The governance of the Boscombe Artificial Surf Reef, UK

Stephen Fletcher*, Pia Bateman, Andrew Emery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Boscombe Artificial Surf Reef (ASR) is the first ASR in Europe and is the flagship project of an ambitious scheme to regenerate Boscombe Spa, a resort-suburb of Bournemouth, UK. The Boscombe ASR therefore presents a unique coastal management challenge in Europe for which there is no precedent and little pre-existing management capacity. Through a multi-stage research process, this paper identifies the likely governance challenges that will face the Boscombe ASR. These were found to include overcrowding, a lack of surf skill and etiquette amongst visitors, conflict between different uses, and localism. Through a consideration of approaches to surf governance elsewhere, suggestions are identified for management interventions that may work in Boscombe. The paper concludes by identifying underlying tensions between the need to attract visitors to support the regeneration of Boscombe, the surf safety issues created by an influx of novice surfers, and the potential for the breakdown of the norms governing the self-regulation of surfing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-401
Number of pages7
JournalLand Use Policy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • Artificial Surf Reef
  • Boscombe
  • Bournemouth
  • Governance
  • Surfing


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