Following the banning of surfing in Jeffreys Bay during the lock down period to flatten the curve of the corona virus, the Jeffreys Bay city council has decided to charge surfers to surf Supertubes, once the lock down period has lifted.
The controversial decision has caught the local surf community by surprise and not everyone agrees with the Jeffreys Bay Council regarding the pay to surf law.
The Council will have law enforcement at the Checkers beach, the keyhole to the right of the car park, the gulley to the left of the car park, top point and at the lower point gulleys.
It is expected that the revenue from the surf licenses will more than compensate for the hiring of additional staff at the Municipality to enforce the new laws.
Surfers can buy a license from the local council and will have to pre register before going for a surf. They will receive a coloured rash vest and will have to wear the vest if they want to paddle out to surf Supertubes.
There will be no licenses sold at the beach and surfers risk being arrested for attempting to paddle out without a license.
Visiting surfers will be charged more to surf than surfers who can prove they live in Jeffreys Bay.
“Following the arrest and the fining of a number of surfers during lock down, it is clear that they are willing to pay R 5000 per surf so we have set the tariff schedule accordingly,” said said Andile Addrates from the Municipality.
“The local surfers have moaned for years about the visiting surfers stealing all the waves and have been very nasty towards the international surfer who broke the rules and defied the lockdown and had no respect for the President of the country when he went surfing at Supertubes and we understand their frustrations.
“Visiting surfers will pay R 5000 per session at Supertubes while local surfers will only pay R 1500 per session which is very favourable and affordable for all the Wavecrest people.
We are even prepared to negotiate with the locals and limit the number of visiting surfers in the line up even though it means a loss of revenue for us,” said Addrates.
“The money will go towards creating jobs for our people including the law enforcement officers who will be on duty at Supertubes from sunrise to sunset come shine or rain or the sun,” added Addrates.
“This will be a win-win for all of us. The surfers will be happy that the waves now truly belong to the locals while we are happy because we are creating jobs.”
Tonnel Van Tonder from the Supertubes Surf Club says he has never heard of anything more ridiculous in his life and that the Surf Club will fight against the pay to surf licenses.
“Surfing has always been for free and we sort out the foreign surfers when they get out of hand so there is no need for this nonsense,” said Van Tonder, known for his barrel riding exploits at Supertubes.
However, the Council has warned against such an approach from the locals.
“Remember the issuing of a license to go surfing is a privilege, not a right and with Van Tonder’s attitude, I can foresee him having a problem getting a license and I will personally go and arrest him and fine him if I catch him surfing without a license,” said Addrates.
The proposed licenses are available from 1 April at the Council and surfers can top up as they surf which will help the bank balance when the onshore is blowing.
At this stage Tubes, Point and Magnatubes can still be surfed without a license but this may be reviewed by Council and new tariffs introduced on 1 April 2021.
Photo: An arrest taking place at Supertubes.