Request to Amend Pier Jumping Bill 4699 for Surfer Access
The intention of the Michigan pier jumping bill was to curb persons from recklessly leaping off piers with little regard for water depth, underwater objects and no flotation device. While such activity has resulted in injury, it is not necessarily life-threatening. However, by jumping off a pier a person enters the lake at point further out than they are used to swimming to, which has resulted in fatalities. The same holds true for persons washed or falling from piers.
A surfer doesn’t actually jump ‘into’ the lake from a pier, but rather pushes off from a pier ‘onto’ the lake surface, most importantly, with a tethered flotation device (surfboard) and a buoyant wetsuit. Unlike the reckless pier jumper, the surfer uses an efficient, skilled, safe technique practiced hundreds of times. In this picture from a 1984 surf contest, note how this surfer keeps the drop distance to a minimum and with forward thrust instinctively lines up the plane of his board with the surface area he is about to enter upon.