Making waves to give surfers big break
By DAVID REARDON in Perth
The urban surfer’s endless summer is generally marked not so much by idyllic tubes and pristine beaches but by frustrating half-decent waves and overcrowded surf breaks.
For many city-dwellers, finding consistently good waves close to home is just a pipedream.
But now, after a decade of laboratory research, West Australian surfers are on the crest of a breakthrough as work begins on the world’s first artificial surfing, reef.
Underwater construction teams begin this week placing 8,000 tonnes of granite on top of an existing limestone reef, 300 metres off Cottesloe Beach in Perth.
When completed, this $1.8 million boomerang-shaped rock shelf should provide enough resistance to turn a normal swell into good surfing waves around 70 days a year.
Cottesloe only breaks about eight days each year because the reef is five metres down. The highest point of the new 120-metre-long granite reef will be one metre from the surface.
WA surfing patriarch Mr. Tom Blaxell said the reef would be a boon for the State’s estimated 220,000 surfers who battle for space at Perth’s most popular surfing beaches, Trigg and Scarborough.
A consultant to the Ministry of Sport and Recreation, Mr Cameron O’Beirne, said: “It is not a magical wave-making machine but if the swell is there it will enhance it and throw up a better wave.”
Reproduced from Sydney Morning Herald – 20 Feb 1999