‘Something bad could easily have happened:’ Tofino surfer says jet skis came way too close

'Something bad could easily have happened:' Tofino surfer says jet skis came way too close
WatchJet skis and surfers often share the same beach but according to a local surfing teacher, this instance was too close for comfort.

Shannon Brown is the head coach of Canada’s national surf team and teaches high-performance surfing in Tofino.

He’s seen a lot of action on the waves, but what he saw the waters recently left him very concerned.

“Something bad could have easily happened,” Brown said. “Two guys on jet skis sort of rolled into the corner of the beach and started cutting laps just into the shore and then heading back out and jumping over waves and whatnot and having a pretty good time.”

Brown is referring to video footage from June 12 which shows two people on jet-skis riding the waves near surfers at North Chesterman Beach.

Brown says the people on jet skis were dangerously close to the surfers.

“Insanely close to where all the people were. You know with the camera angle you can’t really tell how far away they are but they were definitely way too close to be safe,” he said.

While it’s not uncommon to see people on jet skis riding the waves, Brown says these jet skiers were closer than usual.

There are no regulations on jet skis at North Chesterman Beach where the incident occurred and there isn’t much the District of Tofino can do either.

“While the municipality can prohibit the launching of motorized vessels from the beach, we don’t regulate the surf zone. The best thing to do if you see something unsafe is to call 911,” said Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne.

Brown says on that particular day the surf was small with lots of beginners in the water, and while they may not have noticed, people on the beach did.

He says at times, the jet skis came as close as five metres to the surfers.

“The surfers could have drifted in between them and the waves pretty easily without them noticing. You just hope they’re paying attention. You definitely hope those guys knew what they were doing,” said Brown.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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