Just got to St. Martin and discovered my favorite spot has been BANNED.
From the newspaper of St Martin...
MARIGOT--Unbeknownst to many, the seemingly harmless sport of kitesurfing has been banned in the bay of Le Galion since two Prefectoral bye-laws were passed in March 29 of this year forbidding the practice in the Reserve Naturelle.
However the ban appears not to be enforced. Kitesurfers continue to surf pending a study that will be completed in September this year that may result in a compromise between the Reserve and the kitesurfing community and water sports operators such as Windy Reef that depend on the sport for their livelihood.
Kitesurfing is part and parcel of popular water sports activities that draws tourism to the island. On the other hand Le Galion and Baie L'Embouchure are destined at some point to become entirely national park, returned to the people of the island, free of commercial enterprises.
The sport has come under criticism due to accidents that occur as well as from complaints filed by snorkelers and swimmers at Le Galion to the Reserve. An American tourist was reportedly knocked off his horse by a kite surf sail resulting in a broken arm and accidents are reported frequently in the Mediterranean.
Kitesurfers were stunned by the decision and immediately formed their own "Kitesurfers Collective" which submitted a petition protesting the decision to the Prefecture. Before imposing a total ban the Reserve previously attempted to mark out zoning areas for Kitesurfers but apparently these zones were not respected. The bay is smaller in area than Orient Bay.
The new manager of Reserve Naturelle Romain Renoux only took up his post at the beginning of June, two months after the decision was taken, and has stated his willingness to look at both sides of the argument.
The study will look at how the sport should be regulated in terms of safety, zoning, and limiting number of Kitesurfers on the water at one time to satisfy both the Reserve and the Kitesurfers.
That said it is by no means certain the ban will be overturned. Renoux does not have that authority and Prefet Jacque Simonnet clearly stated last week the bay at Le Galion is "not adapted" for Kitesurfing and poses a threat to families and walkers on the beach. He added Kitesurfers will be fined if they are caught surfing.
Link to the original below.
http://www.thedailyherald.com/sports/lo ... g-ban.html