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Should Hydrofoils Be Banned at Crowded Surf Breaks

The Hydrofoil Debate: Banning at Crowded Breaks?

I recently came across an article on Surfer Magazine about a group of Orange County surfers who started a petition to ban hydrofoils at Seal Beach. The local Seal Beach Board riders argue that hydrofoils are dangerous and have no place in crowded lineups.

As a surfer, I understand their concerns. Hydrofoils allow riders to travel at much faster speeds than regular surfboards. And they have sharp edges that can cause serious lacerations if a rider loses control. In fact, Yu Sumitomo - the owner of Thunderbolt Surfboards - had a bad hydrofoil accident years ago where the foil cut across his eyes and nearly scalped him! The photo shows just how brutal these injuries can be.
Yumi Somitomo on hydrofoil surfing accident
Photo credits to Foil Magazine

In the past, I've seen foilers cutting dangerously through busy lineups. A lot of regulars have commented that it seems risky to be slicing through a crowded lineup where accidents can easily happen. I think some foilers, especially visitors, get overconfident and that's when trouble occurs.

So I sympathize with surfers who feel uneasy with hydrofoils in the lineup. However, I don't think banning them completely is the answer. Better education on hydrofoil etiquette and safety could go a long way. Experienced foilers should teach newcomers proper technique and how to share the waves safely. Surfers and foilers also need to communicate clearly in the water to avoid collisions.

With some common sense rules of the road, we should be able to find a way to share the waves. What do you think - should hydrofoils be banned or are there solutions for safe coexistence?