Surfers may face sizeable bills to transport their boards abroad, following British Airways' decision to stop accepting the boards.

BA, which says surfboards are too bulky, will ban them from all flights next Tuesday, along with kayaks, windsurfs and javelins. It will continue to carry skis and snowboards without charge. A spokesman for the airline said it was working with freight forwarders to find a solution for customers.

Karen Walton, national director of the British Surfing Association (BSA), said surfers would face huge costs and delays if forced to use freight companies. "To get a board from Newquay to Hossegor in France would cost in excess of £200 each way, and take six days to get there and another six to get back. This will not work for surfers who simply will not travel without their boards." Most other airlines charge between £15 and £27 each way to carry surfboards.

Mick Fanning, the world's leading surfer, has joined a campaign to persuade BA to reverse its decision. A petition started by the BSA has already attracted 5,000 signatures at GoPetition.

Mr Fanning said: "As a frequent flyer with BA and an athlete on the World Professional Surfers' tour, I find it hard to understand why people who have been so loyal and spent so much money with BA have been dealt this blow." Surfers are particularly angry that snowboards, cycles, diving equipment and bulky musical instruments will still be carried.

"As part of the British team, I have always travelled with BA," said Ben Skinner, the English champion. "I think the ban's a disgrace. BA seems to have underestimated the amount of business it stands to lose." Britain has more than 500,000 regular surfers. In March, BA began services between Gatwick and Newquay, in part to take advantage of the number of surfers on weekend breaks.

Source: Charles Starmer-Smith,