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VIDEO: Wakeboarders filmed on the Regent’s Canal in King’s Cross

Questions have been raised about harmful impact on waterfowl population

26 April, 2018 — By William McLennan

Daredevil wakeboarders have been tearing along the Regent’s Canal dragged by a petrol-powered winch.

The men were filmed skimming along the surface of the water in King’s Cross on Wednesday evening.

It has sparked a debate about whether the canal can accommodate such thrill-seeking antics and what the impacts might be on the resident waterfowl population.

The Canal and River Trust, which manages the waterways, did not condone the activity and said it raised a number of dangers to people and wildlife.

Bob Chase, who is moored-up opposite Granary Square, said: “We are sitting in the boat and heard this shouting outside the window and then this guy went shooting by followed by an enormous splash and a cheer.”

Mr Chase, whose barge Fiodra doubles as a cinema and mindfulness retreat, said: “We popped our heads put the back of the boat and there was these geezers with a petrol driven winch. They had run this long cable out and then the geezer gets on to the wakeboard about a hundred metres down.”

A group of four stayed for around an hour, he said.

Mr Chase said: “The speed limit is four miles an hour and I think they were well in excess of that. Some people where worried about them upsetting the ducks. Probably where there are birds nesting it wouldn’t be a good idea, but I don’t think there are many along here.

“There’s a couple of coots behind the boat, but they’re tough old birds and they seemed fine this morning when we fed them some porridge.”

A Canal & River Trust spokesman said: “We’re always up for new things on the canal, but not this. There’s lots of wildlife in the area and there’s also a risk to people, especially if the cable snapped or the skier was to collide with anything on the water. For us the canal is a great place to go to slow down and relax, something plenty of people do in King’s Cross. Water ski-ing looks great fun if done in the right place, but not on the canal.”

Fiodra, which offers daily lunchtime mindfulness sessions from 12:30 to 1:30, will be in King’s Cross until May 6.

Mr Chase said: “We think if it as an island of calm floating by for people to step on to.”

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