Surf spat: altercation at Shenzhen beach leads to ban, prompting regret by Hong Kong aficionado

Chinese security officers reportedly damaged board after swimmer complained about collision with surfer

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 September, 2016, 8:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 September, 2016, 8:00am

Mainland Chinese security officers allegedly damaged a surfboard after a swimmer complained about a collision with a surfer at a popular beach east of Hong Kong.

A company, which manages the beach, also issued a statement banning all surfing activities from Friday onwards.

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A video shot by witnesses at the scene showed a group of helmet-wearing officers surrounding a surfer on Xichong beach in eastern Shenzhen after he emerged from the water.

A man, wielding a long knife, appeared to be cutting into the surfboard while officers restrained the surfer who was shouting at the man to stop.

Pictures obtained by the Post show a triangular piece cut from the surfboard.

Watch: the Xichong beach video

Witnesses told members of the Hong Kong surfing community, who frequent the beach, that a surfer collided with a swimmer while surfing earlier on Friday.

Dozens of men, who were pictured wearing reflective vests that read “Xichong security patrol” in the video and pictures, were acting on the swimmer’s complaint, the witnesses said.

They said the swimmer sustained minor injuries.

The Post was unable to verify if the surfer in the video was the man involved in the accident.

Shenzhen Nanaoxichong Cooperative, the company which manages Xichong beach, issued a statement on Friday saying the activity was now banned.

“From [September 16] onwards, surfing is banned in Xichong as Xiyong Bay conditions are not fit for the activity,” the statement read.

The company added that all surfing equipment had to be removed from the area before next Tuesday, or it would be confiscated.

It also said there had been several accidents involving surfers colliding with swimmers off the beach in recent years.

The company banned camping on the beach earlier this year due to safety concerns, according to mainland Chinese news reports.

The beach, an hour’s drive from the Futian border checkpoint in Shenzhen and on the peninsula on the far side of Mirs Bay, has become a surfing hotspot in recent years as it boasts some of the biggest waves in southern China.

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Anthony Dickson, a local Hong Kong surfer, said it would be a shame if surfing was banned.

“It would be a big blow [to the community]. Surfing is taking off there, it’s quite popular,” Dickson said.

Yang Xue, a well known female surfer on the national team, is said to practise there, according to Dickson.

“With surfing being included for the first time in the upcoming [Tokyo] Olympic Games, it’s one less option for team China to be able to practice and participate there,” Dickson said.

Dickson added that the best way forward was for an area of the bay, where the waves are bigger and not suitable for swimming, to be cordoned off for use by surfers only.