The special areas for umbrellas were delineated yesterday along the Surin shorefront by a party of officials with bemused swimmers and a Phuketwan reporter looking on.
Surin is probably the best beach on Phuket at present, as long as the jet-skis stay away. The masseuses have been relocated to shops behind the foreshore pathway and the vista of the umbrellas and the sea is stunning.
That's going to change if authorities carry out their threat to corral all the umbrellas in the Phuket governor's ''10 percent'' zones. It's an alarming prospect.
The umbrellas at Surin beach yesterday were all placed on the hard sand, close to the water's edge. The umbrella zones staked by officials were all at the back of the beach, on the uneven, hot sand.
Anyone heading from the zones to the sea will have to wear flip-flops.
The first of the zones was staked outside The Pool Beach Club, a very large new building going up at the southern end of Surin despite an order by the local council that all beachfront premises are headed for demolition.
Other zones were placed along the back of the beach, including one outside Catch Beach Club, Phuket's first beach club and perhaps still its best-known.
The demolition last year of all of the illegal restaurants and beach clubs on the seaward side of the pathway has left Surin looking beautiful. How much further authorities are prepared to go will be a test of nerve.
The problem with the Phuket Governor's plan to corral the umbrellas into his ''10 percent zone'' is that tourists are not guinea pigs. Most of the visitors at Surin especially are wealthy travellers.
Authorities may think they can herd the tourists around on the beaches, then if the governor's plan fails, try something else.
Phuketwan believes that in ignoring the views of the tourists and imagining they will tolerate being penned and told what to do at the beaches, the Phuket administrators are displaying an arrogance that could come at a high cost for the island's future.