#Local Government
Kouga Executive Mayor and Mayoral Committee
South Africa

In light of the lockdown ordered by President Ramaphosa on Friday, 27 March 2020, Kouga has heeded to the call for self-quarantine and isolation. Municipality residents have been asked to obey certain restrictions, one of which is a surfing ban.

With the greatest respect for the rules propounded by the municipality, we humbly ask the Mayor and Council to reconsider their position on the matter. As discussed in the petition, surfing can easily be conducted in a safe manner that does not increase the risk of viral spread, but instead, promotes the health and well-being of participants.

Dear Kouga Executive Mayor and Mayoral Committee,

Thank you for helping our community respond to COVID-19 with courage and compassion. The people of Kouga have gleaned strength from your leadership during these uncertain times, and will continue to do so as we navigate this crisis together.

With utmost respect the for the rule of law and the severity of the situation, we humbly write to ask for permission to surf. This activity can be conducted in a manner that puts no one at further risk of contracting or spreading the virus while espousing positive health benefits. We believe this is so for the following reasons:

Surfing is an individual activity. Surfers can respect at least a 2M distance both traveling to the ocean and within it. The 2M distance is easy to respect when surfing; sitting closer endangers surfers who could collide as they paddle for waves.

There is no evidence that saltwater in any way enhances transmission of the virus.

Surfing boosts immunity:

Cardiovascular exercise buoys the immune system, and experts recommend aerobic exercises as a preventative measure.

Deep breathing and holding one’s breath increases the elasticity of the lungs, and, in turn, the ability to cope with upper respiratory disease.

Spending time outside breathing clean, fresh air is also expert recommended as a prophylactic measure against COVID-19.

Submersion in cool or cold water has multiple health benefits including: reduced inflammation, tension, fatigue, memory loss, negative mood states, significantly increased vigor-activity scores, pain relief, and improved general well-being.

Note that many other countries around the world, some of which are far more stricken by COVID-19 than South Africa, continue to allow surfing. These include the vast island nation of Indonesia, Australia, Hawaii, other parts United States, and the Caribbean islands.

We take the virus and the municipality’s rules seriously, like paying taxes and obeying traffic laws. If this privilege is bestowed upon us, we will not squander it, but cherish it as one of few freedoms in these fraught times.

Surfing is one of Kouga’s greatest prides, drawing tourists from around the globe every month of the year and thousands of spectators for the annual World Surf League contest. Now, the tourists have gone and the professionals may not come, but the locals remain.

Kouga residents are looking for support wherever they can find it in the wake of COVID-19. For surfers, a dose of ocean provides strength and calm for the mind, the body, and the heart-- comfort that we seek most during these challenging times.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Please let Kouga surf!

Information Sources:


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The Please Let Kouga Residents Surf! petition to Kouga Executive Mayor and Mayoral Committee was written by Kouga Surfers and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.