America's most famous beaches next?
What a wild wild rollercoaster the hydrofoil has been riding these last few years, rising from relative obscurity to the water tool of choice for the world’s sixth richest man Mark Zuckerberg. “Do you foil, bro?” heard in beach adjacent parking lots the world over. Foil self videos posted to Instagram with increasing regularity.
“Look mom, I’m flying.”
But with wild popularity comes increased scrutiny, anger even, and now the council’s governing Sydney’s most famous beaches are considering permanently banning them from the water.
Randwick and Waverly, covering Maroubra, Bondi and Tamarama, are currently gathering feedback from the population and will deliver a verdict next month.
“For safety reasons, hydrofoil surfboards are not permitted at our beaches,” a spokesperson told The Guardian. “This is due to the safety risks posed by their high speed [compared to that of a surfboard], the metal-like keel that raises the board out of the water and the usually crowded conditions in the water. We do not have any reported instances of injuries involving these boards due to the low volume of foil boarders visiting our beaches and the proactive approach by the lifeguards. Council is aware of injuries at other beaches/waterways caused by foil boards that have resulted in significant trauma to the casualty.”
Andrew Crawford, who owns H2O foils, might almost agree with the potential ban.
“In reality, there’s an element of danger, the same as there is with a conventional surfboard,” he said. “There’s a danger of the boards and the fins making contacts with people’s heads. Because there’s an extended mast, which is like a knife in the water, and the wing which is attached to the bottom of the mast, if it does come in contact with people, it could cause quite an injury. From that perspective, I can see the council’s wariness.”
He also likened foils to cars and said, “If handled sensibly, I don’t see a major issue, as long as they keep well clear of designated swimming areas and other surfers.”
So, is foiling a buy or a sell? If Sydney bans will the dominos topple or will Mark Zuckerberg bury the news?
Much to ponder.