Either side of the pier, visiting paddlers will find two classic south coast surf peaks that can both be good on their day, with the right combination of swell, wind and tide.
The artificial surf reef to the left of the pier has so far proved to be a damp squib with the project beset by continuous problems. On the few occasions that the reef has actually worked it was deemed to be an expert only break, more suited to bodyboarding than any other wave riding craft. However, the wave either side of the pier are still good and can deliver nice waves on their day.
If you’re not fussed by swell action then this whole section of coast is open for kayak touring and distance paddling. In particular, during any kind of westerly blow, launching from Sandbanks, in the west, and heading off on a downwinder can be fun.
For paddlers who just fancy a float, then during summer months when calmer seas generally prevail, messing about in your ‘yak in the water around Boscombe is pure bliss.
Onsite facilities are fabulous with plenty of eating and drinking establishments to keep you fuelled up and toilets are close to hand.
Parking can be a bit of a mission at peak times and if you’re not at the beach early, you may end up with a bit of a jaunt during high season. If you don’t fancy the slog up and down the hill then Sorted Surf Shop offer kayak hire.
How to get there:
Boscombe is one of the main towns in the county of Dorset and is, as such, well sign posted if you’re driving to the city. Trains head straight into Bournemouth centre from most major UK locations. Boscombe is a short bus or taxi ride away. Bournemouth also has an international airport with domestic flights available.
Plenty of facilities are available – from eating and drinking outlets, a surf/kayak hire shop and toilets are close by.
Other water users during busy times will need to taken into consideration. Although Boscombe’s wave is relatively soft breaking, the inside section can dump the novice unceremoniously on the sand. Currents can be prevalent at times and if you’re thinking of ‘shooting the pier’ then you’ll need to have your wits about you.
There are wooden groynes dotted along the beach and these will also need to be avoided.
The artificial reef is unfortunately a no go area at the moment.
Ins and Outs:
If you’re fortunate to nab a parking space on the sea front then getting your kayak to the put in is relatively straight forward. For those less fortunate then it can be a bit of a mission getting your boat to and from the beach.
It may actually be worth dropping your gear off first and then heading to find parking space.
Sorted Surf Shop are the local kayak hire company on the seafront and for those looking into accommodation and/or eating and drinking establishments then check out Urban Beach Hotel and Urban Reef Restaurant.
Boscombe is an example of a quintessential south coast seaside town and is an annex of the larger Bournemouth and Poole areas. Boscombe sits in the middle of Bournemouth Bay, with the Isle of White to the east and the Jurassic Coast to the west.
Boscombe is iconic with its pier, which recently had a facelift – as did the whole Boscombe area, in fact, as a result of the installation of the UK’s first artificial surf reef. Boscombe now boasts a lively seafront with bars, cafes, restaurants, exclusive high end sea view accommodation, a dedicated surf/kayak shop and attracts hordes of visitors when sunny weather hits.