council as well," said Josh Wagner, a Volusia County council member.

Surfers ultimately want to surf closer to Sunglow Pier. Many said they feel the 300 feet they're kept away now is too harsh. But the fishermen want no change at all.

Surfers have been banned from the water for breaking rules.

Lopez said he has had 6-ounce weights dropped near his head while surfing. He said anglers and surfers can get along.

"It's not a safety issue at all because there's a jetty at Ponce Inlet where thousands of surfers and fishermen have coexisted for years, and there are actually big rocks and nobody ever has an issue there," said Lopez.

Some of the ideas may include a smaller non-surfing zone or a pilot program where surfing would be allowed on one side of the pier and fishing on the other.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the Volusia County Lifeguard Headquarters at 515 S. Atlantic Ave. in Daytona Beach.

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