The Inertia Gear Editor

On Monday, a Spanish woman was arrested for surfing at Zurriola Beach in San Sebastian, Spain after testing positive for COVID-19 as Spain experiences a second wave of the Coronavirus. A lifeguard at the nearby La Concha Beach, the woman was in the water when other lifeguards who knew she was supposed to be in quarantine spotted her and alerted the police. Lifeguards approached her in a boat, but she refused to leave the lineup when asked. When she did leave the water an hour later, she was met by authorities in hazmat suits with a pair of handcuffs. She was arrested for disobeying authorities and presenting a public health risk. In the video, above, which already has over 56,000 views on Twitter, she can be seen being detained and arrested by the Ertzaintza, the police force in Spain’s Basque Country. Also of note in the video are what look to be decent waves. At least she wasn’t breaking quarantine for ankle breakers.


On Twitter, comments ranged from indignation at the reckless action endangering others to praise for the young woman ignoring ‘the farce’, presumably referencing COVID-19.

This comes at a difficult time for Spain, as the country is struggling to reopen safely. In fact, countries across Europe are struggling to reopen and contain the spread, but Spain in particular seems to be having the most trouble, with the New York Times reporting 114 new infections per 100,000 during the last week of August there. That’s faster than the rate of spread in the U.S., twice as fast as the rate of spread in France, eight times the rate of spread in Italy and Britain and 10 times faster than in Germany. Scientists and politicians blame nightlife in Spain, which saw a rapid and not-always-socially-distanced reopening. Authorities are also blaming tightly-packed family gatherings and the return of tourism.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, surfer foibles have made for some entertaining online content, such as the SUPer surfing perfect Malibu solo or the two guys who lost their boat at Lowers, but this is the first I’ve heard of someone who has actually tested positive knowingly flaunting quarantine to surf. While we do know that being outside makes it much less likely that one will transmit COVID-19, we have no idea exactly how much risk it presents.


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