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Two surfers filmed whizzing along Venice’s busiest canal have evoked the wrath of the city’s mayor. Videos of the two people foil surfing between boats and water buses on the Grand Canal sparked outrage after being posted online. Surfing – along with sports such as paddle boarding and canoeing – is prohibited on Venice’s Grand Canal. In footage posted online, the two appear to be whizzing along on electric foil boards while onlookers on boats gawp at them. One of the surfers seems to be taking pictures of the surroundings on a mobile phone before falling into the water.

The two surfers’ boards – worth around €25,000 (£21,122; $25,446) – were confiscated, Il Gazettino said. The two were also fined for endangering the safety of navigation along the canal, and were expelled from the city, it added. They face further criminal proceedings for allegedly damaging the image of the city.

A pair of tourists were fined this week for riding motorized surfboards down Venice’s Grand Canal, speeding and hovering just above the water’s surface. Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro called the tourists “overbearing imbeciles who make a mockery of the City,” tweeting a video of the incident on Wednesday and offering to pay for dinner to anyone who spots them.

Surfing, paddle boarding, and canoeing are all banned on Venice’s Grand Canal, according to reports. Swimming is also banned in the city’s canals. Venice has been dealing with incidents from overtourism, such as this, for years with the city just barely avoiding being included on the UNESCO World Heritage’s danger list last year after Italy declared the waterways around Venice a “national monument” and banned large cruise ships from passing through its canals.

Venice mayor calls out ‘imbeciles’ surfing Italian city’s historic canals
Two tourists in Venice, Italy, infuriated the city’s mayor by riding motorized surfboards through the famed Grand Canal this week, prompting Mayor Luigi Brugnaro to call them “imbeciles” who were making a mockery of Venice. “Venice is NOT Disneyland,” the mayor wrote as he posted a second video showing the pair skimming their boards under an arched bridge in the city widely known for its serene beauty. Passersby gaped and filmed the spectacle.

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Image courtesy Luigi Brugnaro / Twitter

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