Trail of the unexpected: Surfers set for Dorset
Bournemouth's long-awaited artificial reef has opened for surfers. Ben Mondy tests the water
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 7 November, 2009 : - - Boscombe Pier, Bournemouth, UK - I was here to experience the reef and see whether this was a wave worth seeking out. To do that, I first had to undertake a five-minute, 250-yard paddle, which indicates immediately that this wave is not for beginners. Although lifeguards patrol the reef you most certainly wouldn't want to get in any trouble that far from the safety of land.
As I paddled cautiously up to the group of surfers at the tip of the reef, I found that I was in the minority: the crowd consisted almost entirely of bodyboard surfers. My first engagement with one of these types didn't prove to be a positive experience. My friendly "G'day" and question about the conditions was met with a rudeness that bordered on outright hostility. It seemed I was a victim of the peculiar piece of surfing ridiculousness known as localism. Considering the Boscombe reef was officially less than 24 hours old, this had to be some form of world record.
I had more pressing concerns: catching a wave. "It's pretty tricky, isn't it?" said Guy, a friendlier surfer in his mid-forties. "It comes out of deep water and hits this reef and drains really hard." Guy was right: while the waves were only 4ft high, they had tremendous power and were breaking on a shallow reef. When I say reef, I should in fact say "series of large geo-textile bags pumped hard with sand".
I managed to score some waves, although it was a challenge for a surfer of even my experience. This reef produces high-quality waves but at this stage you have to be pretty good to ride them.
It was hard not to find positives in this project. In the decade of gestation, the project has been criticised for being late and over budget, and fishermen have objected to its potential effects on fish stocks. But from my perspective, a brave council has created a potentially quality wave and the overriding benefits for the community are plain to see. What's not to love?
Read thre full article at The Independant
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Ben Mondy / The Independant
Artifical Reefs - Surfersvillage