Welcome to the home of
(Friends of Fireant)

This website is dedicated to the most actively sailed windsurfing launch in the Dallas area... 
Windsurf Bay Park in Garland.

a.k.a.  Fireant Beach

In the coming months, we're going to try to put together a proper website - something that encourages the users of Fireant to get involved in their park.

There's a few of us forming this new windsurfing organization in town.  We've not really figured out if it's going to be a formal club or just a collection of boardheads drinking beer on the beach.  It all depends on how motivated we get...  And whether the city of Garland will recognize an informal organization. 

Now some of you may be asking why we don't do this through the local Dallas windsurfing club... Well, that's kind of a long story.  The local club seems to have lost interest in community involvement.  As such, many of us have lost interest in the local club.  They're still good for hosting the two major windsurfing races, but that seems to be the limit of their resources.  Plus, the local club includes people from all over the Metroplex - many of whom don't sail at Fireant. 

Our intention is that FOF (which will probably be renamed later) will be composed mostly of Fireant regulars - and more specifically, by residents of Garland.  That way we hope the city will pay attention when we tell them that they need to act.  And since there's a whopping big bond that was approved that gives Windsurf Bay something like $700k for improvements and erosion control, we want to make sure that they do it right.  As Friends of Fireant, we're pretty sure that we can help them do it right.  After all, who spends more time there than us?

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

And if you're a Garland resident and Fireant regular, you'll probably be hearing from us. 


See ya at Fireant,
The Guys and Gals of F.O.F. 

January 26, 2006

F.O.F. member Brian C was interviewed today out at Fireant by the Dallas Morning News.  Brian was contacted earlier in the week by Karin Shaw Anderson of the DMN after she saw this website.  While the scope of the article was not discussed, Karin asked questions about the history of the park, windsurfing in the area and Brian's involvement in the Garland Bond election that approved funding for improvements at Windsurf Bay Park.  She also told Brian that the article will probably run in the Sunday edition of the DMN on January 29th. 

January 30, 2006

We're Famous

The Dallas Morning News printed an article based on an interview with F.O.F. members Brian Cunningham and Bob Cummings.  While the article is a bit more confrontational than some F.O.F members might have liked, it is accurate in describing the current "hurry up and wait" problem with planned improvements at Fireant.  F.O.F. would like to thank Karin Anderson for taking to the time to find out more about F.O.F., and writing about our cause and concerns.

The entire article can be found on the DMN website - Click Here.  Because you normally have to register (it is free) to get access to the articles, we are reprinting the article here.  They'll probably make us take it down sooner or later (which kind of defeats the purpose of their article).  If you'd like, we've also converted the article into an Acrobat PDF.  We can email you that document if you have trouble registering with DMN:

Shabby beach taking the wind out of surfers' sails

Garland: Erosion, poor facilities plague land near Lake Ray Hubbard
12:00 AM CST on Sunday, January 29, 2006

By KARIN SHAW ANDERSON / The Dallas Morning News

Brian Cunningham doesn't mind picking up a paper plate from an abandoned picnic or scooping up cigarette butts left by fishermen.

After using Garland's Windsurf Bay Park for more than 10 years to launch his windsurfing boards, he feels obliged to do what he can to improve Garland's southernmost claim to shoreline along Lake Ray Hubbard. But sometimes the effort feels like painting a burning barn.

"We've probably lost 30 to 50 feet of shoreline since I started coming out here," Mr. Cunningham said.

Erosion has cut away at the sand, claiming a section of posts and leaving a steep bank where there once was a sloping beach.

"They really didn't do the grading right" when the park was first established, the Garland resident said. "We ended up with a flat wall, and the water laps against the base of it, which constantly undercuts the wall and then collapses it.

"It's been doing that pretty much forever."

Garland voters approved a bond package in 2004 that included $21.68 million for improvements to about a dozen city parks, including Windsurf Bay.

Mr. Cunningham serves on an implementation committee that recommends how to spend that bond money in south Garland.

"The City Council is under no obligation to listen to us, but they do, for a large part," he said. "I just kind of became the squeaky wheel."

The city hasn't started any improvements yet to Windsurf Bay, but Mr. Cunningham has a wish list ready to tackle, including adding permanent restroom facilities and stemming the tide of beach erosion.

"Of course, I'd like for it to happen tomorrow," he said. "But I'm realistic. The city is only going to take on so much bond debt a year."

City Council member Harry Hickey, whose district includes the park, could not be reached for comment. But Mr. Cunningham said he has been working closely with Mr. Hickey, and he believes engineering for park improvements will start within the next year.

"We understand the limitations, and we're just giving them a little bit of input and hoping they'll follow it," Mr. Cunningham said.

Bob Cummings of Garland remembers when windsurfers had plenty of beach surface but had to dodge dozens of fire ant mounds before hitting the water.

"Before it was officially Windsurf Bay Park, it was unofficially called Fireant Beach," he said.

Mr. Cummings is helping Mr. Cunningham organize a grass-roots push to attract attention to the park. The group, still under development, calls itself Friends of Fireant.

"It truly is a world-class windsurfing spot, and it's not living up to the potential it has," Mr. Cummings said. "And it gets crowded now, in the condition it's in, which tells you something."

Still, a lack of adequate restrooms, lighting and other amenities have prevented the local windsurfing club from holding its annual race at the park.

"It would be nice to bring a big race into town," Mr. Cunningham said. "A lot of people who used to race don't anymore, because we don't do the event in close.

"They've been holding it down at Lake Whitney," he said.

Mr. Cummings believes that if the parking lot were moved farther from the lake and erosion control were addressed, plenty of prime windsurfing beach would remain.

"But I really haven't seen much of anything happening out there to do that, which is unfortunate," he said.

Mr. Cunningham said he understands why improvements to other parks have taken priority.

"Obviously, the softball fields is where they put most of their money, because it's a moneymaker for them.

"Those of us who sail here regularly are just interested in making sure that it's still a good place to sail 10 years from now," he said.

But Mr. Cunningham realizes others may want to spend taxpayers' money on something that benefits more diverse groups.

"But since they call it Windsurf Bay Park, you'd assume they'd want to cater to us," he said. "We try to be good visitors."

E-mail ksanderson@dallasnews.com

January 30, 2006

All F.O.F. members are encouraged to participate in the upcoming trash clean-up being at Windsurf Bay Park on Saturday Feb 4th.  While this event is being organized by the other local windsurfing club, it is our park.  Since we've always done the lion's share of the clean-up anyway, we need to continue setting an example.  If you can't participate on that day, please let Brian C know.