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Dubai looks to surfer-only zone

The municipality is studying the prospect of designating a surfing area to prevent clashes with swimmers.

DUBAI // The municipality is studying the prospect of designating a surfing area to prevent clashes with swimmers. The statement yesterday came after surfers were warned or fined for "putting swimmers in danger" off the Umm Suqeim 2 beach. "We have demarcated an area for swimmers and are now studying the prospect of doing the same for surfers as well, taking into consideration the waves and swell," said Alya al Harmoudi, head of the coastal zone management and waterways section at the Environment Department.

She said that there were no restrictions on surfers provided they stayed away from areas exclusive to swimmers. "This move comes taking into consideration the safety of a large number of swimmers who flock to this particular beach most of the day throughout the year," Ms al Harmoudi said. Speaking about reports on the fines imposed on surfers, Ms al Harmoudi said that only one person was fined and this was because "he was not abiding by the rules and regulations specified for the use of the beach". The municipality also said any kind of professional training or commercial activity would not be allowed on the beaches unless the individuals or companies concerned had obtained permission from the coastal zone management and waterways section.

Att the Umm Suqeim 2 beach, the swimming area has been marked using buoys, said the officials. It stretches from the Fishing Harbour to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Meanwhile, surfers were unsure if the demarcation would help them. "The beach is too small and if an area is demarcated for swimming then it would be difficult to surf," said Samir Khaleel, a media executive based in Dubai. Members of the surfing community are drafting their own proposals for swimming and surfing areas and the construction of an artificial reef.

They will present this proposal to the municipality soon. The public may comment at www.dubaicoast.ae. pmenon@thenational.ae

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