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Newport rates among top 10 U.S. beaches

May 12, 2000

Alex Coolman

NEWPORT BEACH -- The city's shoreline is one of the best urban beaches in

America, according to a report that will be released next week by The

Surfrider Foundation.

The group's "State of the Beach" report, which it plans to release to the

public Tuesday, is a broad assessment of the condition of America's

beaches. It also contains a ranking of urban beaches.

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On that list, Newport comes in at No. 5.

Christopher Evans, executive director of the group, said the overall

picture of American beaches given by the report is not particularly

encouraging.

He said there is room for improvement in terms of the level of

information the public is able to obtain about beach conditions, and in

terms of the quality of those conditions.

"What [the report] points to is that the public is systematically being

eliminated from participating in coastal zone management," he said.

Many California beaches came out looking better than those of other

states in the Surfrider report. The study concluded that California has

high standards of beach accessibility and availability of information

about water quality, Evans said.

Newport's high ranking on the list is good economic news, said Rosalind

Williams, president and CEO of the Newport Beach Conference and Visitors

Bureau.

"The travel industry of America just put out a survey saying that one of

the greatest draws for family travel is the beach," Williams said.

Given this information, Surfrider's study "should bode well in our

favor," she said.

Surfers who brave Newport waters on a regular basis and have had to

contend with a beach closure for several days this week greeted

Surfrider's findings guardedly.

"The waves are good [in Newport Beach] when they're good, but there are a

lot of pollutants," noted Bobby Tang, manager of The Frog House, a surf

shop on West Coast Highway.

FYI

o7 Top 10 urban beaches in the U.S.:

f7

1. South Beach, Miami Beach, Fla.

2. Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii

3. Panama City Beach, Fla.

4. East Beach, Santa Barbara

5. Newport Beach

6. Myrtle Beach, S.C.

7. South Padre Island, Tex.

8. Cape May, N.J.

9. Main Beach, Santa Cruz

10. Seaside Beach, Ore.

* Source: The Surfrider Foundation's "State of the Beach" report.

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