Valuable lessons in Reef Design

Ramboestrada writes posts about failed artificial reef and wave pool projects around the globe.
Questions that are raised by this are:
1. How should we fund failed attempts?
2. How can we (objectively) collect information on the lessons learnt?
3. How can we design these projects so that the whole job does not have to be done at once?
4. How can we work with nature, not against it?
5. Is it easier to try to make good small waves?
6. How do we stop the worst weather blowing away the parts of the project?
Surf grooming is my preferred answer to many of these questions. Essentially it involves systems that adapt to the current conditions. More to come on this topic in the meantime read the Ramboestrada post and consider the problem..

Locals Only – Surf Grooming

I noticed the white paint on the cliffs at Nth Curl Curl the other week. I remember seeing this sentiment expressed at Avoca Beach. The Curl Curl one is very like the sign at Scarborough Wombarra except that there the word “G A Y” has been added by someone who has a sense of humour.
While I understand what causes people to write these signs, I cannot think of anything worse than only surfing one beach and staying away from all the others.
The problem is over crowding. Instead of everyone poking each others eyes out and making the world blind, the solution is to groom the surf that is there to make more room for more riders.
Councils have no trouble justifying putting a rake through the dry sand. Why doesn’t someone look at ways of moving the sand underwater to make better breaks for the surfers?
Sure the sand will move back, no problem, in the same way that the dry stuff gets racked regularly move the wet stuff to improve the banks each day.
Don’t bother with moving anything in swell over 1.5 metres. Increases in the forces involved increase the problems.
First thing to do is a pretest of the marine ecology, especially at the water’s edge.
Rules should be made about moving the sand, the main one would be to only ever move sand closer to the beach. This should assist with the build-up of sand on the beach, most people would see that as a good thing.
The next thing is to think of a method for moving the sand. Something like suction pipes with the engines for the pumps based on the beach is my current preference.
We don’t know all the answers but the problem is we are not asking the question:
How can we make the waves better for more people, especially the locals?
How can we slowly make surf better?

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.

List of Fake Breaks

Coastal zone management

I would like to collect on this site details of all the surf breaks that have been made anywhere in the world.
Email me at with these details:

  • Shaped or built from scratch:
  • Type of bank (solid concrete, large sand bags, etc.):
  • Square area of bank made:
  • No. of takeoffs:
  • Height of wave handled:
  • Range of wave heights in that area:
  • Size of the crowd handled:
  • Rating:

There are some listed on the aptly named: