THE camera never lies, according to one satisfied surfer who claims he has photographic proof that Europe’s first artificial reef does work.

Paul Humber from Southbourne took to the waves with an underwater camera to dispel criticism of the much-maligned £3 million Boscombe tourist attraction.

He said: “These pictures prove the reef is not a failure and can produce amazing waves. I believe all the negativity stems from a lack of understanding about waves, how they are created and what affects them.”

Bournemouth Echo: Boscombe surf reef by Paul Humber.

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Paul, 28, told the Daily Echo how he and his friends had surfed the reef many times. “From the beach it doesn’t look so great; people don’t believe us when we tell them how good the surfing is out there.”

Bournemouth Echo: Boscombe surf reef taken by Paul Humber.

Click the image to see it full size....

The freelance graphic designer added: “I’ve surfed at Boscombe for about 15 years. Surfing conditions have definitely improved since the reef was built; it’s easily doubled the number of days I’ve been in the water.”

His stunning photographs of his friends James Blackwell and Paul Middlewick were taken earlier this month. He said: “There were 30mph onshore winds which helped but conditions weren’t unusual for this time of the year.

“It is not a perfect wave but they were never going to get it spot-on first time. It can be assessed and then tweaked.”

But his sentiments aren’t shared by experienced surfer and water sports photographer Chris Skone-Roberts who lives near Boscombe pier.

He said: “The camera does lie. You can capture the image but you can’t show the ride length. We are hitting the best swell of the year but the reef still isn’t creating a surfable wave you can ride onto the beach.

“What was promised was a five-star wave. The reef was built too steep and at the wrong angle; it’s still not working or produced a surfable wave better than the pier.

“The best thing they can do is pump thousands of tonnes of gravel onto the reef, split the bags open and let nature take its course. Then people could dive on it and it could become a marine haven.”