Against the tide

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 July, 2009, 12:00am

Hong Kong is not Australia, nor is it Hawaii, but it does, on occasion, have perfect conditions for surfing.

Those conditions were found at Big Wave Bay, near Shek O, last weekend - not that they could be taken advantage of; the sea was filled with inflatable rubber rings and flailing swimmers. When catching a wave to surf, the challenge was not to stand up but to steer a way through the swarms of people.

No one took any notice of the loudhailer or recorded messages played every 20 minutes advising beach users not to enter the sea because a typhoon was on its way.

In other parts of the world, swimming areas are off limits and lifeguards patrol beaches and prevent swimmers from entering the water during a storm. Hong Kong should at least give lifeguards the power to ban people who are likely to get into difficulty from enter- ing the sea; not only for the swimmers' safety, but also for that of those whose job it is to rescue them.

And those who do want to seek their thrills - on surfboards or otherwise - should know they are on their own.