Fame beckons – after writing this I’m off to be interviewed for BBC Radio Four’s ‘You and Yours’ programme (Mon 19 Oct Mid-day since you ask) on the conundrum of Bournemouth’s surf reef and the impact it may have on Britain’s self-styled surf city Newquay.

Now assuming the reef is ever finished there are some who say it will attract surfers away from Newquay to Bournemouth and who feel that Newquay’s surf business owners are being somewhat complacent in the face of this potential ‘threat’.

In my opinion there are a number of factors to consider here. First, anyone who chooses to travel to either Newquay or Bournemouth to surf is either desperate or not a ‘real’ surfer. What ‘real’ surfer would want to travel hundreds of miles (or even ten miles) for a weekend surfing Newquay’s overcrowded, overhyped waves and then endure an evening in the piss stinking streets avoiding binge drinking morons, fat lasses and fights to finish it all off with a night in some pseudo surf lodge (the last time I stayed in Newquay was to review one of these places for The Guardian – it was so crap I bailed out at 10.30pm and went back to sleep in my camper near Watergate Bay)?

On the other hand, what ‘real’ surfer would want to travel tens of miles (because let’s face it, we’re looking primarily at the London crowd here) to Bournemouth’s pseudo surf beach with its designer beach huts and surf boutiques to ride an overcrowded wave that with the best will in the world will rarely ever be anything other than mediocre? I hope I’m wrong on this fact since over a million quid has been invested on the new reef, but for any reef to work you have to have decent, consistent swell and wave conditions and Bournemouth has neither.

Which leads us on to point two – the fact that both destinations are likely to attract the lowest form of surfing life, the surfer wannabe who cares more about image than wave riding. Newquay long ago sold its soul in return for their cash, and Bournemouth is well down the road to doing the same.

And that brings us neatly on to the final point; bearing all the above in mind, what ‘real’ surfer (by which I mean those of us who do our best to avoid the crowds when we’re on surfari and as such keep away from surf ghettos like Newquay and designer surf outlets like Bournemouth) really cares?

I wouldn’t like to see anyone’s business go under in Newquay as a result of Bournemouth’s new role in Britain’s surfing life, and I really do hope that the new reef creates great designer waves for the designer surfers who will visit it, but at the end of the day, like most British surfers I don’t really care.

I do feel grateful that I’m not a local in either town though…



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