Daredevil surfers banished to shore when typhoons hit in Taiwan - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Daredevil surfers banished to shore when typhoons hit in Taiwan

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(CBS 8) - It's typhoon season in Taiwan, but this year a new "no surfing" law is generating a storm of another nature. Taiwanese officials are banning big wave surfers from paddling out before, during or after a typhoon.

From now on when a typhoon land warning is issued in Taiwan, it will be illegal for surfers to surf, even if the water is glassy and the waves are epic.

"It sounds like a law being made by people who are not educated," "Bird" Huffman said.

Huffman, owner of Bird's Surf Shed, has surfed all over the world and says in Taiwan, surfers wait all year long for a typhoon swell.

"Its' good surf as opposed to wind swell surf, which is not good surf. All these guys want to do is have a chance to finally surf some quality surf," he said.

In Taiwan, where deadly mudslides can bury entire villages, students and workers are told to stay home during the worst storms, and that order will now include surfers.

"It's definitely unfortunate that you can't surf when there's waves. It doesn't really make too much sense," surfer Michael Hageman said.

San Diego surfers we spoke to say Big Brother should stay out of big waves.

"It doesn't really seem fair, you know, who exactly is to say what is dangerous and what is not, I mean, if you know what you are doing," surfer Chris Leach said.

About 200 expert surfers in Taiwan say they have the skill to tackle typhoon surf, and don't feel the ocean should be regulated.

Although storm chasing surfers are often portrayed as daredevils, locals we spoke to say surfers should always be able to set their own limits.

"I would think that anybody who would try to do that would know what they are doing, but anytime people go out into big surf, people die from time to time. So I mean it's something I wouldn't try, but if some people want to try it, go for it but be safe," Leach said.

Safe or not, from now on Taiwan boat patrols will monitor typhoon surf. Bird Huffman says if he were living in Taiwan, he'd risk the $1,000-plus fine and paddle out if the waves were up.

"It wouldn't stop me. I'd go out. You have to, you are a surfer, that is what you do," he said.

San Diego lifeguards say they have the right to tell inexperienced surfers to stay out of the water on big surf days, but they say when the waves are huge, experienced surfers are allowed to paddle out at their own risk.

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