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Monday, 22 September 2008

Surfers threatened with possible court action for riding waves

Heres an article we read in the Guardian newspaper a few days ago which amazed me. OK, water safety of all beach users is important but when local authorities start to threaten police intervention on where you can or can not surf its not a good sign. Its bad enough having lifeguards bark orders to surfers, but getting an anti social behaviour order slapped on by the police for surfing in an area that they say you shouldnt be in, would be ridiculous:

Here is the article from

Surfers who ride waves through areas reserved for swimmers off a UK Cornish beach could be taken to court and issued with antisocial behaviour orders, it emerged yesterday.

Lifeguards at Sennen beach, near Land's End, are so fed up with rogue surfers who refuse to follow the rules that they have turned to the police for help.

Police are now considering sending a community support officer to patrol the beach and perhaps even the use of asbos to control the surfers.

The beach at Sennen is popular with surfers but has a no-go area which is reserved for people, including many families, who use it for swimming. Lifeguards employed by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution patrol the beach but have no powers to enforce the rules. They have asked the police to help them next summer after a series of incidents in which surfers cut through the bathing zone and almost injured swimmers.

Devon and Cornwall police have a project called Beach Beat at St Ives, Newquay and Perranporth in Cornwall, where they have worked with the RNLI to try to cut drinking and antisocial behaviour.

There are no current plans to formally extend Beach Beat to Sennen, but an officer could be drafted in to patrol the beach next summer if the problems persist.

Local constable Andrew Tonkin said: "The RNLI lifeguards have logged quite a few problems with surfers recently. There have been particular problems with longboarders whose refusal to use leashes could cause injury to swimmers." A leash connects the surfer's ankle to the board and stops it zipping off in a fall.

Tonkin said an officer on the beach could monitor surfers' behaviour and, if necessary, intervene.

A police spokesman said the Beach Beat project was intended to make the environment safer for all users. He said: "The idea is to provide a high-visibility uniform presence on the beach."

The RNLI said it had a problem with a few surfers at Sennen. A spokeswoman said: "Our lifeguards cannot enforce the bylaws. Their remit is to advise."

Surfer Sam Bleakly said: "The idea is narrow-minded. It is unsustainable to pay police to patrol the beach when we already have very qualified RNLI lifeguards.

"Surfers are famous for being rebels. It is part of the identity of the sport and the extra bureaucracy will only create strife."


Anonymous said...

Swimmers and surfers need to be seperated for the safty of all. I ran over a swimmer once, it was an accident that ruinned both of our day at the beach.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of beaches where surfing isn't allowed, and for the same reason. It is quite reasonable. There are plenty of surfable breaks without a bunch of kids playing in the water.

In Galveston, TX(pre-Hurricane Ike), surfing is illegal on the seawall during the summer months, but allowed in the fall and winter, which is when the waves start breaking anyway.

Anonymous said...

Summertime at Southern California Beaches can get crowded! The best solution they've come up with is to designate seperate surfing & swimming areas. It keeps swimmers out of the surf zone reducing the crowd factor. I once saw a swimmer get ticketed in Oceanside, because he wouldn't get out of the surfing area. Works both ways I guess! >>>>> Cliff

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