The Laguna Beach City Council on Tuesday night will take up the topic of regulating stand-up paddleboarding classes on city beaches.
With the sport's increasing popularity, this has apparently become a problem, particularly with private, non-Laguna Beach-based companies and individuals that offer instruction for newbie SUPers, as well as kayakers and surfers. Four businesses in town are seeking some sort of government regulation to deal with the influx of classes and crowds.
Rod Greenup of Costa Azul, Jason Watson of Laguna Surf & Sport, Billy Fried of La Vida Laguna and Tommy Donnelly of SUP Company sent a letter to the City Council in November requesting action from the city.
"Because of the surge in paddleboarding, and the city's lack of a permit process, many new companies have sprouted on our beaches, creating an intensification of use, and a stress on the system," their letter read. "We fear for the safety and security of our respective businesses, as well as Marine safety's ability to monitor it. It's just too easy to set up a business here without an investment in training, safety, insurance, and our town. All you need is a van and some boards. One mishap and we are all guilty by association. Plus we are getting more flak from the locals who don't like to see such intensification. We know of at least 8 companies who conduct business on our beaches and pay no property or business tax for the privilege. Several of them don't even live here, though they park their graphic vans here - for free. This is not only unsightly; it's also unfair to those of us with significantly larger investments in the city."
The four also offer up some possible solutions, such as requiring permits, or passing a law that says any company or person that offers SUP instructions also have a brick-and-mortar business in town.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19.
For Tuesday night's complete City Council agenda, click here. To watch the meeting live on the Internet, click here. And to read the agenda bill that proposes regulating commercial SUP instruction in the city, click the PDF file in the box on the right.