NEWPORT BEACH ( — A meeting held on Monday night may help settle a turf war over the surf at the Wedge in Newport Beach.

Since 1985, bodysurfers have had the famous spot to themselves a few hours daily from June 15 through Sept. 10. In 1993, the city council extended those dates to May 1 through Oct. 31. The rules were established to blackball surfers, boogieboarders and skimboarders from the water over safety concerns.

But on Monday night, a city panel called the Blackball Working Group, discussed a potential end to the regulations.

Supporters of both sides shared their stories and opinions, hoping to come to a fair, equal conclusion.

“Six months out of the year, for 20 years, seven hours a day defies all logic to me,” surfing photographer Diane Edmonds said.

Meanwhile, body surfers argued that the presence of full-length surfboards presents hazards and danger to swimmers when in the water.

An online petition has more than 1,500 signatures calling for the end of the regulations, allowing all water enthusiasts into the surf at any time.

“I say, bring the hours at the wedge back down to normal, because you’re causing extreme animosity,” surfer Bob Cook said.

Ideas from the meeting will be brought to the city’s Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission prior to a final recommendation to the Newport City Council.

The Wedge is considered one of the best spots in the world for waves, as swells can reach more than 20 feet.

A decision is not expected to be made until Spring of 2014.


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