‘Clear rules prevent problems’

SURFING etiquette signage to improve safety will be installed on Vazon’s coastal wall at key entry points to the beach.

Vazon Bay is the most popular area for surfing in Guernsey. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29440902)
Vazon Bay is the most popular area for surfing in Guernsey. (Picture by Peter Frankland, 29440902)

Planning permission has been given for applications made by Agriculture, Countryside and Land Management Services to install signage by the cafe, near the steps by the tower and across from La Grande Mare.

Etiquette includes who has the right of way on a wave, not dropping in on those with right of way, paddling rules, not ditching boards, which can then be hazardous, and generally being respectful.

The signs are a result of beach users voicing safety concerns to the Guernsey Surfing Association, said its president Kevin Hinshaw.

Together with Guernsey Surf Club president Tim Gaudion, who designed the signs, and Josh Sexton, the three contacted the States to install them.

‘We drew up a mock sign and left it down at [the] beach last summer so people realise the etiquette to stay safe, stay seen and be a good water user,’ Mr Hinshaw said.

‘Now we are at the stage where we hope to get it in before the summer. It has taken 10 months to get where we are at present.’

‘We would like to liaise with beach users to ensure people are up to speed with each other’s needs. If you look, the rules are basic and universally agreed.

‘Similar signs are posted around the world and are virtually identical.

‘We’ve pulled our advice together from official surfing bodies adapted to fit Vazon’s needs, to be put at the three key entry points surfers use.’

Safety remains the top priority for all beach-using groups.

‘We also encourage people to get insured – and the easiest way is through the club.

‘You don’t want to hit someone in the water and end up with a £10,000 bill.’

Guernsey Outdoor Charter Group co-chairman Brian Aplin said that surfing spots have become more crowded during the pandemic due to interest in outdoor and water-based activities growing.

‘This time last year we went about having a sign installed for surfing etiquette, particularly for the times when it is overcrowded,’ said Mr Aplin.

‘For those with less surfing experience or familiarity with standard surfing etiquette, learning the universal rules helps to avoid problems.’

Guernsey Surf School was also kept in the loop and approves of the installation.

. For more information on surf safety etiquette, visit guernseysurfschool.co.uk/pages/surf-safety-etiquette.

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