You better start getting your boards ready, because the Boscombe artificial reef is getting close to be real.
The past 29th of August, was a day to remember, when the dream of many sailors and surfers got closer to reality. A landmark event successfully took place; the first section of the first artificial surf reef in the northern hemisphere slowly rolled off a barge and was laid on Boscombe seabed. David Neilson from ASR Ltd, the Construction Manager for the Surf Reef said: “This is D-Day. We’ve been waiting for several weeks for the winds to drop and today has provided us with the perfect conditions to accurately place the reef section on Boscombe sea-bed. After years of planning, it’s very exciting to get to this stage. If we have consistently good weather, we should get the reef completed by the end of October."
So October it is that you will be able to show your wave sailing skills properly on a decent wave, so no excuses anymore! With this new artificial reef in the South Coast providing more waves to sail and surf, chances are that in the years to come we could see some UK windsurfers at the level of the Maui locals.
The first section makes up one sixth of the volume of the reef and is constructed from a geo-mat*, webbing base and 16 huge geo-bags*. It has an area of 50m x 50m.
The first reef section was transported on a barge from Poole to the sea-based construction site at Boscombe, Bournemouth.
The eastern-end of the reef was attached to five-tonne anchors on the seabed by a team of expert divers. The barge was then slowly winched along the reef site, allowing the section to gradually unfold and peel off into the water. Winches then pulled down the reef onto the seabed and SCUBA-divers secured it in place.
The reef is now ready for filling. Each of the 16 bags on reef section 1 will be filled one at a time. This takes between 1-4 hours each, depending on the size. Once this has been completed, section 2 (already built on land) will then be deployed and filled and so on, until the reef is completed when the fifth section is deployed and filled.
To monitor the progress and view regular updates of the reef, visit www.thesurfreef.co.uk
* “Geo" means it is environmentally friendly material
PHOTO CAPTIONS: David Neilson, Reef Construction Manager, The reef construction takes place, Expert diver enters the water.