Hamptons Surf Licenses Revoked After 45 Years of Not Enforcing Them

elderly surfer with beard paddling in the ocean
Barefoot Luke Henderson is not happy to lose his Hamptons surfing license, Photo: rawpixel/123RF

Aged surfers around the Hamptons expressed dismay after learning they would have to surrender their surfing licenses to the Hamptons Police Department this week. Many of the graying shredders say they’ve held their licenses in good standing since 1974 when they were required to get them.

“Now we find out we never needed them in the first place?” Montauk surfer Barefoot Luke Henderson complained on Monday. “I’ve been a proud licensed surfer for 45 years. The whole thing stinks.”

Henderson and other older surfers like him say they recall desperately scrambling to get their Hamptons surfing licenses the year they were introduced. “At the time, none of us wanted to miss a single wave because of this outrageous new law,” he said. “Obviously, I’m glad the Municipal Board has abolished this absurd law, but it’s a little frustrating that we’ve been sending in dues and inconveniencing ourselves every year to make sure we’re allowed to surf,” Henderson continued. “Perhaps they could refund us all the money we’ve sent over the last 45 years?” he suggested. “That comes out to $225, which isn’t a fortune over half a century, but it isn’t nothing either. So how about it?”

Hamptons Municipal Board officials say they will not be refunding any license dues, but they are in talks to consider allowing current license holders to keep their documents without further dues, in perpetuity. As of press time, no decisions have been made.

“We’re not exactly sure why allowing these dedicated surfers to keep their licenses would be a problem, but it’s important to discuss all possible outcomes,” board member Joan Romney Staples said during a special Municipal Board work session on Tuesday. “I expect this is what we’ll do, however, we try to be very thoughtful and careful before we do anything.”

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