Different Lockdown Rules are Causing Confusion in the Surfing Community (Australia)

Australia is home to approximately 2.5 million recreational surfers, over a hundred surf schools, and an estimated 2,000 accredited surfing coaches.

The country is one of the world’s premier surfing destinations with an array of beaches with waves for beginners and seasoned surfers.

Surfing has been part of the Australian lifestyle, but with the spread of the COVID19 pandemic, this came to a temporary halt due to restrictions. Beaches are closed, outdoor and travel activities are limited to contain the spread of the virus.

However, it seems that the message is not getting through since some beaches are packed than usual.

COVID-19 risks

While Australia has implemented social distancing rules, many are still going out to surf saying surfing still falls within the recommended physical distancing guidelines.

Many people are confused by what social distancing order to be followed as beaches are still rammed and crowded on most days. With the contradicting information, surfers and beachgoers are put at risk as tiny drops of virus can be transmitted through the air.

Kim Prather from the University of California San Diego said that physical distancing is only safe if the air is not moving. Surfers keeping a safe distance of 6 meters away from other people are not safe at all as coronavirus can be spread through airborne transmission.

Prather’s statement was contradicted by Hanna Sassi of the University of Sydney saying there has been no consensus data to support that the virus can be transmitted through airborne contact.

But this does not dismiss the likelihood of surfers and beachgoers getting the virus especially when large droplets carrying the virus settle on surfaces.

Surfers find their own surfing spot

When asked about her opinion regarding the lockdown, Katie Stoddart, a surfer from New South Wales said she still goes out and surfs on her own for 45 minutes maximum. She avoids busy spots and heads down to an area with fewer people.

Some surfers have temporarily put their  surfboards away while some are still out to seek those water waves. The confusing lockdown rules caused surfers to go somewhere else, go out on less busy times, or stay at home.

As experts continue to learn discoveries about COVID19, this does not mean that physical distancing keeps you safe from the deadly virus.


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