Tasmanian Pipe Dream

In an article in The (Hobart) Mercury Park Beach surfer Mr Hollmer-Cross has called for more research to be undertaken.

“There has been no hydrological or environmental assessments on why that spot has been selected as the optimum spot in Tasmania,” he said.
“The surf is really functional as it is, it always has been. For recreational and learner surfers it’s actually ideal.”

That is one of the rules of building artificial surf reefs:
Put them somewhere that no one surfs – there are miles of coastline that fulfill that requirement.

Shane Abel has spent the past three years working on a proposal for an artificial reef at Park Beach, south-east of Hobart.
Mr Abel has done extensive research on attempts to create artificial surf reefs around the world.

Read about how he intends to construct the “reef” in this article by ABC:


Shane Abel on Facebook:

Editied from the Facebook page:
The reef is constructed from HDPE, the same material used in fish farm cages. The reef is supported on timber piles and is above the ocean floor and not interfering with the littoral drift or sealife that live in the sea beds.
The Wavebuster HDPE reef surface can be designed to match any world class reef within 20mm. The reef slope can be set at any angle to incoming swell with 45 degrees being the middle ground with increased angle producing faster waves and decreased angles producing slower waves.
Construction of the reef is simple with the piles driven from a barge and the reef fabricated onshore then floated out and sunk into position.
Unlike rock or sandbags the Wavebuster reef can be removed easily if there any issues.

Pushing the sand around to save Palm Beach

Gold Coast City Council (in Queensland, Australia) have a Surf Management Plan that includes:

  • strategies to maximise enjoyment and minimise conflict between beach user groups (e.g. seasonal adjustments to flagged swimming and board riders zones)
  • new coastal capital works projects will give consideration to both coastal protection and where possible, enhancement of surf amenity.



They announced in June 2016 that $4.5 million has been set aside to start the Palm Beach Shoreline Project and build an artificial reef about 400 metres off Palm Beach. It is expected to take four years.



See also the previous story (July 2015):

Note that Australian Coastal Walls are selling the ACW Geo-Block beach protection system. More about that on their web page.

For a longer term view of Gold Coast coastal management:


Podcast: Discovery

How to Make an Awesome Surf Wave
from the BBC. (27 minutes)

Discusses engineering to make more and better surf breaks.
Discusses Boscombe, Bournemouth then to the Basque Country in northern Spain to the Wavegarden, in the foothills of the Cantabrian mountains.
Surfing veterans share their thoughts with marine biologist Helen Scales.


Mount Maunganui Reef

Finally gone according to this SunLive NZ article
In September 2014 it was going and Underwater Solutions were taking it:

Here is the talk in April 2014 about removing the artificial reef affectionately known as “Mt Reef” .

NZ radio interview:

Dredging today:

NZ Herald:

See this page (2009) for background information:

I can’t see how one relatively small construction can make a decent surf break when the best breaks have the right shapes underwater in many directions.

Any comment on “local lifeguards complaining“?


Bargara Beach QLD

The world first ‘planning authority approved’ surfing reef enhancement was at Burkitts Reef, Bargara, near Bundaberg.

In early 1997 a band of energetic locals waited until low tide to smash some existing basalt boulders into shape with an industrial-size excavator.
They then moulded a reef of their own making producing an acceptable though smallish wave at high tide.
Source: grantdoyle.wordpress.com/feature-articles/gimme-a-break

See: surfingramps.com.au/bargarasurf.htm

There was a talk on this at 7th surfingramps.com.au/SurfingSymposium
..but the notes are not on the Symposium site.

Review of Reefs

On this article no date appears to tell when it was written, most likely 2011, it gives a good review and summary of work on artificial reefs:

It mentions:

 Somebody had to do it to make the first mistakes, and somebody had to pay for it.

Jeff Mill’s article “Pipe Dreams”
..looks at the various ASR projects we have discussed on this site.
SURFER was able to contact a former ASR employee who wished to remain anonymous, to further describe the issues that faced the company.
Reading the comments was as useful as reading the article.
Failure to build these reefs should have been compared and contrasted with successes.
Let us know if someone does this..