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Bournemouth To Become Surfers Paradise - Good Reef

Aug 10, 2008
When it comes to surfing, those people who are really serious about it will travel half way round the world in pursuit of catching the best wave, of achieving that trick with their surfboard that they have been hankering after mastering for a lifetime. This can be a costly sport. It's not like you can pop down to your local pool or beach and improve your surfing abilities with practice. It takes wind, waves and currents to create the right circumstances for surfing. Without one of these elements, you're pretty stumped.

There are many areas around the world that are well known for surfing. Australia, Hawaii and California are some of the hottest surfing spots around the world and all are a long distance from the UK. British surfers have, at best, the coast of Cornwall, for their surfing but this doesn't really meet the standards of foreign climes.

However, all that could be set to change. An artificial surfing reef is being constructed on the coast of Bournemouth to encourage surfers to that area of the country. The surfers that already favour Bournemouth try to catch waves 153 days per year, even though the local council say there really is only 77 good surfing days per year - but can you afford to miss them?

The new Bournemouth reef is set 210 metres from the shore and promises to send waves up to 75 metres high into the sea near Boscombe Pier. This should double the number of officially good surfing days, thus improving tourism for Bournemouth.

The original price for creating the reef was set at 1.4 pounds million but has almost doubled to 2.7 pounds million in the two years that the project has so far taken. It is the brainchild of ASR Ltd, a company founded by New Zealander, Dr Kerry Black, an oceanographer who has dedicated a large amount of his life to finding the world's best surf breaks. He believes the reef will create better surfing waves even on calm days.

The intention is to break up the regular form of the beach to create waves that you can surf across the face off. This is what the new reef will achieve. It is constructed by using a webbing base and 55 geo-textile bags measuring between 15 and 70 metres long that mirror the effects of a natural reef, pushing waves upwards and doubling their size.

Work on the reef finally started recently by initially putting down a mat to minimise the reef sinking into the sand. Straps will be secured together to make a webbing base and the first empty geo-textile bags will be tied together and sewn in place. given that this base is the size of a football pitch, a crane will be needed to load the mat onto a barge and transported to its location where it will be put into place by divers.

Once in place, the empty bags will be pumped full of sand to create the reef. This whole event will be repeated twice more for the bottom layer and then two larger sets of bags will be put in place to make the top layer.

It is promised that the new reef will have no environmental impact at all. In fact, it may even encourage wildlife to make its home there, thus enriching the marine life in the area.

The company are currently constructing a reef in New Zealand which has run into problems with split bags and the whole project is taking longer than originally expected.
About the Author
Sports expert Catherine Harvey looks at the hope for more surfing days in sunny Bournemouth.
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