Let us sketch for you a typical summer day at the Jersey Shore: Fairly in-shape dude checks the waves, decides to paddle out, wraps a beach towel around his waist, and commences to change into trunks, all under the cover of said towel. Standing nearby is a fairly overweight, hairy Idude in a horrifying Speedo, looking quite uncomfortable and sweaty. Got it?
Now, if such a thing as the Fashion Police existed, there would be no question as to who gets the ticket. But, if you happen to be that surfer along the beaches of Long Beach Township this summer, where only the Long Beach Township Police Department holds court, chances are you're the sucker shelling out dough for an indecent exposure ticket while Unsightly Speedo Guy walks away scot-free in all his semi-bare ass glory.
"Residents in areas where surfers conjugate brought their concerns to the Township commission," says Long Beach Township Chief of Police Michael Bradley. "They said 'We'd rather not see people changing in towels' so the commission acted upon that. What's wrong with throwing your towel on the seat of your car and driving home anyway? That seems reasonable to me."
Reasonable? Maybe when it's the dead of winter and you live a few blocks away. But, people of all walks of life and locations are surfing these days and may not be very simple to just drive home. "I think the Ordinance is pretty useless," says Steve Mullen, of the Surfrider South Jersey chapter. " I mean if there are people getting naked in the streets, I can understand getting upset. But a surfer changing with a towel doesn't deserve to be threatened with a fine and sent to court."
Mullen, as well as most other respectful Jersey surfers rank this Ordinance right up there with other surfer-deterring legislative acts like closed beaches and expensive beach tags in the State. And just as there doesn't seem to be an end to the flow of furry, lardy dudes putting the "Dirty" in Jersey this summer, there doesn't seem to be an end to debilitating laws against surfing either. Watch your butts out there.