Outer Banks Luminary Arrested for Checking His Homebreak
When Bob Hovey's confrontation with foul-mouthed homeowners went viral, Duck’s whole public image was put under scrutiny.
Since the early 1970’s, the Outer Banks of North Carolina has been applauded as the focal point for any respectable East Coast surf trip, due to its 200-mile swath of free and easy, open and unrestricted access to some of the most powerful, most consistent beachbreaks on the Eastern Seaboard.
And it’s still like that. Kind of. Once you get south of Duck, that is.
On Wednesday morning, as Memorial Day Weekend visitors were still making their exodus out of Dare County, longtime Duck resident and Duck Village Outfitters (DVO) shopowner, Bob Hovey, went to check the waves. That was his first mistake.
“I got arrested and taken away in a cop car thanks to Donna Krieger and Allan Dald pictured in this video,” Hovey divulged in a social media post that soon went viral. “I was using the Sea Breeze Drive beach access in Duck, NC, that was deeded to the public in 1981. Sorry to anyone I offended but I felt adamant about sticking up for beach access rights. The beach is for everyone and something needed to be done to protect beach access rights in Dare County. The town of Duck has received millions in Dare County taxpayer money for beach nourishment and other beach services… I have been told by Police Chief Cuito that I would not be arrested for using the state road beach accesses in Duck so it was a bit of a surprise to me. My court date is July 5th. I am hoping this will get thrown out of court based on the fact it was deeded to the public and we will have our beach access rights reinstated…”
@townofduck I got arrested and taken away in a cop car thanks to Donna Krieger and Allan Dald pictured in this video. I was using the Sea Breeze Dr. beach access in Duck, NC. that was deeded to the public in 1981. Sorry to anyone I offended but I felt adamant about sticking up for beach access rights. The beach is for everyone and something needed to be done to protect beach access rights in Dare County. The town of Duck has received millions of Dare County taxpayer money for beach nourishment and other beach services. Anyone that can help with my cause please contact me at 2526796575. I have been told by Police Chief Cuito that I would not be arrested for using the state road beach accesses in Duck so it was a bit of a surprise to me. My court date is July 5th. I am hoping this will get thrown out of court based on the fact it was deeded to the public and we will have our beach access rights reinstated. I bailed myself out and am heading to work now so I am ok. #dont@doducknc.
Note the lady pictured here, Donna Krieger of 128 Seabreeze Dr. grabbed my phone and hit the stop record video so much of the video evidence I was trying to capture was destroyed. You can see near the end of the clip that the video stopped/ restarted as her hand was lunging toward me.
Notice how Hovey calmly explained his position to these foulmouthed, if not hostile, homeowners, who likely assumed he was just another beach bum slacker. Let it be known here that Bob ain’t exactly a nobody on this beach. In fact, over the past three decades Hovey has become nothing short of a renaissance man for the local surf community. Shooting, sharing and submitting countless photos and videos. Putting Carolina rippers on the covers of magazines. Mentoring grommets. Sponsoring rippers. Organizing contests. Floating teamriders, employees, friends and friends of friends on dream trips to Indonesia, Hawaii, Mexico and beyond. Tirelessly contributing to benefit events and fundraisers galore…
Anyone who knows Bob will agree: Dude has poured out.
Upon Hovey’s release from his half-hour stint in the clink, his post soon vaulted to well over 100,000 views, compelling the Town of Duck to release the following statement:
On Wednesday, May 29, at approximately 8:00 a.m., Mr. Robert E. Hovey was taken into custody and charged with second-degree trespass (N.C.G.S. Section 14-159.13) in the location of Seabreeze Drive. This charge is comprised of the following: Without permission, entering or remaining on someone else’s property after being notified not to enter or remain there by the owner, a lawful occupant, or other authorized person; or where there is a notice posted informing intruders not to enter the property. The beach access located at the end of Seabreeze Drive is a private access owned and maintained by the Sand Dollar Shores HOA. The charge and arrest were the culmination of a long-standing dispute between Mr. Hovey and the property owners of the Sand Dollar Shores subdivision. After repeated attempts by the Town of Duck Police Department to pursue a peaceful resolution, officers on the scene today acted to diffuse a situation that was escalating. To be clear, in accordance with the North Carolina public trust and state statutes, the beaches in Duck are public. The Town of Duck does not restrict an individual’s use of the public beach, but it does not own or maintain any beach access locations in the town. Because the accesses are privately owned and maintained, the Town cannot grant permission for their use and unauthorized use could be deemed trespass as it would with any other private property. The Town does not monitor any beach access locations with the intent to discern between authorized and unauthorized users of a private beach access. The Town will respond to complaints of use by unauthorized individuals and these are handled in conformity with other simple trespass complaints. Beach access locations in Duck, whether on easements or individual property parcels, are available to Duck residents, renters, and their guests through private accesses maintained by neighborhood homeowners’ associations (HOA). These accesses are not available to the general public as they are not owned or maintained by the Town of Duck. When staying in Duck, your rental company or your neighborhood’s HOA can provide you information on the beach access for your rental property. When purchasing a home in Duck, work with your real estate agent to ensure you understand your HOA covenants and beach access rules.
Local newspapers and surfing websites and mainstream media outlets everywhere are pouncing on this story, while legions of online crusaders multiply like Mogwai, awaiting the call to arms. Knowing full well that there’s no turning back now, Hovey is playing his last card: a reluctant-yet-necessary crowdfunding campaign to continue the fight.
“Yesterday I believe I became the first person in the history of Duck to get arrested for going to the beach,” he explained. “The videos went viral with overwhelming support, and many people posted they would be willing to crowdfund my effort… I will need a good attorney for my district court trespassing charge and have already invested thousands in my current Duck lawsuit, which is an effort to try to get the court to recognize the publicly deeded accesses within the town. The Town attorney fought hard to get the court to accept Duck as a private beach in a summary judgement hearing, which was intended to settle the case before a judge without going to trial. The judge dismissed the case but did not make a determination on the validity of the public accesses for or against. The next step would be to go to a full jury trial. This has been going on for over two years. I filed a voluntary dismissal without prejudice as the legal fees were stacking up, and I was not financially set to go dollar for dollar in legal fees with the Town of Duck. Based on what I saw at the pretrial hearing, the Town is willing to pay big and use any means possible to get the court to declare all Duck beach accesses private and ignore all public deeds that are in place. If I can get some help with funds, we can work together as a community to stop them from permanently shutting down our beaches and hopefully get them to lift some of the parking restrictions the Duck town council has put in place… I was told by my attorney that I could reinstate the legal claim to beach access with the Town of Duck and Sand Dollar Shores, at any point within a reasonable time frame, and start preparing for a jury trial.”
In the meantime, the beach access sentinels on the board of the Surfrider Foundation-Outer Banks Chapter have weighed in with the following statement:
“Our HQ legal team is looking into the case to see if they can determine whether this access is public or private before fully taking a position. For now, here’s what the local chapter has to say: 1. Bob Hovey is a local legend, stand-up guy, and we fully sympathize with his desire to expand beach access in Duck, which is clearly the right thing to do. 2. Town of Duck is not evil. In fact, they’re among our staunchest allies in the fight against offshore drilling. It’s quite possible they may be legally hogtied in regards to this issue and access. (The same way towns can’t stop McMansions at will.) 3. There should be some solution that can increase access to Duck beaches, and we’d be willing to work with both parties in a positive dialogue to make that happen. 4. Anyone who cares about this issue — or others — is welcome to attend a meeting to contribute ideas and to help carry the load, since every new issue will require extra man/woman/child power. 5. This couple should do some real soul-searching as to their values/morals. Being part of the Outer Banks community means more than buying an oceanfront house; it means buying-in to an understanding that the beach and sea are nature’s gift to everyone. And sharing a footpath is just being a good neighbor.”
Stay tuned to Surfline for a full interview with Bob Hovey.