02 March 2009

I'll Fight the Law

I'd been waiting for this day. I knew it was coming sooner rather than later.

In a nutshell, when I emerged from my mat session (at my homebreak in closeouts that weren't worth surfing on a board), I was met by the lifeguard. He was very nice. As a result, so was I. He told me that he had no problem with me matting, but that it was against the law since the mat doesn't have handles, or a string to hold onto or something equally unimportant. This lifeguard told me that he had no problem with me since I was obviously competent in the water and had fins. However, his boss would be the problem. Then he went on to relate that another lifeguard had been written up by said boss for allowing someone in some kind of kayak to go into the water. I guess what he was trying to say was, "I'm cool with it, but others won't be."

Well, I'm not cool with this law. As I walked back to the car, I was met by the crew. They didn't understand how the mats could be illegal for the reason he stated since there are so many surfers, especially in our crew, who surf without leashes. They wondered how that is any different from being out on a mat without being tethered to it.

I knew this was coming. This will not keep me off the mat. My attitude is: If you want me out of the water, you're going to have to come and get me out. Granted, at some point that's not going to end well. In the meantime, I'm willing to take my chances. The problem I foresee will come when I try to take the mat to a local point break. I've already been told that Malibu is out. I may try Sunset at some point. I'm not keen to mat there because of all of the rocks. I'm not sure what my options are for another point.

For those of you in L.A., Orange County or other parts of California, what is the status of this law? Is it a state law or is it local? I know someone commented that mats aren't illegal. I need that information.

(This is a post I've also made on the matting blog.)

10 Comments:

At 3/2/09, 1:41 PM, Blogger Worm said...

go to leo

 
At 3/2/09, 4:09 PM, Anonymous Dale said...

Surfsister,

Drop me an email (find on my website). I think I can be of assistance. You're not alone... there definitely are mat surfers who have advice to share, having "been there, done that."

All the best

 
At 3/2/09, 7:55 PM, Blogger Whiffleboy said...

...and the lifeguard wasn't just joking, right? It's a frickin' blow-up mat for crissakes. What's the worst that could happen if one of those things got loose? They might as well have leash laws for swimmies.

 
At 3/2/09, 10:27 PM, Anonymous Dale said...

Whiffleboy said...

"...and the lifeguard wasn't just joking, right? It's a frickin' blow-up mat for crissakes. What's the worst that could happen if one of those things got loose? They might as well have leash laws for swimmies."

A lifeguard once said that a partially inflated surf mat was a safety hazard because it could get wrapped around the rider's face!!!

 
At 3/3/09, 10:13 AM, Blogger gracefullee said...

I go leashless with my giant boards and my sponge. It doesn't seem right that your mat gets singled out.

 
At 3/3/09, 2:27 PM, Blogger Christian said...

As others have said, I don't see the difference between a leashless log and a mat.

 
At 3/3/09, 9:20 PM, Anonymous Dale said...

Christian said...

"As others have said, I don't see the difference between a leashless log and a mat."

One difference... the log can injure or kill.

The modern surf mat is about as dangerous as a giant marshmallow.

 
At 3/3/09, 10:58 PM, Anonymous PG said...

A guy almost drowned at Zuma Beach some years back while he was playing with a long, inflatable camping mattress in the shorebreak. It got wrapped around his face or something. That's the story I was told by a guard at Zuma when he rousted me out of the water one afternoon.

I had one lifeguard follow me along Palisades Beach in a jeep one afternoon, as I drifted along the shoreline with the afternoon current. He got on his bull horn once and ordered me to come in. I ignored him, which was hard. I figured if I stayed out long enough, he would go off duty as it got later and later in the evening. Sure enough, he finally drove off back to his tower and shut down for the day.

A lifeguard at Pipeline advised me to show my swim fins to any guard who was bent about the mat. He told me they judged swimmers going into the water by their fins. No fins, or Churchills, they kept an eye opn them. Duckfeet, UDTs etc, they knew the swimmer was in shape and serious.

 
At 3/5/09, 10:33 AM, Blogger Glenn Waggner said...

Nanny state at it's best.

 
At 3/7/09, 3:28 PM, Blogger Glenn Waggner said...

Hi, thanks for your compliments on my blog.
Yes, the traffic is scary on a bike. Especially with those lightheaded from eating one leaf of lettuce for lunch and driving a range rover while talking on the phone. Best time to ride is in the morning (when the tide's too high).

 

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