Insurance warning as surfing figures soar

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The popularity of surfing has increased dramatically in recent months as it was one of the few activities largely unaffected by lockdown.

Channel Islands Surf Federation president David Ferguson said that 60% of wave riders throughout lockdown were not regular surfers and therefore were unlikely to have sea experience, be insured or have been to a surf school or club before.

Reflecting on the conditions since the Covid-19 pandemic reached Jersey in March, Ferguson said: ‘We have been blessed with some lovely surf recently, both expert-level waves and plenty of opportunities for beginners which have attracted a lot of new people to St Ouen’s Bay.

‘It has been amazing to see everyone enjoying the ocean but safety is paramount in a constantly changing environment and the surf community must ensure we educate new surfers on etiquette and safety.’

An increase in beginner surfers at hotspots such as the Watersplash and Secrets has made the chance of an incident in the water much higher.

Ferguson has encouraged everyone to get insurance on their board so that they’re covered if a collision were to happen.

He highlighted the return of the lifeguards earlier this month as an added bonus to ensure safety on the beach and emphasised that summer surf schools can play their part in the education process.

‘The message is that it’s not advisable to learn during this period,’ Ferguson said. ‘If you are going to do so please make sure you join a surf school and have some lessons under the watch of an instructor or join the surf club which automatically gives you third party insurance.’

With surf schools being granted their license from the Ports of Jersey to operate for the summer, Ferguson hopes higher level surf coaching can soon be introduced at club level.

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