Surf Reef Is 'Too Hard'

18 May 2010, 14:44 | Updated: 18 May 2010, 14:52

Boscombe's £3 million artificial surf reef is 'too difficult' for surfers, according to a report published today.

The man-made reef was the first of its kind in the northern hemisphere when it opened in November.

But, a report by marine experts at Plymouth University reveals it's only achieved four out of eleven of its objectives.

Mark Davidson who wrote the report says only experienced surfers can enjoy the waves:

"The waves on the surf reef are significantly steeper and more challenging than the natural waves around Boscombe Pier."

The report also found that the waves were shorter than the design criteria and less consistent than its neighbouring, natural beach.

Roger Brown, Bournemouth Borough Council's Service Director for Leisure, defended the surf-reef:

"The reef has made a significant contribution to the overall regeneration of the Boscombe area. It's now a watersports destination in its own right with a 32% increase in visitor numbers since the reef was installed."

But, he admitted that the waves are extremely challenging and not as frequent as required.

The council is now witholding a £150,000 performance payment from the reef's contractors, New Zealand firm ASR Ltd, until the issues are resolved.

The firm will outline their plans for improvement at a council meeting on May 26th.