Dorset is perhaps better known for its long walks and hoards of retirees than its quality surf, however beneath its towering cliffs of Jurassic, fossil filled rocks, it hosts some truly classic set ups.
Despite the lack of consistently good waves, surfing is extremely popular in Dorset, with the sets at Bournemouth Pier rivalling The Severn Bore as some of the country’s most populated party waves. However there’s a strong community of core local surfers who head a bit further afield than the pier whenever the conditions are right, as local photographer Dan Hunter explains:
“Guys like Guy Penwarden, Gary Knights, Aron strong, James Bowden (before he emigrated to Cornwall) Gary Greenwood, Mike Walcroft and a host of others have been surfing out there since the beginning when it was an ultra low key place and you could surf all day by yourself, or maybe with a handful of others. In recent years the internet has made the place a lot more transparent and the crowds have really blown up there.”
“Etiquette out there has taken a dive also in recent years, many of the locals are trying to get a code of conduct mounted in the car parks so the surfers that travel from London etc can have an idea what is acceptable in the lineups there – for everyone’s safety really.”
“All in all though” summarises Dan, “it’s an idyllic place to surf, and when the numerous elements combine there really can be some magic sessions go down out there in relative peace, away from the madding crowds. This last few weeks has been a dream run over there with plenty of sessions to be had if you have the time (and allowance from the wife/girlfriend/boyfriend) to sit it out and wait for the optimum moments.”