It's been a trying couple of years to be a Cleveland Surfer. Historically low lake water levels thanks to the Army Corpse Of Imagineers, combined with the effects of Climate Change, which seem to have robbed us of our precious North East winds, have spelled a dearth of waves for us crazy Clevelanders who would rather surf our polluted chuckhole than bowl, or golf, or whatever the hell the rest of this lame town does for entertainment.
And like everything else that does, or ever has had to do with Cleveland, surfing to is going to get worse before it gets better.
It wasn't bad enough that a draft bill is presently being pushed through the House Of Representatives to cut by 80% the budget of The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which would have improved the quality of our foaming-green water, and also helps fund the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's ongoing attempt to reroute and stop the overflow of raw sewage into the lake.
But we can get over that. Afterall, we pretty much expect politicians to inrease, not decrease the amount of shit we're subjected to, right?
But The Sewer Pipe has something even worse for you to consider. Let me introduce you to the new owner's plans for our beloved Edgewater Beach.
Keeping with their traditional Midwest preoccupation with "sports" that anyone can do, like golfing, horseback riding, badminton, and bird watching, the Cleveland Metroparks have decided to bring their unimaginative, keep the masses safe and happy approach to outdoor recreation to the waters of Lake Erie.
No, you didn't read that wrong. The Metroparks plans to install pay-parking booths and gates, a boat ramp, and a "Water Skill Rental Park" at Edgewater Beach. Of course, "water skill" is a euphemism for things people who have absolutely no "water skills," can use to plow around The Cove like Canada Geese. Think canoes, kayaks, SUP's, and probably even those cute little bright colored plastic pedal-boats. Sedentary suburbanites just love pedal-boats.
"But no surf boards, kids. Surf boards are dangerous. Well, maybe some of those big foam ones, but only for use within the "designated swimming" area, when there are no waves and we allow you in the water."
Is there money in this budget or business plan to fund some actual "Open Water" training of the Metropark's lifeguards? No. Has money been set-aside to put up some proper signage explaining the danger of, and how to avoid and survive a rip-current? Of course not. Because the people whom the Metroparks are remodelling Edgewater for, the great mass of unwashed taxpayers looking to have a picnic by the lake on a sunny Summer afternoon will never be exposed to such dangers. Because nobody will be allowed in the water should they occur.
Yes, nobody. Including you with your surf board. Oh, you haven't been thrown out of the water when there were waves, yet, even though there were no swimmers in the water? Just wait, you will be.
And if we haven't blown your mind, yet, try this one on for size:
These are all good things for the City Of Cleveland. Yes, they are absolutely terrible things for Cleveland Surfers, but for your average tax-paying citizen, this is probably one of the best things that ever happened on the Cleveland lakefront.
Let's face it, we can't blame the Metroparks. We can make fun of what the average Clevelander considers waterborne recreational activities, and we certainly will, but to be fair, the Metroparks exists to serve the majority, not us small handfull of sad, deluded souls that believe you can actually surf in Cleveland, Ohio. And the majority has spoken. They've said what they want, and the Metroparks is just doing its job by giving it to them.
It's no ones fault they have never felt the rush of popping-up and riding a waist-high wave from the rocks to the sand on a warm Summer evening, as the sun is setting behind you, and the lights of the city are twinkling in the twilight before you.
Finally, Northeast Ohioan's will be able to come down to the lakeshore and feel safe and secure, without being subjected to piles of rubbish on the beach, and sexual perverts behind every bush, and bums sunning themselves in their underwear on top of the picnic benches. In the future, with the Metropark's plans for possibly holding concerts and events at Edgewater, and maybe even allowing a restaurant to lease a location there, Edgewater Park might just become one of the nicest things we have in Cleveland, even without us, its surfers.
The Sewer Pipe was down there just yesterday, and we have to admit that the place is starting to look freeking great. They really are pouring the money into it. The trash is gone. The beach is groomed. No bums, no perverts. And more people running around fixing shit up and making it look nice than we have ever seen in the last ten years.
By the time they are done with it, Edgewater Park is going to be an absolute jewel. Something Cleveland can finally be proud of.
And with more people coming down to the lakefront and discovering all the beauty we all ready know, and learning that Lake Erie is good for something besides just flushing their toilets into, we can in the future perhaps be able to count on them as allies to help us finally clean-up the rest of our beloved cesspool.
No, it is no fun to have to surrender our Summer Edgewater waves. Even though they are not that great, there was just something about being able to enjoy knee-high peelers on your lunch hour, without having to put on a wetsuit. Though that is gone now, we'll still have Spring, Fall, And Winter.
We'll always have Winter.