Surfers Against Sewage’s (SAS) new campaign Protect Our Waves (POW) is having its first action, The Gathering, a mass paddle out, in association with local campaign group Access BroadBench Association (ABBA). Surfers from across the nation will paddle out at Kimmeridge Bay at 11am on Saturday the 20th of June, which is International Surfing Day. The action will call on the Secretary of State for Defence to allow surfers’ access to Broadbench, a special wave found on the outer boundary of a Ministry of Defence (MoD) firing range.
PHOTOCALL: 11am, Saturday the 20th of June, in front of Kimmeridge Bay car park there will be a mass paddle out by surfers, wind surfers, kite surfers and other water users.(Directions below.)
Broadbench is a quality wave in Kimmeridge Bay, described by many as one of Britain’s best. Unfortunately it falls right on the outer boundary of a MoD firing range. SAS are not asking the MoD to reduce their use of this important firing range. However, SAS believe there is a compromise that will ensure surfers and waveriders can have 100% access to Broadbench without impacting on the MoD’s full use of the firing range.
We are calling on the Secretary of State for Defence to implement SAS’s compromise, changing where the MoD currently fire from. This will in turn change the direction of the MoD’s firing and could leave Broadbench outside the boundary of the firing range. It will not impact on the MoD’s use of the firing range, leaving surfers and waveriders with 100% access to Broadbench and the MoD full use of their range.
International Surfing Day (ISD), will see surfing events taking place all over the world. There will be events in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia but nothing like the Gathering. SAS expect the Gathering to be the best-supported event with mass participation for the paddle out protest on ISD.
Andy Cummins, Surfers Against Sewage Campaign Manager says: “SAS’s Protect Our Waves campaign is galvanising a mass of support for the Broadbench wave. The water sports community is standing up for their rights, and lefts on International Surfing Day. We’re calling on the Secretary of State for Defence to do everything in his power to implement a compromise at Broadbench.”
Dr. Robin Canniford from the University of Exeter Business School says: “My studies have highlighted the social and economic benefits of waves, and Broadbench is a prime example. The wave benefits people from every walk of life and the tangible benefits are far reaching, way beyond the surfing community. We should learn from previous cases in the US and Australia and embrace these valuable commodities and not let the MoD restrict their use.”
Guy Penwarden, local Broadbench surfer and campaigner says: “Broadbench is a special wave, a jewel in the British surfing crown and having to watch it going unridden is heartbreaking. Surfers and the MoD can use this area without conflict and we hope the Secretary of State for Defence will recognise this. ”