WAVES of surfers will unite for a peaceful protest next weekend over a battle with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for access to one of the county’s best waves.

The dispute centres on Broadbench, a monster 15-foot tube at Kimmeridge Bay, long regarded as one of the UK’s best-kept surfing secrets.

It lies on the very edge of the outer boundary for the MoD’s ranges at Lulworth and access to the area has become increasingly limited to surfers.

As part of their Protect Our Waves campaign, the protest group will paddle out into the bay on Saturday (June 20) with their boards to show the importance of the site to them.

Andy Cummins, from Surfers Against Sewage, said: “Broadbench has always been on the edge of the firing range boundary, but there is a way the template could be moved. If it could be, the MoD could still have a full range and surfers can have full access to the wave.

“Because of their black and white views on this there has been the odd conflict, which we don’t want.”

At the moment, the public can access the land needed for Broadbench at weekends and occasional days in summer.

However, Mr Cummins pointed out that the unpredictable nature of surfing means they need access when the conditions are just right, whenever that may be.

He said: “Nature won’t accommodate a timetable set down by the MoD.

“Surfing is that important to people they will arrange their lives around swells and tides.”

Mr Cummins added that Broadbench, which has been surfed since the 1960s, was so legendary it would easily dwarf anything created by Boscombe’s artificial reef.

“It would be like comparing Liverpool and Accrington Stanley,” he said.

An MoD spokesperson said they had taken steps to make Broadbench available where it was “reasonably practical and safe to do so” but had to “maintain a balance between training and allowing access to its ranges to the public for recreational purposes.”

She added: “A reduction in the available training time would be unreasonable as it would endanger the lives of our service men and women.”

For information visit sas.org. uk/pr/2009/the-gathering.