Anger at Greek Island kitesurf ban.
Kitesurfers are increasingly angry at moves to ban the popular sport from many Greek islands beaches. Kitesurfing has grown in popularity over the last decade and is now a major beach industry on the Greek Islands. Kitesurfing is now recognised by the International Sailing Federation and is under evaluation for inclusion as a recognised sport for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
The Greek Islands are noted for kitesurfing beaches and many have hosted international kitesurfing events.
Some of the most popular Greek islands for kitesurfing are the Cyclades, with Pounta beach on Paros and Mikri Vigla on Naxos having noted surfing centres.
In west Crete notes kitesurf beaches can be found at Agia Marina and Prasonisi and on Rhodes there are Kremasti and Fanes. Sigri beach on Lesvos and Keros beach on Limnos also attract many kitesurfers. The Ionian islands of Lefkas and Corfu also have noted kitesurfing beaches.
But many surfers avoid the recognised kite surfing centres and head for less populated beaches to indulge in their favourite beach sport. Now the Hellenic Coast Guard now wants kitesurfing banned on all but a few Greek beaches. They claim that ordinary bathers and beach visitors are in danger of injury from unregulated kite surfers.
The authorities aim to get kitesurfing restricted to those beaches that have a legitimate water sports school or water sports centre on beaches more than 600 metres long.
They want kitesurfing to be allowed only with defined corridors and without bathers nearby. They also want to restrict numbers in the water at any one time to just two. Kitesurfers on the Kitemag.gr have organised an international petition to try to prevent the ban.
A spokesman said: 'Due to the fact that Greece is attracted to many kiteboarders/kitesurfers from all over the world, we initiate this international petition giving them the change to support our effort. We expect logical, functional, and safety rules to be established, but banning kitesurf is not the solution.'
Protestors can add their name to the petition here on www.petitions24.com