Isle of Palms considers allowing surf lessons on beach

ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) - After years of requests from surf companies, Isle of Palms may soon allow businesses to offer surf lessons on the city’s beach.

During the Isle of Palms City Council meeting in February, council members heard from a local business owner who asked to offer surf lessons at Isle of Palms.

“I think there’s really no negative drawback,” Owner of Carolina Salt Surf Lessons Kyle Busey said. “I think it’s long overdue, I think the city deserves it, I think the families deserve it.”

Busey said he has been asking the city for years to consider allowing surf lessons to be taught on IOP beaches.

“My goal has been for the last few years to bring it to light and show the city that this is a positive thing we could bring to the community, to local families, things like that,” Busey said.

Some council members proposed allowing a select number of businesses to offer lessons, but others said that would be unfair to other businesses.

Currently, Isle of Palms city code prevents any business from happening on beaches, including surf lessons.

But now, city council is considering the possibility of offering surf lessons through Wild Dunes.

“The City Code prohibits any commercial activity on the beach, except pursuant to a franchise granted by City Council,” Isle of Palms Interim City Administrator Desiree Fragoso said. “Last month, City Council agreed to consider granting an exclusive franchise agreement for the purpose of offering surf lessons on the beach through the Wild Dunes Resort.”

Busey said he understands the city’s decision to restrict surf lessons and commercial use of the beach because leaders do not want commercialization to get out of hand.

But Busey said he would support the city’s decision to allow surf lessons on at least one part of the island.

“I think there’s a fine line,” Busey said. “I think there should be certain areas restricted to lessons. Maybe not so much the hot spots for surfing, but I know everybody can kind of cooperate together and make this happen and everybody can walk away happy.”

There is no timeline for when the rule would change, but Busey said he has no plans to stop pushing for access to surf lessons on IOP.

“I still get the same pleasure and enjoyment that [I had] when I first learned,” Busey said. “And so when I teach newcomers that, it’s like me learning all over again. And so I’ll keep doing whatever I have to do to get it approved.”

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