Surfers and swimmers are separated and rules are enforced by authorities; how about skiers and boarders? |

Surfers and swimmers are separated and rules are enforced by authorities; how about skiers and boarders?

The problem with multi-disciplined sports sharing the same play areas is not confined to the ski slopes. Surfers and swimmers have been fighting for pieces of their own blue-water paradise for decades.

In rare cases, many beaches, or parts of them, are allocated for either surfboard riders or swimmers. More likely, you will find beaches using a flag system to determine where it is safe for swimming.

Along with ensuring you can swim with the knowledge of no rips or currents, it also is letting you can bathe in safety without the possibility of being whacked on the head by a fast-moving fiberglass surfboard.

A legal precedent was set in the mid-1990s in Sydney, Australia, when a swimmer successfully sued the local council that employed the lifeguards after he was hit by a surfboard in the swimming-only, flagged area, resulting in permanent paraplegia.

It scared the life out of all local councils and the lifeguard service.

The solutions, aside from erecting razor wire out to sea to segregate swimmers and surfers, was an increase in lifeguard numbers, allowing surveillance and enforcement on the beach and in the water.

Lifeguards were also given authority to issue on-the-spot fines and/or to confiscate the offending surfboard for up to two weeks.

Perhaps the resorts need to increase their mountain surveillance and teach offenders a harsh lesson, hit them in the pocket with fines, confiscate their equipment and/or ski pass for a week or two.

It certainly makes for a pretty lousy time when all your mates have been on the hill all day while your equipment sits in the resort compound. Worse still, you’re at the bar listening to all their great stories of an awesome powder day and you’re drinking water as you can’t afford a beer as all your cash was wasted on fines you were issued for being a goose on the hill.

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