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Mayor says 'imbeciles' fined for surfing Venice's iconic Grand Canal

Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Authorities in Italy hit two tourists with heavy fines for surfing along the famed Grand Canal in Venice, a stunt that upset the city's mayor.

The iconic canal that winds through the city is not just Venice's main thoroughfare, it's also a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site.

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The tourists, who were not immediately identified, were caught on video using motorized surfboards to surf the waterway. They even dodged a water taxi after opting for the Grand Canal over the numerous beaches in the area.

Surfing and swimming have long been banned in the canal, which is a major tourist attraction and an important means of transportation for those who live in Venice.

In one video, the surfers pass under the Accademia Bridge and one falls from his board. However, he made sure to keep his cellphone out of the water to film his companion.

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro posted a video to social media in a call to punish the surfers. He called them "two overbearing imbeciles who are making a mockery of the city."

The surfers were ultimately tracked down and their surfboards confiscated. They were fined more than $1,500 each.

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