EUROPE'S FIRST ARTIFICIAL REEF: World Class Surf Possibly Looms In England

The whims of Mother Nature no longer dictate the location of world class waves in this day and age, and the surfers of Boscombe, England couldn't be happier. The already popular surf spot in the south west of England is getting a make over with the implementation of an artificial reef, to be completed in October 2008.

Surfers in Boscombe anticipate more good surfing days than usual after the Bournemouth Surf Reef's completion. The idea of the reef is to amplify the waves in existence by doubling their size and quality of their shape. The project aspires to put Boscombe on the surfing map as a destination for seasoned surfers.

The material being used in this plan is far from the environmentally tragic cinder-block/tire model used off the coasts of Florida. The Marine and Fisheries Agency just recently gave the Bournemouth Borough Council the okay to begin constructing the reef in the Spring of 2008.
Developers will use environmentally sound, geo-textile bags filled with up to 2,500 tons of sand. These will then be placed on top of a huge web of specially sewn material resembling large sea belts and beneath it will be a geo-mat intended to prevent the structure from sinking into the sea floor.

Even more research has gone into the form and exact placement of the structure. Dr. Kerry Black, designer of the Boscombe surf reef has made the study of the world's best waves his life's passion. Traversing the Pacific Rim to measure 44 of the finest breaks, Dr. Black's design in Boscombe will act as a ramp to push waves upwards. He seeks to accentuate the present surf in the area and will make assiduous bathymetric measurements of the sea floor to determine the final position of the new reef.

The community looks forward to the heightened tourism the town will experience with the added draw of the reef. Retail and real estate is working to accommodate the foreseen rush of vacationers. The Council of Economic Impact Assessment predicts the new attraction "will create an image value of ten million pounds per annum resulting from a variety of publications and media interest on a national scale." More surf schools, rentals, and shops will be popping up in the area, providing an increase in jobs and revenue for the town.

Paul Clarke from the Bournemouth Surfing Center comments on the region's growth as a surfing community since the 1960's, saying "today Bournemouth has the third largest population of surfers in the country. For the 10,000 locals and a catchment that includes London, the reef promises to be a huge attraction, the nearest thing to an Atlantic roller this side of Cornwall." The area is an ideal locale for such a business venture.

Access to the reef will be free of charge. And as soon as the structure is built ocean lovers will be able to enjoy Europe's first artificial reef, the fourth in the world. Artificial reefs in Australia and New Zealand have proved successful in years past. Not only did the man-made structures boost the surf, but improved marine life in the area by providing more habitats.

Thorough investigations were made into the ecological repercussions of the Boscombe project. Found to be primarily beneficial, environmental agencies approved the ambitious plan. Hopefully the reef will attract new marine life to the coast of England. As all environmental concerns have been cleared, the community waits patiently with tea in one hand, board in the other, for what promises to be an interesting ride.

Click on to read interview.