CONCERNS have been raised for the safety of surfers and swimmers in Bournemouth amid the rise in popularity of hydrofoiling.

A hydrofoil board is a surfboard with a hydrofoil that extends below the board into the water. The design causes the board to leave the surface of the water.

There is a wing-like structure underwater that, at speed, lifts the hull above water.

However, a keen Bournemouth surfer, who asked to remain anonymous, has called for the council to ban them around the busy surfing spots.

He said: “It is great fun, it really is a great activity. They are able to catch the smaller waves.

“Bournemouth is well renowned for surfing and they are mixing with the surfers.

“In beaches around the world they are banning foiling, I have emailed the council to see if they are.

“It doesn’t mean they cannot use them, they just have to go somewhere that is not as busy.

“The foil itself is essentially a guillotine. As you catch the wave the foil system lifts the blade out the water about three feet above the water surface.

“If it collides with somebody it is not just a surfboard it is a blade with wings, people have been pretty mangled up by these already.

“If you are hit by one you are going straight to hospital if you are lucky.”

The surfer suggested they could head to quieter areas, or areas like Poole Harbour where windsurfing and kitesurfing already happens regularly.

“The problem is they want to ride waves and they are best around the pier and around Branksome which are areas often populated by surfers and swimmers,” he added.

“They are doing it safely, there are videos of these guys riding them around, between people, they are in control.

“But if someone sees it and thinks it is great fun and wants to do it and don’t have the skill level someone will get hurt.

“We are all there to enjoy the beach but perhaps don’t do it in packed areas.

“The level of surfing in Bournemouth is not very high, adding in the danger with foiling, it is going to end up in a bad way.”

Councillor Mohan Iyengar, portfolio holder for tourism, leisure and culture, said: “We’ve been contacted recently by a resident with a concern about the safety of foiling.

“This particular sport hasn’t been an issue in the past, but safety is our first concern and we’ll be examining it more closely in the run up to the peak season.”