Dorset

Hengistbury Head surf reserve 'not part of council plans'

Hengistbury Head long groyne Image copyright Chris Downer / Geograph
Image caption Guy Penwarden claims the long groyne could be remodelled to create a "point break-type wave"

Proposals for a surf reserve at a Dorset beach will not be incorporated into planned coastal protection works, a council has said.

Former competitive surfer Guy Penwarden had urged Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council to consider reshaping a groyne at Hengistbury Head.

His report to the council claimed the changes could create surfable waves.

But BCP leader Vikki Slade said, after reviewing the report, it was not something the council planned to do.

Mr Penwarden, who lives in Bournemouth, said he had liaised with the Coastal Marine Applied Research team at Plymouth University and met members of BCP's beach management scheme before submitting the draft proposals.

He said remodelling the long groyne would create a "point break-type wave for the surf community", surfable on all tides and on more days per year, "even on small summer swells".

Ms Slade described Mr Penwarden's report as "fascinating" and said the authority had been in discussions with him about "technical work" needed to repair the groyne, but said the proposals "do not form part of our plans for the area".

In 2009, a £3.2m artificial surf reef was opened, off nearby Boscombe beach, but a scientific study deemed the wave quality to be "sub-standard".

The company that built the reef, ASR Ltd, went into liquidation in 2012 and, by 2017, administrators PWC had been unable to trace its director Nick Behunin.

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