The growing popularity of surfing in the Rockaways has created a resurgence, attracting large beach crowds, fueling new businesses and generating other economic boosts.
But it has also made the two New York City-sanctioned surfing beaches, near Beach 90th and Beach 67th Streets in Queens, packed with wave seekers.
“Surfing has completely exploded, and we’re jammed into small areas,” said Conrad Karl, a local surfer and restaurateur. “We need to spread out a little bit. It would be safer.”
Calling the crowded lineups of surfers potentially dangerous, many surfers are pushing for a new or expanded surfing area, specifically along a stretch from Beach 66th Street to Beach 60th, an area that Mr. Karl calls “basically dead, going to waste” since it is closed to both swimming and surfing.
But, as it happens, the surfers’ campaign has collided with another explosion in the area: the infusion of hundreds of new residents into the vast Arverne by the Sea development along that same stretch of beach.
Many of its residents also want those beaches opened, but for swimming. The problem is that city officials forbid swimming and surfing in the same area, because swimmers and surfers could collide.