Checking the Magic Seaweed surf report, it was obvious this was going to be no normal surfing experience day. It was, however, going to provide an interesting test of creativity for one of Bournemouth’s most popular surf schools.
Located on the Dorset coast, Boscombe is fast becoming infamous for it’s “will-it, won’t-it?” saga, concerning the elusive man-made surf reef. The likely finish date is still unknown and local residents and business wait with baited, though somewhat pessimistic breath.
“Having to adapt to the temperament of the UK’s weather systems is a true test for our nations activity providers...”
Boscombe, on the other hand, is also the home of the Bournemouth Surf School. Residing in their temporary residence, unmistakeably positioned on the main undercliff promenade, two great big green metal containers provide an ample base whilst planning permission and construction is completed on a brand new premises. In a way, the containers are ideal and you couldn’t get real estate much closer to the action.
Having to adapt to the temperament of the UK’s weather systems is a true test for our nations activity providers, so it’s always interesting for us to find out just how certain companies cope with Mother Nature throws a £400.00 and day curve ball. Is it time to cancel?
Do you pretend that it’s OK and have your client flapping about aimlessly in the flat water, making excuses for still taking their money? Or do you innovate. Diversify. Get smart and adapt? Do you lark about and make the best of what you’ve got? You betcha!
Of course, it helps when you’re instructing a dozen slightly jaded stag party goers, who to be fair, would have a been a little worse for wear in anything more than a gentle clean break.
Cue a little competitive spirit, some educational (yes, that’s right) mini-games that reinforce the surf basics of paddling, fitness, balance and the ‘pop-up’ whilst keeping the group adequately engaged.
“...plenty to keep you occupied in the absence of 4/5ft barrels.”
The School seems to have the ultimate alternative on flat days and indeed, it proved pretty successful here. Enter the paddleboard. Shrewd investment in some of the longer, thicker boards - made especially for smaller, less powerful breaks, these boards are great for beginners to again practise balance poise and control of a board whilst standing on the water. With a single bladed paddle in hand, propulsion is provided and so, plenty to keep you occupied in the absence of 4/5ft barrels.
In many ways, a class is only as good as it’s teacher. Leading the way for us today was Samson. Madagascan by descent, the BSS instructor came to Britain four or five years earlier. Barely speaking a word of English, he approached the owners of the school for a job. Starting off cleaning down the boards, keeping the kit in order and generally assisting the day-to-day activities, the dread-locked lover of adrenalin sports has improved his grasp of the language, gained an education and secured recognised qualifications as a surf instructor. Armed with his rewards, he plans to return to his home country to start and run a surf school. With his obvious enthusiasm and passion for the sport, I have no doubt he will flourish. I have a sneaky suspicion that he’ll be sorely missed.
“In the face of potentially troublesome conditions, he along with Katja, made the day a success nonetheless.”
For me, I always love meeting people with such a raw obsession for what they do, and Samson has this in droves. In the face of potentially troublesome conditions, he along with Katja a tall and athletic German instructor, made the day a success nonetheless.
At times, Boscombe’s surf can be epic, with a classy 6-8ft left breaking off the pier a must for anyone who wants to make the most out of their experience here. But you have to be lucky to catch her. She’s not around all too often.
Fortunately for BSS, they’re ideally positioned to take advantage when she does.
The latest news on the man-made artificial surf reef is positive. A spokesman from the company building the reef recently voiced on the official website (http://www.bournemouthsurfreef.co.uk)“... work to start again on site in the spring. ASR is committed to this flagship project – we know the world is watching and we intend to deliver.”
Well, they’d better!
The surf reef is going to be put to good use, with not only surfers looking forward to it’s completion. Surf kayaking and waveski is becoming ever more popular, along with the kitesurfing crew that the Bournemouth and Poole area is renowned for also chomping at the bit for some action. How this will effect the BSS will be interesting to see, and Fidgetstick/ definitely aims to come back in the future and find out.
Overall, you can see that the school caters for all abilities and types of group. It’s relatively inexpensive with costs ranging from £15.00 for a lesson in the basics up to £40.00 for a 1-2-1 specialist lesson for the more adept among us. All equipment is provided by the school, so again, one less thing to worry about.
More than anything, you can tell that the instructors just love what they do - so how could you fail to love it too?