|26th April 2008, 02:01 PM||#1|
SUPs and Surfers - can they coexist?
When windsurfers share the break with surfers, the surfers have the priority, on every wave. This is considered reasonable by all parties concerned because of the windsurfers' advantages in speed and mobility.
When SUPs get into the break, the situation is chaos. SUPs can catch a wave very early compared to surfers, much like a windsurfer. Yet the SUPs are not subject to any of the same rules.
I have personally witnessed - and also, I'll admit, been party to - altercations between SUPs and surfers where the SUPs were simply being wave hogs and taking every wave, not leaving any breathing room for the surfers. I have seen SUPs aggressively threatening surfers with their sharp-tipped paddles and intimidating them off the waves. Not cool.
At some breaks the SUPs are simply not allowed by the local surfers - not unless they are Laird Hamilton or the like. But at other breaks, where a strong local presence is lacking, the SUPs have become a nuisance.
The situation is such that soon some surfers may soon go to their County Council member and ask for an ordinance banning SUPs from the vicinity of surfers - much like the infamous ten-man rule at Ho'okipa - this is being discussed.
SUPs had better self-regulate, or they will be forcibly regulated - that is inevitable.
Starboard is one of the leading promoters of the SUP sport - does Starboard promote responsible behavior, or is it content to cash in and let the breaks turn into a battlefield? Let's see some leadership coming from those who profit from the sport.