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Safety experts say tidal bore surfing should be left to the pros
Hundreds of people have lined the shores of the Petitcodiac River in Moncton over the last three days to get a glimpse of some professional surfers.
While surfers from all over the world have flocked to the area to ride the tidal bore, safety experts say the Petitcodiac River is not a typical river, and surfing it is best left to the pros.
Moncton Fire Chief Eric Arsenault says there is no law preventing people from hitting the river but he strongly advises against it.
“The people that have surfed the river today are professionals. They are expert surfers. They know this business and even they are telling us it is dangerous, it is not for the uninitiated,” says Arsenault.
Alison Dykeman, the aquatics director at the YMCA, agrees with Arsenault.
“Unless you are experienced in dealing with currents and undertows, they can be very dangerous to the average person and swim skills need to be at the forefront,” says Dykeman.
Jim Lawrence has spent two days watching the surfers. He’s excited by what he sees, but recognizes how truly challenging it is.
“Oh, I think it’s incredible,” says Lawrence. “I’d like to get down myself, but when I saw all the mud down there, I thought, ‘well, that would be incredibly difficult to go through.”
California surfer Colin Whitbread says a huge amount of safety preparation was done before the surfers hit the water.
“You really have to be prepared for it,” says Whitbread. “You have to be in good shape and for us, we had two wave runners that were assisting. Any time, if we were going down, they were picking us up, making sure we were OK.”
Local surfer Martin Levesque is also warning surfers that riding the bore is too risky to try solo.
“If you want to go in, just don’t go in alone for your first time,” says Levesque. “I think the big thing is, go with someone that has already been.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell