Fresh European Lockdown Restrictions: Can You Surf?


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Updated 21d ago

Just a few days after Europe was blessed with some of the meatiest XXL conditions ever seen, fresh COVID lockdown restrictions are being implemented across Portugal and the UK -- with France, Spain and Ireland already under some form of limited movement.

But what does that mean for us, the surfers? A few of the countries are rolling out partial lockdowns, meaning, it's ok to get outside only if it's within a short distance of your home. While others are fully locked and bolted down.

Pre (first) lockdown in France.

For instance, in England, lockdown measures will come in to effect from midnight on Thursday. Surfing, and exercising in general, is allowed, as long as you're not travelling great distances to do so. Keep it local. Surf alone, where possible. And make peace with surfing shitty waves. Travelling to other countries is off the cards too, so buckle down for four weeks (maybe more) of UK winter time. And the other countries that make up the UK have their own set of rules too. In Wales, residents have unlimited travel within the country, but foreign travel is discouraged. Scotland is currently considering tougher lockdown restrictions but has localised restrictions in place, see here for full details. Elite sports are allowed in Northern Ireland and travelling to outdoor spaces is permitted.

Meanwhile, our brothers and sisters over the water in Ireland have been locked down since mid-October, with special permits given to surfers who's livelihood it is to be in the brine. But no exercise unless it's within 5kms of your home. You can read a detailed report from our senior Irish correspondent Dylan Stott, here.

Moving into mainland Europe, and fresh lockdown restrictions have been implemented in Portugal, which could scupper big wave plans this season. Those already there are ok to surf but it's understood that as of November 4, surfers will not be able to move between municipalities – which is inline with the UK and Ireland. Restrictions are only on the municipalities that have more than 240 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, in the last 14 days. So while there's no restrictions for Nazare (or Peniche, as it were) there could well be in the future. Best to keep an eye on the local info for now.

Locals only for the foreseeable.

France is where things get a bit tricky. You'll recall that when lockdown came in the first time round, surfing was banned in l'hexagone. Four days ago, a new set of restrictions were put in place. People are allowed out for exercise, but only for one hour and in their local area. Our eyes on the ground say there's still some confusion, with people potentially mixing up the last lockdown rules and the new set, and are currently seeking clarification – but we'll bring you more on that as it comes in.

A few weeks ago, Spain imposed a nationwide curfew between 11pm and 6am. Restrictions are in place across the country. During the last lockdown, no one was allowed outside to even exercise, and the guidelines here are people can only go outside to work, buy medicine or if caring for the elderly or young. But, you can surf in your home town just not at other beaches.

Willi Aliotti, in, out.

Europe's favourite right hand point soaked country Morocco has suspended flights from international airports, with surfers only allowed entry if they have an invitation from a Moroccan company and a hotel reservation. Best to check whether your country is on the ok to enter Morocco list first and if your country is allowing international flight. Morocco imposed some of the toughest restrictions when lockdown came in, earlier in the year, and these plans can change quickly.

As always, seek local advice and check the restrictions on exercise before going outside. Add any in the comments below and we'll slot them in as things change or get updated. Cover shot by RIP IT UP.