Europe‘s first artificial surf reef was officially launched this Monday. Around a dozen surfers and body boarders headed for the waves as soon as the Bournemouth Borough Council declared the reef open.

As reported earlier, the artificial reef – which is located in Boscom on UK’s South Coast – consists of big geo-textile bags pumped hard with sand and aids in the formation of powerful barrel waves by pushing the naturally occurring waves upwards.

Prior to the opening, surfers had expressed fears that the reef was too big, situated the wrong way around, located on the wrong side of the pier, and potentially dangerous, so many eyes are now carefully monitoring the project to see if it’s a flip or flop.

We have now got to give it the chance to see if it [the reef] does perform against the criteria that we have agreed with them,” says Roger Brown, the council’s director of leisure services.

Sean Wade, from Sorted surf shop, said: “Longer term it will need tweaking but with any project it is finding out how it works and what the best conditions are. Yesterday it looked pretty amazing.”

The artificial reef is part of the £8 million Boscombe Spa Regeneration Project funded through the sale of a seafront car park to a company that will use the space to build flats. On days with good swell, the new reef is expected to provide grade five waves.