17 March, 2014 17 March, 2014

Buzzing Drone Sparks Debate At Queensberry Bay

A debate has started to bubble over after an incident at Queensberry Bay in East London this past Saturday morning, 15 March. A group of surfers were out enjoying the clean waves rolling in at the quiet bay, while a drone flew overhead to capture the action.

Drones are becoming increasingly popular with video enthusiasts and spectacular footage has been captured over the past year or so and uploaded and shared via social media. One thing the videos don’t often show is the buzz of the machine as it tracks over head, plus the proximity can also be mistaken due to the lenses some of the cameras use. In other words, they fly a lot closer than it would appear, thanks to the wide angle lenses employed.

Beautiful, yes, but the soundtrack belies the true scene.

Two surfers who were out enjoying the session became annoyed with the drone and asked the videographer to stop ‘ruining the vibe’. One of the surfers, known only as Tim, said that he paddles out to get away from all the craziness of the modern world and to escape “phones and iPads and computers and stuff”. The videographer, meanwhile, asserted that it is a public beach and he has every right to be filming. He went on to say that should the surfers want some privacy, they should go home and close the door.

There have been other incidents around the globe where surfers have become annoyed with drones. The clip below shot in Palos Verdes, California, shows a surfer trying to stone a drone that was filming the scene as he was suiting up for a session. It also gives a better idea of the sound a drone makes while capturing its unique angle.

The footage from the Queensberry Bay incident was uploaded to Facebook [watch here], and the comments argue both sides of the story. What do you reckon? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

[update] The video has since been removed by the owner on Facebook.


  1. Rhyan
    17 March, 2014 at 11:24 am · Reply

    Personally I feel they should first ask permission to film.

    • Patrick
      17 March, 2014 at 12:59 pm · Reply

      of course; before some idiot starts throwing rocks at you…lol !

  2. Grant C
    17 March, 2014 at 11:25 am · Reply

    Interesting you should raise this discussion now. A chap at the Sharks rugby game was arrested for flying his drone over the Kings Park stadium whilst the game against the Reds was on. He was outside the stadium when operating his drone. Drone confiscated and they’re are trying to see what they can charge him with. Any legal beagles that can shed some light on this??.

  3. NickT
    17 March, 2014 at 11:31 am · Reply

    did the surfers give permission for the footage to be used…its a difficult scenario as its obviously not a commercial venture, but the footage could be used for promotional reasons by the drone owner in the future…if thats the case then dont the surfers have every right to have the footage removed….i agree with Rhyan in that they should ask permission to film, and if the surfers are unhappy then respect their wishes and move on!

  4. Greg I
    17 March, 2014 at 12:31 pm · Reply

    pretty good throw

  5. Patrick
    17 March, 2014 at 12:58 pm · Reply

    I don’t have much to say; it seems like the same kind of immature guys who beat people up are the same ones who throw rocks at people when there is a problem… well, if you can’t read or write or talk to communicate to someone that he’s being a bit disrespectful of the locals…throw rocks I guess….I don’t live or surf in the US or Australia, so I don’t have to deal with this lineup rage and enforcement. I found a place where we don’t get bothered and don’t need to fight. The only locals at the spot apart from us are non-human persons, dolphins that is, and they’re into sharing… If you want to be at peace and away from it all, I would suggest some atolls in the south pacific…trying to find peace in a semi-urban industrialized country is not very realistic in the first place. oh well….violence is always considered macho & cool by many in the surf community…keep throwing rocks & shaming the rest of us guys..;anyway, we would never surf where you guys are. We might get to throwing rocks at you…Lol ! Peace.

    • peeler
      20 March, 2014 at 10:22 am · Reply

      I do have a lot to say…
      If those d00ses can afford drones..they can afford sups and..wait for it… they can afford jet boards…it’s all the same yuppies…
      What shame are you on about?
      Thats urban surfing…

  6. loop
    17 March, 2014 at 2:02 pm · Reply

    Super annoying having that thing buzzing around yr head…Imagine making the mission to have a prefect dawny and some plick launches one of those things…

    Good throw dude.

  7. Sammy Swiegers
    17 March, 2014 at 2:53 pm · Reply

    “The videographer, meanwhile, claimed that it is a public beach and he has every right to be filming.”

    Then film WITHOUT the noise. It is after all a public place, as you said yourself, for all to enjoy…

  8. Kerry Nel
    17 March, 2014 at 3:33 pm · Reply

    what are the legal aspects regarding requesting not to have your image captured on someone else device i.e. privacy?

    • bill555
      17 March, 2014 at 8:27 pm · Reply

      legal aspects? are you ignorant? random celebrity pics going about their daily lives and the plethora of youtube vids doesn’t already tell you there are “legal aspects…”

      when used for commercial purposes, then you have some ground…

  9. Bushy
    18 March, 2014 at 6:09 am · Reply

    Use it as a shark spotter?

  10. JHL
    18 March, 2014 at 6:25 am · Reply


    I totally agree with the macho crap and honestly, who throughs a cupcake?

    But, how long do you reckon your non-human local mates will hangout in your/their harmonious stretch of coastline with a couple of these noisy drones hovering above?

    Anyways, care to elaborate on this spot? hahahah


    @disqus_ZP20DWS6BP:disqus is on to something!

  11. Erens Jafta
    18 March, 2014 at 10:32 am · Reply

    Make that Queensbury. Glad the video was removed. I was out there that morning and agree with Tim, have been surfing there with him in the early morning for years and that drone does take away from the whole peaceful ambiance out there. I probably wouldn’t mind later in the day – but early morning surfs are special.

  12. brad coetzee
    19 March, 2014 at 8:11 am · Reply

    Drone pilot made a mistake by secretly recording the guy moaning at him and then uploading the whole thing. Big mistake recording country folk too without their permission. They live in the quiet areas for a reason. The biggest mistake though is naming the spots he is filming at and then broadcasting it to the world. You have got awesome footage and I actually look forward to seeing more but please keep it vague.

  13. buzzer
    19 March, 2014 at 9:07 am · Reply

    I bet that dóós had a sup on his car roof as well…in that case hit first than ask questions later..right?

    • brettm
      19 March, 2014 at 9:29 am · Reply

      Lets sort this out ” Monty Python Style ” and have a public stoning for the pilot and his drone.

  14. darrel
    20 March, 2014 at 9:37 am · Reply

    The way I understand it – this article points out that the guys at Queens did ask the pilot to stop ie they aren’t the type to moer or throw stones first. As for the stoning video clip – maybe they also had asked and were told to go home and close the door… Patrick – you said quite a bit – by the way.

  15. Private Pile
    25 March, 2014 at 8:56 pm · Reply

    The Queensbury locals were lucky that the drone wasn’t carrying hellfire missiles like the ones deployed in Afghanistan. Maybe we will be debating the issue of locals arming drones to defend their local spots. If anyone is renting ground to air missiles contact me at OSAMA666

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