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Old    Brian (TXSurf) (bac)      Join Date: Feb 2008       07-17-2008, 7:19 PM Reply   
Hey surfers, as many of you know, there have been a rash of tickets for wakesurfing lately, most on the East coast. So far at surface, they appear to be misinformed and uneducated officers that are issuing the tickets. I have sent letters to the members on EORG that have been ticketed to provide help.

Please don't be scared to surf because of a ticket. There are plenty of laws out there that are in our favor for keeping wakesurfing alive. If you or someone you know has been ticketed FOR wakesurfing or negligence due to doing so, please contact me personally, my email is in my profile.

Thanks!

Brian
Old    antifan (mars)      Join Date: Aug 2005       07-19-2008, 5:22 AM Reply   
I deeply appreciate your efforts but suspect the ticketing Virginia wardens are not misinformed nor uneducated, in fact... I'm pretty sure they know exactly what they are doing in *creatively* interpreting a loophole in a law in order to cite something they perceive as a nuisance.
If the wardens want to ticket you, they will. If there isn't a law that applies, they'll bend one or just hit you with a "reckless" type ticket. The courts pretty much rubber stamp these citations as the court date inevitably turns into a "he said, she said". The Judges just about always side with the officers in such instances implying that if you were stopped, you were doing SOMETHING you shouldn't have regardless of what you claim.
If you surf where they are ticketing realize it can and probably will cost you.
I'm not sure meeting this challenge head on is the way to go. Perhaps getting clarification on the rules from a state level would be better. The local judges have too much invested in their respective communities and local officers to be able to rule dispassionately.
Old    Brian (TXSurf) (bac)      Join Date: Feb 2008       07-19-2008, 8:05 AM Reply   
I am in complete agreeance with you in the "creativity" thing, where they will just loophole around it (remember, there are loopholes around loopholes to get a ticket dismissed as well) and issue a citation for negligence, as they have the power to do for just about anything. However, I respectfully disagree, I do not think that all officers/rangers are properly informed, as we have seen in the past with confusing teak surfing with wake surfing. Interpretation is not our friend. I think that some sort of education would be the first step in showing that the sport can be as safe as any other watersport when done properly.

As is going on with the most recent VA case at Gaston, I tried to send him the information pertinent to his state and the contact info for those people in the VA BLA. He was already on top of it. Truthfully, with the details of his case available to me at the moment, he will most likely lose, as the actions of the surfer were dangerous. I know I am not the only one that feels as though the negligence ticket was brought on by his rider. He proceded to surf in front of the officers a few more times and was then stopped and ticketed.

I'm not trying to come out like the head of an angry mob with torches and pitch forks ready to burn the town down running around fighting tickets here and there. All we want to do is safely promote the sport, make sure that those in charge of our waters understand the the sport and hopefully reduce the number of incidents. And just to make it clear, I am not personally offering to "fight" these cases. I am simply collecting information relevant to the incident so that I can help in providing references and/or links to their states boat laws that support or possibly do not support the action they were ticketed for. Obviously, if you bring heat upon yourself, you should not be surprised when it shows up. For now, I will continue to assist those where I can with these tickets. This issue is something that is important to the wakesurfing community. If someone doesn't voice their opinion, who will? If we just sit back and do nothing, law enforcement has a victory and we lost our sport
Old    antifan (mars)      Join Date: Aug 2005       07-20-2008, 11:46 AM Reply   
TX:
Thanks again, your comments are considered and informed, I should have been more clear in my post... I am referring to the wardens in VA (where teak surfing is not illegal, just not advised!?!)
I suppose it would help us all out if we could get everyone to agree to surf only in the generally accepted correct, safe, and sober fashion. I hesitate to mention what I saw a fellow surfer doing yesterday :-(

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