Blackball: Newport Beach still not surfer-friendly

Surfers, bodyboarders, and skimboarders will not have more time for their sports during the Blackball period, at Newport Beach, California. Local authorities decided to keep defending swimmers interests only.

Blackball is the surfers' nightmare. The flag on the lifeguard tower has been halting riders from enjoying great wave sessions. And Newport Beach is known for its strict, swimmers-only rules. Apparently, no changes will be made.

A blackball flag is represented with a black circle in the center of a yellow or red flag, with a yellow flag being most common. It was created to protect swimmers from boards out in the surf.

After an intense and emotional public debate, the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Commission decided to keep the rules as they are, including those which regulate the Wedge.

Flotation devices - surfboards, bodyboards, skimboards - are prohibited at the Wedge from 10am to 5pm, between May 1st and October 31st.

The remaining beaches will continue raising the Blackball from noon to 4pm, between June 15th and September 10. The city of Newport Beach had a historic opportunity to balance rules for swimmers and water sports enthusiasts, but the proposals have been voted down.

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