Locals only – The Problem

Build 13 artificial reefs a day, and 13,000 people a day will take up surfing. Just watch.
By the year 2025, the average surf session might well consist of 1.7 rides per surfer per session. For modern surfers, crowds simply come with the territory, and the territory is finite.
Trying to stem this tide of surfing’s popularity is fruitless. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” says Hamlet. It’s the same with every surfer “claiming” his or her territory. We’ll just have to cope.

by: Drew Kampion


Boscombe, Bournemouth, Dorset UK

The final chapter (Aug 2017):
The full story to April 2013

Here is the text as it came to me in 2010 from Google news alert on artificial surfing reefs:
Boscombe reef gets its first surfing competition (From Bournemouth …
I don’t know what ASR have got wrong in the design, but clearly something
is badly wrong. … As for holding a surfing contest on the reef, well, forget it. …

Update – 2011:

It seems a lot of lessons are being learnt on this project.

Ben Mondy, an ex-editor of Tracks magazine and contributor to Surfer, Carve and Surf Europe, was one of the first to surf the new reef at Bournemouth.

Film produced by ACM acmwriting.com. Filmed and edited by Johno Verity

..and then there is this quote from Jim Moriarty:
Writing on the blog
Quoting Sean Collins, the founder of Surfline, when asked: Do they get any swell there at all?
“Yes, it doesn’t look like that exposed of a location as it is up in the channel and faces southerly. But when big storms begin to track down through the northern Atlantic in Fall there may some pre-frontal SSW swell that could penetrate up into the channel into the Bournemouth area. Also longer periods WSW swells will be able to feel the offshore bathymetry to wrap into the Bournemouth area. Additionally this area looks much cleaner with better wind conditions than the more exposed west coast.”

My (Jim’s) layman’s version of that is… they could see some Fall waves. So. Let’s not be so quick to label this reef a failure until they’ve actually seen a Fall. We won’t have to wait long as… it’s Fall now.

A link to a map with the location of the reef:
See also:

Comment by reeferskeptics

surfers are not impressed with the results seen vs. the anticipated results

on this site:

For the weather in the Bournemouth area:
and/or search for “Bournemouth” (the region) or “Boscombe” (the place) using

and the “before” photo:

Defending the coastline

More Englishmen building surf breaks:
Reef NorthEast will be a a multi-purpose reef designed for many users, an innovative underwater arena providing multi-benefits to the North East of England.
This reasoning is worth repeating:
“By designing a structure in a certain manner, the waves can be broken in a way that improves their suitability for surfing for an increased number of days a year and also dissipate the wave’s energy on the reef, thus defending the coastline from erosive wave action.”

ASR Surf Reef projects 2009

Multi Purpose Reefs

Offshore Coastal Protection using Multi-Purpose Reefs at Barcelona
Boscombe Surfing Reef
Mount Maunganui Reef
Narrowneck Reef, Gold Coast
Feasibility and Design Study for a Multi-Purpose Reef in Long Branch, New Jersey
Detailed Design of an Offshore Submerged Reef for Erosion Control at Oil Piers, California
Opunake Surfing Reef
Multipurpose Reefs for Shore Protection at Orewa
Restoration of St Francis Bay Beach, South Africa
among others.
See also:
Predicting Surfing Reef Dynamics 235 KB PDF

Florida’s tire reef disaster

A well-intentioned attempt in 1972 to create what was touted as the world’s largest artificial reef made of tires has become an ecological disaster. The idea was simple: Create new marine habitat and alternate dive sites to relieve pressure on natural reefs, while disposing of tires that were clogging landfills. Decades later it’s clear the plan failed miserably.
SurfersVillage.com 20th February 2007
See also:

Surfers big break – Cottesloe

Making waves to give surfers big break

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

Make waves not war

from Surf Magazine article by Bob McTavish (1967)..

..surfing research and development. A group of surfing minds. A headland that receives good swell and favourable winds.

Let’s try the north side of Long Reef, Sydney, a half mile of coast around a rock bottomed pair of coves, the whole place takes any south quarter-wind, cops any swell at all, and has a lousy bottom shape. Really central. Conditions are excellent three to five days a week.

Accurate chart of the bottom, suggestions for wave shapes, models, testing tanks, research on cement and plastic combinations and varieties, methods of anchoring, and go to town.

A pipeline, an Ala Moana, a Malibu left, a Sunset walling into a Laaeakea, a Rincon, a Ti Tree, a right Pipeline, a few more imaginative breaks, some big and power(ful) some small. All varying with tides and swell sizes.

Southerly this morning? Off to the Reef. Wow! Only 200 guys out, only about ten each break.

Slip into wetsuit, grab wax, might just sit on nearby headland for a bit. and raise sensitivity to those waves, maybe get a rough plan figured on how to put together the session. Shape preferences, tide, frame – of mind…. Hit it.