Surfers Against Sewage’s new campaign Protect Our Waves (POW) had it’s first action on Saturday 20th June, The Gathering, a mass paddle out, in association with local campaign group Access BroadBench Association (ABBA). Over 350 surfers from across the nation joined SAS and ABBA and paddled out at Kimmeridge Bay on International Surfing Day. The action called 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.
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 is not asking the MoD to reduce their use of this important firing range. However, SAS believes 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), saw surfing events taking place all over the world. There were events in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia but nothing like the Gathering. SAS expects the Gathering to be the best-supported event with over 350 surfers and supporter actively participating at the paddle out protest on ISD.
Andy Cummins, Surfers Against Sewage Campaign Manager says: “This unprecedented level of support from UK surfers really highlights the importance the SAS Protect Our Waves Campaign. Broadbench is a special wave with some special surfers protecting it. Today, International Surfing Day, the UK water sports community stood up for their rights, and lefts! We’re now calling on the Secretary of State for Defence to do everything in his power to implement a compromise at Broadbench.”
Guy Penwarden, local Broadbench surfer and ABBA campaigner says: “Today SAS, ABBA and hundreds of UK surfers united to protect Broadbench, a special wave, a jewel in the British surfing crown. Surfers and the MoD can use this area without conflict and we hope the Secretary of State for Defence will recognise this.”