Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Sunday, 20 December 2009

Surf reef warning for 'beginners'

(L-r) RNLI Boscombe Reef lifeguards Justin White and Michael Winter on Boscombe beach/Barry Batchelor/PA Wire
The lifeguards want surfers to speak to them before trying out the reef

Lifeguards patrolling Europe's first artificial surf reef in Dorset are appealing for inexperienced surfers to talk to them before trying it out.

RNLI lifeguards Andy Reakes, 23, Mike Winter, 27, and Justin White, 23, prepared for Boscombe's reef training on other South West surf beaches.

Mr Reakes, on duty on Christmas Day, said the reef was not for beginners because "the wave is pretty steep".

The all-year-round team are being funded by Bournemouth Borough Council.

Traditionally Christmas Day and Boxing Day is a really good time to surf
Paul Clarke
Bournemouth Surfing Centre

"You cannot beat a Christmas day surf and we are all hoping that a good swell will mean the reef is working well and people can get in the water and try out their new boards or wetsuits," added Mr Reakes.

"It is not really for beginners, as there is a fairly long paddle out and the wave is pretty steep."

It is understood beginners will able to practise on a small wave on the east of the pier.

"Although I will be missing Christmas lunch with my family, I am expecting everyone to be in a happy festive mood so I think it will be a nice day," he added.

Paul Clarke, from the Bournemouth Surfing Centre, said: "Traditionally Christmas Day and Boxing Day is a really good time to surf.

"The season has kicked-off already and there has been amazing surfing through the whole of November and December.

"The main thing is you need a solid ground swell from the Atlantic."

The surf reef - built by New Zealand-based ASR to enhance waves - is predicted to bring £10m into Bournemouth every year.

It was created to improve surfing conditions using 55 sand-filled "geotextile bags" which are 225m (740ft) out to sea and and is part of an £11m regeneration of the seafront.

By the time the reef opened on 2 November, it had more than doubled in cost.



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SEE ALSO
Have surf reefs worked elsewhere?
02 Nov 09 |  Dorset
Reef lifeguards funded by council
30 Sep 09 |  Dorset
Surf reef safety questions raised
28 Sep 09 |  Dorset

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