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Improvements planned for English surf reef

Case Studies | January 6, 2011 | By:

Improvements to Europe’s first artificial surf reef could be complete this spring, following an agreement struck with the company that built it, according to a news release datelined from Dorset, England.

The reef, which was built with geotextile bags and tubes and designed to enhance waves off Boscombe in Dorset, on England’s southern coast, has been criticized for not working properly.

The Bournemouth Borough Council said it agreed to a “refinement plan” with New Zealand-based ASR Ltd. to extend the ride length of the waves.


The council will pay £55,000 ($85,000) when the work is finished and a further £95,000 ($147,000) if the improvements are successful, the release stated.

The council had been withholding £150,000 ($232,000) from ASR after a performance report found the reef, which originally cost £3m ($4.7m) in 2009, had not achieved all of its objectives.

‘Pragmatic approach’

Council leader Peter Charon said: “Everyone is agreed that ASR’s technical refinements are the best solution. Although these are innovative and complex works, working with ASR, the likelihood of both performance improvements and a greater return on the council’s £3m investment in the reef are a significant step closer … I am satisfied that the financial agreement reached represents a pragmatic approach.”

The reef, which ran over its original budget and was plagued by numerous delays, was created to improve surfing conditions using 55 large sand-filled geotextile bags placed 225m (740ft) off the shoreline.

The bags are sausage-shaped and range in length from 15m (50ft) to 70m (230ft).

The New Zealand-based creator, ASR, denied the reef failed and said there was only one of the criteria, the wave lengths, which it had not met.

For a chronology of this artificial surf reef, click here.

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