Europe's first artificial surf reef being built in Bournemouth

September 11, 2008 | Surfing
Artificial Surf Reef

Europe’s first artificial surf reef is currently being built in Boscombe, Bournemouth this year and is set to put Bournemouth firmly on the UK surf map.

The reef acts as a ramp that changes the way the waves break. The reef will improve the quality of the surf and produce a right-hand ride of around 75 meters.

As a result, the number of good surfing days will increase.

Bournemouth already has an established surfing community, but the reef will draw more visitors to the area, enhancing the water sports on offer which includes kite-surfing, windsurfing, wake-boarding, kayaking, SCUBA-diving, sailing, and skimboarding.

The license to build the reef was granted by the Marine and Fisheries Agency in December 2007. Land-based construction started on the reef on 16th July 2008 with the rolling out of the geo-mat which is the base layer of the reef and prevents the reef from sinking into the seabed and being moved by the force of the sea.

Weather permitting, the reef is anticipated to be completed by the end of October 2008 surf season. Specialist construction material for the reef, the ecologically sound geotextile bags came from Australia, with the webbing base from New Zealand.

Roger Brown, Head of Leisure Services at Bournemouth Borough Council, says: “The area of Bournemouth and Poole already has an excellent reputation as a leading water sports destination, however, the reef will make surfing in the UK far more accessible. What we are providing is a good surfing break, in a cosmopolitan, thriving resort alongside great facilities and award-winning beaches.”

Boscombe is currently enjoying a £10million make-over. Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway MBE are designing luxury beach huts in the Overstrand complex, on the Boscombe promenade, offering all the mod-cons expected by the 21st-century surfer and holidaymaker.

Boscombe Victorian Chine Gardens have been transformed, Boscombe Pier end has been demolished and rebuilt and the seafront is being re-landscaped. The surf reef and super beach huts will be accompanied by a surf retail outlet, a surfing school, and a glass-fronted restaurant offering fantastic panoramic views of Bournemouth and the Solent.

There will also be a catering outlet selling good-quality food-to-go, an RNLI beach lifeguard station, changing rooms, toilets, and warm showers, all contributing to the major transformation of the Boscombe seafront.

Please note – the surf reef will not generate waves, but will amplify the existing surf. It has been reported that the reef will create 13ft waves. This is not correct as the surf reef is expected to increase the size and improve the quality of the existing surf.