WATCH: Durban surfers take to the waters in protest over lockdown regulations
By Lyse Comins 20m ago
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DURBAN – Durban surfers who hit the waves this morning and were confronted by the police claim they had not violated any of the Covid-19 Disaster Management Act regulations and were simply exercising their right to practise their sport.
Springbok surfers Beyrick de Vries, former captain of the team, and Nthando Msibi as well as attorney Graham Taylor, were among a group of eight local surfers who said they had hired a charter boat to launch at Wilson’s Wharf and drop them off the coast beyond the shark nets, from where they swam in to surf at New Pier, close to the shore.
Surfer Jean-Marc Tostee said their session had been cut short apparently after an elderly surfer had called the eThekwini Metro Police to complain he had seen surfers in the water.
“He said that he had been surfing for decades and he could not surf so we should be prosecuted,” Tostee said.
Taylor said the surfers had not violated the Disaster Management Act regulations as the surfers had not set foot on the beach.
De Vries said surfing was an Olympic sport, that by its nature required social distancing and posed no risk, and that Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula had permitted professionals to practise their sport.
However, acting on the complaint, Metro police’s search and rescue unit arrived by boat and ordered the surfers to get back into the private charter boat and to return to Wilson’s Wharf where police officers were waiting for them. A senior metro police officer, who declined to be named, told the surfers in a friendly exchange they had received a complaint “from your own brothers” which had led to the confrontation.
Metro Police spokesperson Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said the surfers had been warned and released at the scene.
“There were about eight surfers with boards and a private boat that went out to sea. Metro Police Search and Rescue was alerted and they were put back into the boat to return to Wilson’s Wharf,” he said.
Sewpersad said the surfers had “tested” the regulations and would be breaking them if they went out to surf again.