Court Hands Down Ruling Marking Major Costal Access Victory for Surfrider Foundation
Justice Catherine A. Cahill in The Justice Court for the Town of East Hampton handed down her ruling on May 8 dismissing tickets against eight surfers who were ticketed last year while surfing at Montauk Point State Park, marking a major victory for the Surfrider Foundation and their mission to keep beach and wave access free and open for all people. Judge Cahill ruled that the law cited by the ticketing officers does not apply to surfing, clarifying that the prohibition of swimming at Montauk Point does not extend to surfing.
Kenneth Angiulo, Brian Luckey, Paul Biedrzycki, Christopher Greene, William Lucey, Brad McGill, David Providenti and Jeffrey Pressman, better known as the 'Montauk 8' were issued tickets last year by New York State Park police who cited them for violating Section 377.1(h) of New York Codes, which reads:
“The following activities are prohibited on property under the jurisdiction, custody and control of the office, except in areas specifically authorized and subject to such conditions as my be contained herein. (h) Swimming, diving, bathing or wading in swimming pools or other waters or walking upon frozen surface thereof.”
Joseph Giannini, a local surfer and attorney representing the 'Montauk 8' argued that the tickets should be dismissed on two grounds, one being that the charges cannot be upheld as the men were surfing rather than swimming, and that there is no legal restriction banning surfing in New York State.
“This is a great win,” says Giannini. “The victory opens up Montauk Point State Park to surfing – something we have been trying to do since 2002.”
The Surfrider Foundation’s Eastern Long Island Chapter is now calling upon the State Parks to remove the signs prohibiting surfing from Montauk Point and other local State Parks.