Surfers looking for answers after scary situation on Petitcodiac River
Published Thursday, November 7, 2013 7:00PM AST
As Moncton tries to market tidal bore surfing to an international audience, it seems a miscommunication has led to a scary situation for a number of experienced surfers.
Daniel LeBlanc was surfing the bore with four others Wednesday morning on what started out as a great day for the sport.
“Well, the bore was amazing, very strong bore and some of us managed to get out in Moncton as we had planned, others were continuing on the wave to Riverview,” says LeBlanc.
But, when a wall of water from the causeway came rushing in, a fun day of surfing turned tense.
“It was quite a scary situation,” says LeBlanc.
Normally, the gates to the causeway upriver are kept open, but the province had closed them for environmental monitoring. Reopening the gates caused a sudden surge in water flow, which met up with the tidal bore.
“That was a big clash and that was very dangerous,” says surfer Melvin Berez. “I don’t know why they did that.”
Luc Richard was caught in the currents.
“Many, many years of surfing and those are the things that we can deal with,” says Richard. “Scary, no. Dangerous, yes.”
Former Petitcodiac riverkeeper Daniel LeBlanc is calling for an investigation and improved communication with stakeholders to reduce the chances of a similar incident happening again.
The city says the matter falls under provincial jurisdiction.
“As we all know, the Petitcodiac River is of provincial responsibility. Activities that have to do with the gate are therefore undertaken by the province,” says the city’s communications director, Isabelle LeBlanc.
“As it relates to surfing, the city has mentioned numerous times in the past that we do not encourage surfing on the river. It is highly dangerous and there is currently no safe river access.”
Despite the close call, surfers say they will continue to ride the tidal bore.