Flying Point Surf School Approved For Second Year As Village Choice

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The Southampton Village Board chose the Flying Point Surf School as the official village surf school, allowing it to operate on village beaches for the second summer in a row.

Village trustees approved the appointment last week and, according to Village Mayor Mark Epley, Flying Point was the only surf school to apply for the position. With Flying Point as the only bidder, the village accepted the offer, and the school will be allowed to operate this summer after posting a $2,500 permit fee.

This week, Mr. Epley said he is happy that the business will return this summer, noting that it is a good way to teach children proper safety techniques when swimming in ocean water.

“It is a great service to the community,” he said. “A lot of people enjoyed it, and I hope they have another successful year.”

As winner of the bid, the surf school will be the only one authorized to operate on village beaches this summer. The business was first authorized last summer after a series of hearings in July.

After years of operating on a smaller scale within the village, business exploded last year for the surf school, with locals estimating there were dozens of students at a time in the water and on the beach, making it necessary to apply to the village for a permit.

Because the application was heard after the summer started, the board opted not to put the inaugural year out to bid, and awarded the permit to the local business that had started the application process.

In order to operate, the village surf school must follow several guidelines, including limited hours on Monday through Friday from from 9 a.m. to noon, and no hours on the weekends. The school may not have more than 20 students at any given time, and the school cannot give separate private lessons before, during or after the allotted time.

At the same time, the school must follow Suffolk County guidelines for a day summer camp for all classes, even though it does not officially qualify as a camp. That means a qualified lifeguard is required for every 25 students in the water, and all aquatic staff members are required to be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Advertising for the surf school is prohibited on the village beaches, and the surf school must file a comprehensive public liability insurance policy with at least $5 million in coverage for personal injury. The village will be named as an insured party on the policy, without contributing any money, and the village is to be protected from any claims, lawsuits, damage or attorney fees resulting from the camp.

A location for the surf school has not yet been determined by the Village Board.

Potential Hazard?

Also last week, the village discussed the need to demolish the deteriorating Doescher house, a village-owned structure off Lake Agawam, adjacent to Agawam Park. According to Mr. Epley, the house is in poor condition, and teenagers have been breaking into the property. At the same time, he said, animals have been living, and dying, in the structure, making it a potential hazard.

The village, Mr. Epley said, acquired the house nine years ago using Community Preservation Fund money, with the idea of renovating the house for village use. However, he said, the tight restrictions on what a CPF property can be used for, as well as tight economic times, have prevented the village from carrying out the plan. Now, he said, demolishing the structure and creating an open space park is the best plan.

“The police department said there were some kids who had broken into it, and we are concerned about safety,” Mr. Epley said. “If someone gets injured on site, it can be a real problem. We don’t want to have it turn into something like that.”

Currently, the village is researching how much it will cost to remove the building before consulting with CPF officials.

“With open space, there are a lot of things you can do there,” he said. “We were talking about bocce courts, opening up the wall and expanding the children’s playground area—there are a lot of different things like that we can try.”

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