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Surf schools: the overflow?  – Brittany

The beach is for everyone. With the health crisis, the Bretons, the first, rediscover this space of freedom as conducive to swimming as to stand-up paddle or fishing on foot. However, can we do everything about it without any rule being established? This is the question asked by many boating players to elected officials, whom they place before their responsibilities before a summer they fear murderous. “For the past year, schoolchildren have been deprived of swimming pool lessons; everyone rushes into nautical activities without knowing the codes, sometimes even without having learned to swim, ”notes one of them, citing an increased risk of drowning.

The tensions are real and the subject is highly sensitive. In the peninsula of Crozon (29) and Quiberon (56), as in Audierne bay (29) or Guidel (56), the number of surf schools is exploding. 54 private commercial structures, including 23 labeled, according to the last count carried out by the Ligue de Bretagne, to which are added 31 affiliated associative clubs. Much more, in fact, if we take into account the ephemeral signs that take advantage of the influx of holidaymakers, in the summer, to find their place in the sun, at little cost, without great consideration for other users. A maquis that irritates, even angers; however, tongues do not come loose easily: fear of “adding fuel to the fire” in an environment where “everyone knows each other”.

“The coastline is not stretchy. Each user must have his share of freedom ”.

The urgency of “defining the rules”

Asked by us, a professional of the sector, who wishes to remain anonymous, calls on the mayors, responsible for the coastal strip of 300 meters, to put order in “a bazaar in which no one finds his account, says- he. Neither the inhabitant, who no longer dares to come to the beach because of the crowded parking lots; nor the instructor, forced to fight for his workspace; nor the seasoned surfer, prevented from reaching the sea because there are so many people in the water; nor the summer visitor, whose swimming area is crossed by kite-surfs. “Lots of accidents in the water are not recorded, he says, urging elected officials to” put an end to the vagueness and define rules. ” The stake is security. “It is also ecological, says another professional. “For lack of sufficient facilities – parking lots, toilets – vans are squatting in public space, people even defecate there. The jungle facing the wind.

Everyone’s freedom and … the general interest

The problem is obviously not of the same magnitude, depending on the location. In Santec (29), a second surf school (third, if we count the nautical center, multi-slide) opened this April, next to the Léon school, created in 2009 by Jean-Baptiste Bodénès, in Dossen. “Last summer, I had to refuse people. There, we will be with seven monitors instead of four on the beach. We’ll see, “reacts the latter, not fundamentally hostile. Its new neighbors point out the growing number of new practitioners and the extent of the beach (1.5 km). “On the Landes coast, there is a school every 100 meters”, underlines Pierre Martin, one of the two partners of the Dossen surf school.

A situation quite similar to that experienced by the La Torche site, in Plomeur (29), a popular spot bordering on saturation, with fifteen surf schools listed between Pors Carn and Tronoën. Yet this is only the official list. An abundance which “needs to be supervised”, estimates Ronan Chatain, boss of ESB La Torche, the first surf school to open in the region, in 1994. “It is a regional issue. The coastline is not extendable. Each user must have his share of freedom, that he can practice in safety, while ensuring the preservation of sensitive sites. “

An educational role

Bodyboarder Frédéric Quéméner, who has just opened Glaz surf skol, a traveling surf school between the bay of Douarnenez, Cap-Sizun and the top of Audierne bay (29), does not say anything else. “I hesitated for a long time because schools are often frowned upon by surfers, on the grounds that they would participate in the overcrowding of spots. I think that’s putting them on a false trial. “” Pacifist “, he said” to understand the locals, annoyed at having to share the (rare) very good waves, just as much as the high level surfers who create their school to live off their passion. And he adds: “I believe above all that schools have a role to play, precisely, to educate new practitioners, to help them progress by making them aware of ethics and environmental protection. “

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