Scaled-back surf contest hurts LI rental market, businesses

By Jane C. Timm | September 02, 2011 11:10AM

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Top row, from left: Maria Aramanda of Gull Realty, Wendy Sanders of Prudential Douglas Elliman, and Anthony Chiaravalloti of Coldwell Banker West Beach Realty; Bottom row, from left: surfers Kelly Slater and Balaram Stack

In Long Beach, L.I. the phone has stopped ringing.

The rental market saw a flurry of activity this summer with the announcement that Quiksilver Pro, a professional surfing tournament, would take place for the first time in 20 years on the East Coast in New York’s own Long Beach.

But after Hurricane Irene, Quiksilver announced that the city needed to focus its resources on
the hurricane clean-up and wouldn’t be able to support the concert, skateboarding, and motocross
sideshows of the tournament.

The surfing contest, which features 10-time world champion Kelly Slater, local Long Beach surf star,
Balaram Stack, and a $1 million dollar purse, will still happen, albeit a shorter version of it. The planned
15-day event — set to start yesterday — will only last 11 days, with the main, and now only, event
beginning Monday. Quiksilver Pro did not return multiple requests for comment.

The planned event spurred an influx of inventory this summer, as homeowners eagerly listed their
condominium units and homes to accommodate the visitors, contestants, and staff members for end of
the season rentals, according to brokers.

But now, “the calls have stopped” after the cancellation of the entertainment, Gull Realty broker
Maria Aramanda said, and rental activity has come to a halt. The only calls they’re getting now are
cancellations; Gull Realty has seen eight already — for units with prices ranging from $10,000 to $25,000.
Without signed leases, there’s little brokers can do to stop their clients from losing renters who are
cancelling their trips.

She said that there were between 100 and 150 properties listed this summer — twice as many as the
town usually sees during the summer.

Wendy Sanders, a Long Island agent at Prudential Douglas Elliman who lead the rental efforts for
Quiksilver’s 400-person staff, said that most of her clients were support staff for the tournament and
those tenants are “standing by the commitments they’ve made.” Only one of her clients has cancelled a
lease — after a mutual agreement with the landlord — because of the cancelled festival.

“I’m lucky that the people I’m [working] with are working the event. By and large, nothing has changed
for them,” Sanders said.

The problem lies with the general public attendees, however. The spectators are “absolutely trying to
change their deal,” Sanders said, because “the deal was changed on them,” by the weather.

Sanders likened the change to her own planned trip to see the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival,
in New Orleans in 2006. Because of event changes due to the Hurricane Katrina’s damage the previous
year, she cancelled her trip. “If [spectators] came expecting an event and the event is not going to
happen, they’re going to want something back,” she said.

Long Beach’s many small businesses will be particularly hit by the change and loss of spectators, brokers
said.

“Merchants bought extra inventory and now they’re sitting with extra inventory wondering if they’ll be
able to move it,” an owner and broker at Coldwell Banker Beach West Realty Anthony Chiaravolluti said.

While he hadn’t personally had any cancellations, he said the town was very disappointed.

“There are quite a few upset people,” he said. Despite the flurry of inventory and new potential renters,
he said the rental market in Long Beach had been “moderately down” all summer — mostly due to the
economy.

“Everyone’s going to be impacted by the cancellation of the festivities,” Elliman’s Sanders
said. “Everyone is disheartened and disappointed. It’s something we were very much looking forward to,
something we expected to be good for everyone in town.”