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Open Country
Sat  6.10 - 6.35am
Thurs 1.30 - 2.00pm (rpt)
Local people making their corner of rural Britain unique
This week
Saturday 18 October
Repeated Thursday 23 October
Listen to this programme in full
Boscombe Pier
Matt Baker catches a wave on Europe's first artificial surf reef in Boscombe near Bournemouth. 

“You have to think of it a bit like a Wonderbra. It pushes up and enhances what’s already there.”

That’s how surfer David Weight described the artificial surf reef being built around 300 metres off shore of Boscombe in Dorset. David tells Matt about how he first came up with the idea for the reef in 1993 and finally got the council on board in 1998. Ten years later the first bags have been placed in the sea.

Roger Brown is the city official whose job it is to make sure the reef achieves its objectives both in and out of the water. He shows Matt how the structure is already helping make waves on land anchoring redevelopment of the pier, bathing huts and creation of new restaurants.

So how exactly does the reef improve the waves? David Neilson from ASR Ltd,  the company which designed and is installing the reef tells him how. The secret is apparently being shaped a bit like a wedge of cheese.

The reef is expected to also bring in an abundance of sea creatures to make their home on it. Marine biologist Dr. Roger Herbert takes Matt to the Bournemouth Oceanarium to show him the kinds of sea life expected to take up residence.

Finally, does a surf reef matter to people living in the middle of town? Yes, says Lisa Northover, local councillor and creator of the Boscalicious website. She gives Matt a guided tour of the town centre and says the reef has given hope to areas that long felt neglected.

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