Europe’s first artificial surf reef fine-tuned

So it’s finally arrived, almost. There’s been a shed load of forum chatter surrounding this project, and there seems to be a hefty dose of haters out there, convinced this is all a big waste of time, or are they just clued up locals that know what they’re talking about? Here’s the latest from the Telegraph, which is definitely worth a read. Apparently, it can be compared to a slightly lesser Pipeline…

The £1.4 million project is on track for completion next month. Sand bags covering roughly the size of a football pitch are fixed to the sea bed, 225 metres from the shore east of Boscombe pier.

They were being topped up and temporary anchors and red buoys marking the reef removed in the final construction phase this week.

The reef will then be surveyed to make sure it fits the design brief.

It will be one of four artificial reefs worldwide including Narrowneck, Queensland, Cables, Western Australia and Mt Maunganui, New Zealand.

The large geo-textile bags pumped hard with sand mimic the effects of a natural reef and act like a ramp, pushing waves upwards and shaping them into powerful barrels.

It will not create waves but double the height and number of good surfing days.

The reef at Boscombe is designed to provide a grade five wave on a day with good swell which is in the challenging range and compares with the Hawaii Pipeline which is a grade 8.

Paul Clarke, of Bournemouth Surfing Centre, said: ”Even as the finishing touches are made to the reef body boarders have already been surfing the hollow, powerful barrels that it was intended to produce.

”Business has been booming this summer with the anticipation of the reef and the rise in so-called ‘stay-cations’. This can only get better once the reef is ready and the autumn surf season begins.

”It will put Boscombe on the map as the top south coast surfing spot. The water here is between three to five degrees warmer than around the rest of the country which makes the season longer as the water is still warm into the autumn.”

Pipelines have been dismantled and equipment packed away into containers which are being taken off the beach as the reef nears completion.

Excess sand stockpiled on the beach will be flattened so that parts of the beach used for construction will be back in use for the town’s air festival starting on Thursday.

Dr Kerry Black, managing director of ASR Ltd, designed the Boscombe surf reef after travelling the entire Pacific Rim measuring 44 of the world’s best surf breaks to recreate a world-class wave.

Shaw Mead, technical director for ASR, said: ”Like any major construction project, there are extensive checks to be undertaken before we can say the project is complete.

”We are now starting to make all those checks thoroughly and according to the agreed specification and I remain confident that we will finish in September as scheduled.”

The reef is part of the £8 million Boscombe Spa Regeneration Project funded through the sale of a seafront car park to Barratt Homes for development into 169 flats.


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