Council ban on surfing not in public's interest

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 February, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 February, 1997, 12:00am

I wish to respond to the crackdown headed by the Urban Council on surfing in Big Wave Bay.

Recently, the Hong Kong Surfing Association scheduled a competition for body boarders. The competition was to be held at Big Wave Bay. It was open to the public and had a legitimate sponsor, Quiksilver. This is when the crackdown began. The competition was not allowed and signs were put up saying 'no surfing'.

There are limited surfing beaches in Hong Kong, yet almost every beach is available for swimming. If it is a matter of swimmers' safety, why doesn't the council recommend they use other beaches? Also, the best surfing season in Hong Kong is winter, when the beaches are void of swimmers. Would it hurt to hold a competition on a fairly empty beach? It seems the council could put its efforts to far better uses than banning a healthy, harmless sport.

Not only will this ban on surfing hurt the surfers, but it will also lower the income of some of the residents of Big Wave Bay. Several own small concession stands on the road leading up to the beach. These stands rent body boards and surf boards, a business I fear they will soon be losing. It would interest me to know whose interests the Urban Council is acting upon. If it is the public's I would like to remind Urbco that surfers represent a portion of the public that uses Big Wave Bay. The Hong Kong Surfing Association is more than 500 members strong.

Should not the Urban Council embrace a new and growing sport in Hong Kong? And should it not help it to grow, instead of trying to obliterate it? I hope the council will reconsider its position on surfing.