ENGLISH PIPELINE: Europe's First Artificial Reef Growing

Bournemouth Borough Council has today contracted New Zealand-based ASR Ltd to construct the first artificial surf reef in the northern hemisphere in Boscombe. The contract is performance-based, to ensure the reef will perform to pre-stated standards. The contract also requires the reef to be completed by 31st December 2008 at the latest. The core construction period will be July-October and the estimated completion date remains the end of October, depending on weather conditions.

Councillor Stephen MacLoughlin, Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council says: "The deal has been done to bring the long-awaited surf reef to Boscombe to revive the area. It will be the most innovative sports and tourist attraction in the South. The public can be assured that the reef will definitely be completed at the latest by the end of this year. ASR Ltd had previously been commissioned as designers of the reef and will now use their expert knowledge in this highly complex marine construction project to achieve the performance requirements specified by the Council."

The first delivery of construction materials, which includes the webbing base and the first consignment of geo-textile bags, is due to arrive in Southampton Docks in late June. The bags will then be transported to an undisclosed area in Dorset where they will be assembled onto the webbing base at a harbour-side location. They will then be loaded onto a barge for deployment at the Boscombe site.

Nick Behunin, Managing Partner of, ASR Ltd says: "We are pleased to be introducing Europe's first artificial surfing reef as part of the Boscombe regeneration plan. We believe our ground-breaking technology will be integral in increasing tourism to the area. It's exciting to see how Bournemouth Council is going further than the other destinations in the world where we have built surf reefs, with significant additional investment in the infrastructure and facilities surrounding the reef. The regeneration of Boscombe, with the revitalisation of the Pier, Overstrand and new surfing facilities, restaurants and shops are really transforming Boscombe into an exciting surfing destination in the UK."

How will the reef work?

The reef works exactly like a natural reef in the ocean, creating a seabed profile that will shape the sea's natural wave energy into well-formed surfing waves. The reef cannot create swell or wave energy and does not generate waves. It will only work in swell conditions of 0.5 metres and above. For example, if the sea is calm and flat, the reef will have no effect whatsoever. If the sea has a swell of 1 metre, the reef can focus this swell into waves of up to 2 metres, dependant on the type of swell. The primary impact of the reef will not be to increase the size of the waves, but to improve their quality. Existing conditions in Boscombe often lead to very short rides. When the reef is completed, the ride length will increase significantly.

For updates and more information visit: www.bournemouth.co.uk