Europe's first artificial surf reef is in the final phase of tests in Boscombe, Dorset, England. The £1.4 million project will be ready for surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and bodyboarding next month.
The reef will not create waves, but acts as a ramp which changes the way the waves break and will certainly improve the quality of the surf and produce a long right-hand ride of around 75 metres for surfers, and a shorter left-hand ride of around 35 metres most favourable for body boarders.
During clean, long period swell, the reef and the inshore banks would all be surfable. The reef at Boscombe is designed to provide a grade-5 wave on a day with good swell which is in the challenging range (Hawaii Pipeline is a grade-8).
In calm weather, such as July or August, the reef will create a ‘lagoon’ along the shoreline offering safe, flat conditions for families and beach users.
The other three artificial reefs worldwide are located in Narrowneck (Queensland), Cables (Western Australia) and Mt Maunganui (New Zealand). The Boscombe surf reef is made from huge geo-textile bags which, unlike rock ledges or coral reefs have no sharp edges.