Up early Saturday and Sunday looking for waves worth surfing, I made an informal survey of beach conditions following what had obviously been two wild nights on the sand. Almost everywhere in town, the beach garbage cans had filled to overflowing, and people had left their trash in the general vicinity.
At Georgica Beach, I salvaged a pair of tiki torches, used just once, it appeared, complete with a half-full jug of lamp oil from a post-party heap. I passed on taking a galvanized wash tub, still filled with burned wood from the night before. Sea gulls or raccoons had been there before me and had strewn the remnants of several picnic dinners around.
And so it went. At one Napeague ocean beach, I saw in the distance a party winding down as the sun began to rise. What appeared to be a score or more people lay bundled in blankets and sleeping bags. (Later, I understood that Marine Patrol officers showed up to take names and see what was what.)
As the sun got higher in the sky, guests of the motels and condos along the Montauk oceanfront were hustling to stake out prime spots with towels and beach chairs. A determined-looking man coming down the steps from the Royal Atlantic in a big hurry nearly struck my head with a wooden umbrella post as I passed.
I could not even get close to Ditch Plain, thanks to a surfing contest. Just why one of the town’s most popular beaches was given over entirely to an event that would prevent residents from going there struck me as a good question.
On Saturday morning only Montauk Point was quiet, and I got into an easy conversation there with a parking attendant. Paying the $8 fee, I parked and surfed for an hour.
Because the waves were small, few, and far between, there were only a handful of people in the water, which was fine with me. I have a number of friends who have either given up the sport or take the summer season mostly off to avoid the crowds. I suppose it is getting the same way with the beaches themselves, what with the increasing horde.
East Hampton Town officials get interested every now and then about opening a new oceanfront beach. That notion is all well and good, but, as my weekend rounds indicated, the town does not adequately manage those it already has. As when my kids beg for another dog, bird, or pet pig, the answer has to be: Prove that you can take care of what we have first and then we can talk.