SURFERS gave an optimistic but cautious thumbs-up to Boscombe’s surf reef at yesterday’s official launch.

The years-delayed and overbudget reef has been criticised by some who believe it is in the wrong place.

The Daily Echo spoke to nine surfers, and their general view was it could produce steep, sharp waves in the right weather.

Dave Syms, of Boscombe, said: “I’m chuffed about it. I got a couple of pretty good rides.

“You can stand up but it takes commitment. It’s a very, very fast wave and it’s shallow, so someone could get hurt.”

James Peck, of Boscombe, said: “It’s good for body boarders. Surfers are split half-and-half. I think it will be a novelty attraction for a year or so then it will be back to the usual faces.”

Charlie Catling, from Southampton, said: “I would definitely come back for it.”

The waves broke too close to the beach for good surfing otherwise, he said. “On the reef you can catch a wave for a bit longer.”

The reef has been finished for weeks but the council delayed the launch until yesterday, saying it was “fantastic” surfing weather.

Surfers hoped the reef would prove itself over the winter. The steep waves were not to everyone’s taste.

During the two hours the Echo was there, the reef attracted up to 15 body boarders and the odd surfer. At the same time, 10-25 less-experienced surfers preferred the conventional waves around Boscombe Pier.

Ross Elliot, of Charminster, said: “The pier protects you from the wind. Because there’s no shelter by the reef, it’s just white water.”

Sam Rain, of Wallisdown, said: “I think the reef will bring a lot of business. But it’s a lot of money to spend on something in an area where there isn’t much swell.”

Kayak surfer Joel Crooks, of Boscombe, said: “I wouldn’t say it’s working well today. It gives a short, dumpy ride. It’s very good for body boarders.

“Most surfers, if it’s not working brilliantly, will stick to the pier.”