27 Jan 2008 06:11:19
Jack Linthicum
Another NY Times surf item: surf web cam violence


Cameras Show if Surf Is Good; Surfers Get in Way
James Minardi

Published: January 27, 2008

EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. -- Ever since Jimmy Minardi mounted his $8,500 video
camera last summer and aimed it at the Atlantic Ocean, the surfers
here have been complaining.

The camera streamed video straight to Mr. Minardi's Web site, letting
surfers check the waves without having to pack up their boards and
head to the beach with fingers crossed.

These surf cams, or wave cams, which have gained in popularity in
recent years, help advertise lesser-known beaches to outsiders who are
looking for new surfing spots.

But the cameras have also caused problems in the territorial world of
hard-core surfers, many of whom blame them for leading crowds to once-
secluded beaches. Today, there are perhaps a dozen cameras along the
South Shore of Long Island and another dozen along the Jersey Shore,
surfers said.

Vandalism is common enough that the operators -- from surf shops that
run a single camera to large surfing-related companies that own dozens
of them -- keep the locations confidential. Officials at Wavewatch.com
and Surfline.com, two of the larger surf cam sites, said they tried
not to pick spots where the regulars would be riled.

Still, Jonno Wells, the chief executive of Surfline.com, which
operates about 100 Web cameras at beaches from the Hamptons to Hawaii,
said his company regularly received angry e-mail messages from
"squawkers blaming cameras for crowding."

Rafael Patterson, the brand manager for Wavewatch, which operates 18
cameras nationally, said his company also received complaints, but it
tried to be sensitive in selecting surf cam locations. Mr. Wells said
several of his company's cameras had been damaged; Mr. Patterson said
he did not know of any vandalism.

Mr. Minardi, 45, a native of East Hampton, is a fitness instructor
whose celebrity clients include Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld. He said he
shrugged off the complaints he received -- until someone ran off with
his camera last month.

The East Hampton Village police are questioning local surfers in
search of a suspect.

Was it the actor and surfer who sent Mr. Minardi an e-mail message
saying that as a member of the Screen Actors Guild, he would bill him
at union scale every time he appeared on camera? Was it the person who
threatened to block the camera by putting a sign in front it?

The camera was planted just east of the Georgica Jetties, a good wave
break that does not attract the crowds that flock to better-known
spots like Ditch Plains in Montauk. The problem, said Matt Norklun,
the surfer-actor who sent the e-mail message, was that the camera
attracted too many surfers, many of them neophytes (known to
experienced surfers as groms or kooks).

As a result, there were jokes among the tight-knit surfing community
here about how to block the camera. But after its disappearance, Mr.
Norklun said, not even a whisper surfaced about who might have taken
it. Or why.

Mr. Minardi said the camera could simply have been stolen for its

An outspoken critic of the camera, Mr. Norklun said the police
questioned him after it disappeared.

"I don't know who took it, but whoever it is, he's a folk hero around
here," he said. "The police asked me, 'Would you tell us if you did
know?' And I said, 'Probably not.' "

As for his demand to be paid union wages, he said, "A lot of guys were
angry with Jimmy, and I wanted to drive the point home that the camera
was a nuisance."

Mr. Minardi received permission to install the camera on the
oceanfront property of the advertising executive Jerry Della Femina,
in the rarefied Georgica Pond section of East Hampton, where Steven
Spielberg and Mortimer B. Zuckerman, to name just two, have large
summer homes.

The camera was mounted on a wooden post, tucked between two juniper
bushes, that was cut down in a clean, smooth swipe, perhaps with a
power saw.

"Someone definitely planned this," Mr. Minardi said last week at the
spot where the camera had been placed, a good walk from the public
access at Main Beach to the east. The person who cut it down had to
climb the sand dunes almost to Mr. Della Femina's back deck to reach

Mr. Della Femina -- who likes to hang out but not hang 10 -- said he was
unhappy that someone would cut down the camera on his property. "If I
would have walked out while it was happening, would there have been a
chain saw massacre?" he said.

As for the surf cam controversy, he said, "I find it incredible that
there are surfers who think they have the right to a spot in the

Not that this was the first case of surf cam rage. In Montauk, efforts
to put up a camera at a well-known surf spot were met with angry
threats. The camera never went up.

Mike Colombo, who owns the Right Coast Surf Shop in Seaside Park,
N.J., said the installation of a camera at the Casino Pier in Seaside
Heights aroused intense opposition.

"There was a big stink -- like 80 guys sent angry e-mails to the owner
saying, 'Why do you have to point it at the best break around?' " he
said. "Then it got ripped down last year. Some enraged local took a
sledgehammer and smashed it to pieces. Now they have it on a long
extension pole."

Mr. Colombo explained it this way: "People don't want their spot
exposed to the entire world with the click of a mouse. If I put a
camera up, people would boycott my shop."

Back on Long Island, Luke Hamlet, who owns the Long Beach Surf Shop,
would not say where his camera was placed, especially after one
mounted near the Boardwalk in Long Beach was repeatedly vandalized.

"You definitely hear stories about people who hate them and throw
rocks at cameras," said Doug Parent, chairman of the New York City
chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to
the protection of beaches, although he noted that nothing like that
had ever happened to two cameras at Rockaway Beach in Queens. "I'm not
one for vandalism, but I could definitely see what would drive someone
to do that."

But Mr. Minardi, a regular at the Georgica Jetties here, dismissed the
problems caused by surf cams and said the crowding was the result of a
surge in surfing's popularity.

Besides, he said, he set up his camera as a guide for
environmentalists who were tracking beach erosion as well as for
surfers. The camera, he said, had been pulling in up to 7,000 hits a
day at Minardi Training.com, his Web site.

Mr. Minardi said he had raised most of the money needed to replace the
camera stolen from behind Mr. Della Femina's deck.

"This time, we're putting it up on the chimney," Mr. Minardi said.
"And I'm putting up a second, hidden camera to watch it. They're not
touching this one."

extra Hawaii on a dime, but fish tacos with rice and beans is an error

28 Jan 2008 12:53:38
Surfer Bob
Re: Another NY Times surf item: surf web cam violence

Jack Linthicum <jacklinthi...@earthlink.net > wrote:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/nyregion/27surf.html?scp=1&sq=web+c...

> (Mr. Della Femina) said, "I find it incredible that
> there are surfers who think they have the right to a spot in the
> ocean."

Welcome to the wonderful world of surfing, Mr. Femina. Got Aloha?

Surfer Bob

28 Jan 2008 13:42:46
Jack Linthicum
Re: Another NY Times surf item: surf web cam violence

On Jan 28, 3:53 pm, Surfer Bob <surferb...@hotmail.com > wrote:
> Jack Linthicum <jacklinthi...@earthlink.net> wrote:
> >http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/nyregion/27surf.html?scp=1&sq=web+c...
> > (Mr. Della Femina) said, "I find it incredible that
> > there are surfers who think they have the right to a spot in the
> > ocean."
> Welcome to the wonderful world of surfing, Mr. Femina. Got Aloha?
> :-^
> Surfer Bob

On Longisland it's "shiznit"