Gondolas, unlike surfboards, belong on Venetian canals, Source: Unsplash

Venice authorities kicked out two tourists for surfing on the canals

Venice authorities kicked out two tourists for surfing on the canals

The city doesn’t allow water sports activities to take place on its waterways, and it generally frowns upon silly behaviour like that

Two tourists in Venice drew the ire of local authorities, including Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, after they were filmed surfing on electric hydrofoil boards along the famous Grand Canal. The incident happened yesterday, 17 August, and videos of the two men spread through social media causing an impromptu manhunt, with the mayor even promising a free dinner for information leading to their arrest.

Later, it became clear that two adventurists have been caught and fined 1500 euros each. But that’s not all. The two men (originally from Australia) also had their efoil boards confiscated – and one of these is reportedly worth around 25,000 euros. They were also told to leave the Lagoon City but not after having been charged with antisocial and reckless behaviour.

The city has also instructed lawyers to start proceedings against the pair for damaging the image of the city. The Australian consulate will also be contacted.

Venice - apparently not a surfing destination

The two surfers caused a ripple effect, both literally and figuratively, since their actions and consequent punishment brought to attention the threshold of tolerance that Italian authorities have for wanton tourist behaviour in protected historical sites.

To some people, the water sports activity performed by the two fellows might seem harmless, but authorities beg to differ.

For one, the fines were imposed technically because the two were riding on insured vehicles.

The Public Prosecutor is also evaluating whether to accuse them of risk to navigation while the Venetian civic advocacy is testing the legislative practice for the damage to city image concept, which is still somewhat vague to us, admittedly. Likely, it has to do with the global perception of what Venice is (and isn’t) as a destination.

And for those wondering who got the free dinner offered by the mayor, the media sources are mum on the subject.



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