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Venice mayor calls for hunt for ‘idiots’ filmed surfing along Grand Canal

Italy, Veneto, Venice, Grand Canal. Two men were seen surfing along the canal on Aug. 17, 2022. Getty Images

When most people think of Venice‘s Grand Canal, they likely think of peaceful gondola rides and scenic views.

However, that peace was broken on Wednesday when two men were filmed gliding on their surfboards along the busiest canal in the city.

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In several clips filmed by shocked onlookers at various points along the canal, the two surfers were recorded as they dodged gondolas and water taxis in the historic city’s centre. One of the surfers can be seen taking photos and video of the joyride before falling into the water.

The clips of the unnamed men, who appear to be riding on motorized foil surfboards, caused ample outrage online, including from Venice’s mayor, Luigi Brugnaro.

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“Here are two overbearing idiots who make a mockery of the city,” Brugnaro wrote in Italian on Twitter. “I ask everyone to help us identify them to punish them.”

Brugnaro said the incident is a matter of public safety, as surfing (and also paddle-boarding or canoeing) is strictly prohibited on the Grand Canal. He even said he would “offer dinner” to the person able to spot the two surfers.

Another video of the incident was posted to the Instagram account Venezia NON è Disneyland (translation: Venice is not Disneyland), an account dedicated to outing bad behaviour in the city. The account shared the video, which had been edited to include Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys.

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Comments on the Instagram post were divided, with some users calling the surfing “shameful,” and others writing that the video was “cool.”

According to the BBC, a police investigation began shortly after the incident.

Brugnaro later tweeted to confirm that the two men had been identified, and their foil surfboards confiscated.

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The BBC reported the two surfers will face criminal charges for public endangerment to do with navigation on the canal.

It remains unclear whether Brugnaro has purchased anyone dinner.

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