A contingency plan for surfers when the sea fails to deliver…

… a fake reef  off a local beach to provide guaranteed waves!!!

Yes, it has been done. Boscombe, Dorset have spent 3 million pounds (+) on creating a fake reef to assure year-round waves, but has it worked?

The jury’s still out on that one.

This is Europe’s first artificial surf reef but initial feedback is that the waves being produced are not the right kind for surfers.

The ‘reef’ itself is a giant platform about the size of a football pitch which is resting on the sea bed about 200 m off-shore. It is made up of 3 layers – a base layer, a top layer and a ramp that points seawards. Each layer consists of two elements: a webbing base and huge geo-textile bags of sand that act as a ramp which is meant to concentrate the power of the waves, pushing them up, and hopefully making them bigger…

On an eco-friendly issue it is interesting to note that the geo-textile bags are environmentally friendly and actually attract marine life to grow on them.

Surfers haven’t been too excited about the change yet, with one saying “the waves are a bit small to tell you the truth!” … “Probably should have been built in Cornwall, somewhere where they get constant swell…” said another. But Ben Mondy, a surf journalist, feels it has real potential.

Dr Mark Davidson, from Plymouth University, has been conducting an independent review on whether the new reef has worked or not. It is agreed that it has created a constant wave that was not there before. However, there appear to be 3 problems:

  • the ride length is a little short
  • it is not as consistent as hoped
  • and the wave is a little more challenging than had been hoped for

Unfortunately the waves appear to be more consistent on the beach than on the reef which is not what the designers had hoped to achieve, however with a bit of tweaking by the New Zealand marine engineers who designed it, it will hopefully get up to optimum wave production.

But you can listen and see for yourselves what the surfers and locals feel about this fake reef. thank you to theindependent for the video.

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