Surfers on Venice's Grand Canal evoke mayor's wrath

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Image caption,
Gondolas, boat taxis and ferries sail along the Grand Canal in Venice in 2020

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.

On Wednesday Mayor Luigi Brugnaro called for the pair to be punished, and even offered anyone who spotted them a free dinner.

The two have since been caught and fined, local media report.

Foil surfing is the sport of riding a surfboard which has a hydrofoil attached - a device that lifts it above the water, instead of skimming it.

Surfing - along with sports such as paddle boarding and canoeing - is prohibited on Venice's Grand Canal.

But that did not stop two apparent water-sport enthusiasts from donning their boards in the city's historic centre.

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.

After videos of the two sparked some outrage online, Venice's mayor added to the flurry of disapproving comments by stating that the two had made a mockery of the city and appealed for help identifying them.

"To those who spot them, I offer dinner," he tweeted, describing them as "overbearing imbeciles".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

A police investigation then opened, the Corriere del Veneto reported. And later on Mr Brugnaro tweeted once more saying that the two had been identified. He did not, however, mention whether he would be inviting anyone round for dinner.

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.

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