Safety of hydrofoiling called into question

Concerns have been raised for the safety of surfers and swimmers in Bournemouth amid the rise in popularity of hydrofoiling.

A hydrofoil board is a surfboard which leaves the surface of the water.

According to the Daily Echo, there are calls for the council to ban them around busy surfing spots.

The paper quotes an anonymous source who says they are dangerous.

“The foil itself is essentially a guillotine. As you catch the wave the foil system lifts the blade out the water about three feet above the water surface.

“If it collides with somebody it is not just a surfboard it is a blade with wings, people have been pretty mangled up by these already.

“If you are hit by one you are going straight to hospital if you are lucky.”

“In beaches around the world they are banning foiling, I have emailed the council to see if they are.

“It doesn’t mean they cannot use them, they just have to go somewhere that is not as busy.

The source says that many hydrofoilers are ‘doing it safely’ and ‘are in control’, but worries that others will think it’s great fun, want to do it, bit won’t have the skill level and someone will get hurt.

The surfer suggested they could head to quieter areas, or areas like Poole Harbour where windsurfing and kitesurfing already happens regularly.

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, portfolio holder for tourism, leisure and culture, told the Daily Echo that the council has been contacted with concerns about the safety of foiling.

“This particular sport hasn’t been an issue in the past, but safety is our first concern and we’ll be examining it more closely in the run up to the peak season,” Iyengar says.

Image of hydrofoil wing surfers in Poole Harbour courtesy of Scott Chappell.

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