Allow Responsible Surfing in New Zealand

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New Zealand is currently under Alert Level 4 lockdown.  At this time, it is so important for New Zealanders to work together to keep their social distance and prevent the spread of Covid 19. Children are missing school and many people have, at least temporarily, lost their jobs and been forced to close down beloved businesses. It is of the utmost importance that we do all we can to abide by social distancing rules to protect each other's health and ensure that these sacrifices are not in vain.  However, it is still encouraged to get outside and exercise to stay healthy, as long as we keep our two meters distance. 

Anyone who has surfed for long time knows that surfing is a low-impact and low-risk sport when practiced in reasonable conditions by experienced practitioners. Sustaining serious injuries or needing any sort of rescue services while surfing is the exception, not the norm.

And yet, while walking, running, horseback riding, bike riding (including mountain-biking), and even skateboarding and DIY construction have not been banned, surfing has come under fire. The rationale that the government has provided for this decision is that they will not be deploying ocean rescue services at this time. While this rule may make sense for some water sports, as any experienced surfer knows, we are more likely to be the ones doing the rescuing than being rescued. 

To allow participation in other higher-injury-risk sports while banning surfing is discriminatory. It is also causing a high level of confusion and tension amidst New Zealand's seaside communities.

As it is currently not allowed to tramp up mountains, but encouraged to walk down the track by your home, it would be completely fair to similarly expect surfers to restrict themselves to calm conditions, easily accessible local locations, and to take extra caution caring for their general safety (and, in doing so, looking after the safety of others in this difficult time.) 

Likewise, as now is not an appropriate time to risk injury by teaching yourself to skateboard, it is also not an appropriate time for beginner surfers to put themselves at risk in the ocean learning to surf. However, as discussed on the covid19.govt.nz website, this is a judgement call that the New Zealand government has trusted participants in other sports to make.

Please sign this petition if you believe that surfers should be allowed to surf in their local area as long as they abide by the rules of the Level 4 lockdown - i.e. keep your minimum 2 meters distance, take extreme caution, and keep your exercise local.

I believe that New Zealanders care enough for each other to be responsible and do everything they can to minimize risk and practice social distancing while surfing. Surfing is a therapeutic form of exercise that keeps its participants both mentally and physically healthy - please do not unfairly take that away from us.