IN EXTRAORDINARY images, surfers took to the sea at the iconic Penarth pier to protest over the state of our seas - but there’s a twist in the tale.

Surfers against Sewage held a ‘paddle-out protest’ against Welsh Water on Saturday, May 20, which started with a Dawnstalkers' protest at 5.15am, followed by a full protest at 11am.

Welsh Water has emphasised the quality of the water in the country, saying Wales has a large proportion of the UK’s blue flag status beaches despite having a small proportion of the island’s actual coastline.

Penarth Times: A sunrise protest was held at 5amA sunrise protest was held at 5am (Image: Aaron Jones)

Extraordinary scenes as surfers converge under the iconic Penarth Pier

Surfers, paddleboarders, free swimmers and other sea-lovers came together on a sunny Saturday morning to protest against the amount of sewage being discharged into water.

Penarth Times: Lauren and Megan sick of the sewageLauren and Megan sick of the sewage (Image: Newsquest)

Penarth Times: The protest next to Penarth PierThe protest next to Penarth Pier (Image: Newsquest)

According to Surfers Against Sewage, Welsh Water was responsible for 81,937 sewage overflows in 2022, lasting a total of 573,201 hours in 1,831 different locations across their service area.

Watch the video below as Kim Waters from the Welsh Rivers Union explians what is wanted from the protest

Penarth resident, Dawnstalkers member, and protest organiser James Tennet, 36, claimed the problem was not being taken seriously by water companies.

“In 2021, Welsh Water were responsible for more sewage discharges than any other UK water company,” said Mr Tennet.

Penarth Times: Surfers gathered together in the waterSurfers gathered together in the water (Image: Aaron Jones)

Penarth Times: Rachel and Nick protestingRachel and Nick protesting (Image: Newsquest)

Co-founder of Dawnstalkers Grant Zehetmayr added we must do more.

“We used to throw human waste out of our windows and into the streets. Now we dilute it in the sea so it can be slowly reabsorbed invisibly polluting us at a microscopic level," he said. "We must do better.”

Penarth Times: Linda and Amanda say no to pollutionLinda and Amanda say no to pollution (Image: Newsquest)

Volunteer regional rep for Surfers Against Sewage in the Vale of Glamorgan Michael Goode said this has affected the entire region – including Barry.

“I have been involved in water testing, beach cleans and monitoring of our local rivers and sea over the past few years, and the situation is getting worse,” said Mr Goode.

Penarth Times: Two protests were held, one at 5am, one at 11amTwo protests were held, one at 5am, one at 11am (Image: Aaron Jones)

‘Wales' coastline is blessed’ says Welsh Water

Welsh Water say they value the coastline of Wales, but admit there is still work to do.

“Wales has an amazing coastline and is blessed with a quarter of the UK’s Blue Flag beaches, despite only having 15 per cent of its coastline.

“These awards – together with Seaside Awards – recognise the excellent water quality at these locations. However, there is still a lot more to do, especially on our rivers which is why we’ve published our River Water Quality Manifesto and outlined plans to significantly increase investment further.”