The Man Who Would Build Our First Artificial Reef

Stu Nettle
Surfpolitik

Two years ago I wrote an article titled The Dangers of Artificial Reefs that warned against the self-interests of surfers altering the coastline. My argument was based on sound environmental and philosophical grounds. Or at least I thought it was...

The hate mail arrived immediately after publication and I realised how at odds my beliefs were with many in the surfing community. Among the venom I received a pleasant email from a fellow, Steve Barrett, who was an affirmed artificial reef advocate. Steve had his own company, Offshore Surf Reefs, and hoped to build artificial reefs in the future. He wished to clarify a few points I'd made, and considering I was attacking his position Steve's congeniality was surprising.

I then met Steve in person at the 7th Artificial Reef Symposium at Bondi. The Symposium was attended by a roomful of likeminded believers and I felt like a wolf in sheep's clothing. But, yet again, Steve was very civil with me.

In the intervening years, Steve, who is a landscape designer, has continued his quest to build Australia's first quality artificial reef. He believes he's sitting on a winning design and it's only funding, and perhaps rigid community attitudes, holding him back. Last week we sat down at his Stanwell Park home to discuss artificial reefs:

Swellnet: We first met at the Artificial Reef Symposium which was organised by Andrew Pitt. Andrew is a landscape architect while you are a landscape consultant: Is it just a coincidence that you landscape guys are so keen on building artificial reefs?
Steve Barrett: Landscape design is modifying the environment to suit man's needs and an artificial reef is simply a piece of artificial landform. We're dealing with contours and landforms and, as we're both surfers, I guess we put two and two together. We're trained to think about landforms so we just extended the vision out to the surf zone.

Since surfers first started searching for perfect waves, what they've really been looking for – whether they realise it or not - is perfect bottom shape. When I look at a wave, I think about what the bottom shape is that is creating that wave.

Is any special knowledge needed once you work below the high tide zone?
I've been both a surfer and landscape designer for nearly forty years, and have been researching natural and artificial reefs and developing the Offshore Surf Reefs concept since the early '80's, so I've accumulated a lot of knowledge in that time, but... yeah, it'll be a team effort to build the reef, with input from many consultants... surveyors, geotechnical, civil and coastal engineers, and specialist contractors for the actual construction.

From an environmental point of view, the ocean is always in flux - you have sand drift for instance - are the variable elements taken into account?
In the ocean there are coastal processes in operation, things are moving all the time: currents, sand, waves from different directions. The trick is to design with these processes so that you can incorporate a reef structure into the environment without creating any negative impacts. This is what I will look at with the engineers to come up with a workable solution.

Do you factor the precautionary principle into your designs?
Well, if you don't innovate you're not going to get anywhere. Anyway, the engineer's modelling, whether it be computer modelling or physical modelling, is very accurate. It's highly unlikely that you're going to get any negative effects.

As for the design concept, what I've done is identify all the problems that we could come up against, and every reason possible for failure, and then design against it. Find a solution for every problem. And I feel that I've overcome every single problem.

The beauty of my concept, however, is that if, in the unlikely case of a problem, you can refloat the reef, lift it out and take it away. It's completely removable. If you're building a reef by dropping rocks, sandbags, or whatever, then you can't easily retrieve those materials.

Why aren't there more artificial reefs in the world at the moment?
Here's the sceptic coming out in you.

Oh, it's a valid question...you may think that it's a lack of funding.
I think that when someone comes up with a reef that does work, you'll see a lot more of them. I think it is difficult getting the funding to do it because it is an expensive exercise. You've got to spend big bucks. You can't tinker with it in the backyard and suddenly come up with a solution.

Where would funding come from?
That's the problem. It's a lot of money for a private investor to outlay without any guarantee on return and it's a risk for a public authority, a federal or state government, to fund purely for a recreational facility.

The other side of the coin is that in certain locations reefs can be used for coastal protection. Government authorities are coming to the realisation that it could be worthwhile spending some money to do some trials for artificial reefs to be used for coastal protection. We're starting to see glimmers of that now. The reality is that people don't want stuff built on their beaches, they don't want seawalls and they don't want groynes. The beauty of an artificial reef is you can protect a beach from erosion yet see nothing.

Do you think multi purpose reefs that combine coastal protection and recreation are more likely to be built? Just because they serve public amenity.
I think it's really hard to get anything up and running, whether it be for coastal protection or recreation, publicly funded, or privately funded. It really is a difficult task. I've been at it for seven years now! I have self-funded my work so far, but to progress any further will need either investor or government funding.

How though? The coastline is public and open to all, how would a private investor find a bit of coastline to create an artificial reef?
Maybe plan a reef in conjunction with a state or the federal government. The most likely scenario is that a government authority or a council would co-fund some sort of trial reef project with outcomes that would benefit them and their coastline. Also, if they're investing in a trial reef for coastal protection and it proves to be a successful recreational reef then they've got equity in that product and it could be repeated in other places and create income at the same time.

So, in your mind it would be a user pays scenario?
No, not necessarily, it would just be a public recreational facility like a skate park or a football field.

Let's drop the hypotheticals and get into the practical elements. Steel is your preferred construction material: Why steel?
I think for an artificial reef to be successful you have to have complete control over its form and structural stability. If you just have an accumulation of rocks or sandbags you don't have enough control over the shape. It's got to be an engineered structure and the cheapest and most easily engineered material is steel. Steel is also benign in the marine environment.

Being a hard material, might councils be less willing to fund a steel reef?
Well, because a steel reef is a smooth curved continuous surface with no sharp edges, and no gaps that could be entrapments, I think steel reefs would be safer than rock or sandbag reefs.

But the steel was put there by man, the rocks weren't.
With all manmade structures you're creating some sort of liability. What you need to do is minimise the risk by good design. That's the same whether it's a skate park or a footy field. All public recreational facilities have public liability insurance in case someone is injured. It would be no different for a reef.

So how do you convince a council?
Well, the risk in a skate park is high. It would be higher than falling onto a reef covered by water yet councils accept that risk and they insure against it.

Have you tested any of the shapes you've come up with?
Yes, I've made scale models of a couple of reef shapes and tested them in a wave tank. You can have any number of reef shapes that can create any type of wave. The ones that I tested are two generic shapes that just give you a basic A-frame wave. Because I'm working in steel you can create any shape you want, and you can pre-test and refine those shapes with computer modelling. Every site is going to be different. Not every site is going to be suitable for the same shape reef.

Here on the east coast we get swells from many different directions, that would make a reef designer's job hard, wouldn't it?
It doesn't make it hard, it just makes it more complex.

Do you think you could design a reef that received swells from various angles?
For a static reef, you'd have to design a reef that was optimised to one particular direction, which would be the main direction the swell comes from for that location, and for the other swell directions you'd have to take second best.

I just wrote an article on the failures of Boscombe Reef in England, what do you think went wrong at Boscombe?
(long pause) I only know what I've read in the media, it doesn't appear to be creating the wave that the modelling showed. The wave hasn't come to fruition.

Is that a fault of the design?
Well, for whatever reason...the modelling shows a peeling wave but it doesn't seem to produce that in reality. I can only assume that something has gone amiss in between those two processes. I don't believe it is possible to produce a reef shape accurate enough using sandbags.

Do you think that you could've created a design that produced a wave at Boscombe?
Oh...you're really going to put me on the spot now.

You can say pass on the answer. After all, not many surfers would go to the English Channel looking for waves so not many designers would consider putting a reef there.
Well, OK, it's not a place that I'd select for a reef because it doesn't get much swell. But then again you can surf anywhere there's swell even if it's just one foot. Certainly where you've got a very small wave climate the shape of the reef becomes ever more important. Big swells can ride over imperfections and irregularities on a reef, and still give you a good wave shape, while small swells react to imperfections and wave shape is compromised. So you need a very accurate bottom shape for small swells. My concept would give you a very accurate bottom shape.

Where is the ideal stretch of coast to build your first reef?
I think it's going to be where there is a coastal protection element to the design. The Gold Coast already has an artificial reef at Narrowneck that was designed as a coastal protection structure so the Gold Coast would be a good place to do some trials on artificial reefs.

Why? Because the sand flow is predictable?
I think the Gold Coast Council is a bit more progressive in terms of innovation in coastal protection. There are also a lot of surfers in the community. I guess those two things coming together make that area a possible choice for trials if they were to happen. But it could be anywhere...

Do you foresee the day when artificial reefs are as popular as skateparks?
I think there's a lot of overcrowding the in the surf. There are lots of surfers trying to find a decent wave so as soon as the first reef that produces a decent wave is built there will be a lot of people that want them. And it's my aim to build the first one.

Website for Offshore Surf Reefs

Comments

the-spleen_2's picture
the-spleen_2's picture
the-spleen_2 commented Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 4:41am

Its about time we had a serious debate about this in Australia and faced up to a few facts. The Gold Coast is the most engineered bit of coastline in Australia, if not the world. What percentage of the population do surfers make up on the GC? I'd say around 50%. That's a lot of people with an interest in artificial reefs.

Narrowneck was a missed opprtunity but at least it showed that reefs can exist out of sight and not have negative side effects. This guy is right, sell the benefits and then treat them like skate parks.

victa-lazlo's picture
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victa-lazlo commented Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 5:11am

I'm as keen as any gold coast surfer to see an artififical reef built but its just not going to happen after the sand pumping debarcle. After years of campaigning the qld and nsw govts figured out a solution only to have whingeing old pricks say its not good enough. They want an more complex (expensive) solution now so they can ride Kirra twice a year.

They got the best wave on the east coast created for them and it wasn't good enough. Imagine the shitfight amongst surfers trying to create a wave from scratch? Its a fight the politicians dont want or need.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 6:04am

It's a debate that needs to happen because with overcrowding at metro spots artificial reefs (and lets be honest it would be need to be at least 6-12 on the Goldy) sponsored by the industry are the only rational solution.
The Gold Coast is artificially engineered from one end to the other so there are no real valid environmental objections.

monk's picture
monk's picture
monk commented Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 6:14am

I think northern metro Perth would greatly benefit from an artifial reef. There is already one at Leighton Beach south of Cottesloe, but due to the presence of Garden Island and offshore reefs blocking the prevailing swell direction it only breaks a couple of times a year (but can be a great right-hander on its day). However, it is not in the most optimal location.

Scarborough is plauged with better swells (especially during winter) which regularly break onto crappy sand-banks that are very close to the shore. Break-neck closeouts most of the time. A couple of reefs a similar shape to Supertubes or Inji Carpark reefs down south would do wonders at the Scarborough stretch - to create waves more similar to Trigg Point. I seriously doubt there'd be much environmental degredation. Perth has a lot of surfers, and I think that the benefit in the creation of better waves from artifical reefs would be greater somewhere like Scarbs than the Goldie which usually has good quality beachies.

atticus's picture
atticus's picture
atticus commented Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 10:40am

I think Steve might be a bit late, we've already got two artificial reefs: Cables and Narrowneck.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 10:51am

The title was all mine Atticus. I'm aware of Cables and Narrowneck (not a surfing reef BTW), and there's even another artificial reef on the Bundaberg Coast. Yet none of them are 'quality' artificial reefs, and that's the distinction I made. Steve is adamant that his concept would create high quality surfing waves. The first 'proper' artificial reef, if you will.

benski's picture
benski's picture
benski commented Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 5:13pm

I don't doubt the sincerity of this guy but I disagree with him from the start given he's starting from the point of view of modifying the landscape to suit our needs. Obviously I'm well aware that we do that all the time and I have the luxury of using modifications (roads, dams etc), but I think we can do better by moving away from this model.

It's clear that our understanding of littoral processes is not complete. The superbank/Kirra scenario shows that. The Noosa River mouth/main beach history shows that. We have learned from these and other examples and we now know more, but every location has its own set of currents and environmental influences. When you put something in the path of a current it's going to alter the sediment accumulation around it, at both fine scales and broad scales. I don't think we should do this for waves alone.

Also, something I don't understand very well is how the stability of the bed effects the performance of the reef over the long term. Sand is obviously very mobile so the bed on which the reef is placed will shift and vary in depth with the scour of littoral currents and wave action. Surely this means the reef will have a limited lifespan.

This is all just based on my own perspective. We've changed the landscape around us for short term gain in so many areas. Many of these have paid off for us extremely well, but some of them have had unforeseen adverse effects. Given the consistency of waves we've got in Oz, I think we can do without these. I'd be interested in being convinced the other way based on some evidence (modelling results etc). But as irritating as it would be for developers, I would want to see a decent EIS for a project such as this.

And remember, even a reef is a shitty closeout in some swell directions.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 7:46pm

....."but I think we can do better by moving away from this model."

How so Benski?

Could we at least admit here that the best waves on the Goldy are in fact now man-made phenomena worth millions to the local economy...D-Bah, South Straddie, Superbank.
Even Kirra in it's prime was essentially man-made (caused by the Big Groyne and starvation of sand in Coolie Bay from the Tweed River walls).

There is enough understanding of sediment budgets and sand transport now for these things to be built on the Gold Coast and other metro areas.

The thing is we need to now clearly differentiate between high use metro areas and more natural, wild places.

Bulldozers and heavy machinery might belong on the Goldy but they sure as fuck don't belong in the Yuraygir national park for example.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 10:43pm

Yeah, but you can just as readily admit that each example is either a solution to a mistake that happened earlier or an unintended side affect of another operation, thereby reinforcing the fact that when you alter the nearshore zone there'll be flow on effects elsewhere.

benski's picture
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benski commented Tuesday, 17 May 2011 at 11:33pm

Stunet makes a good point there. And it's true that probably the best waves on the coast are those you mention. But to imagine the outcome of what is being proposed here, putting a reef in a surf zone somewhere along the broadbeach to main beach stretch won't create a new wave, it will just fix one of them in the same place. If you walk that stretch during a south swell you'll see, I dunno ten different banks with near perfect waves breaking? Maybe fewer, but a fair few. Naturally the banks will move and so those waves won't be in the same place in the next few months, but along that stretch at any given time there'll be a bunch of waves. Putting a reef in will just fix one in place. That's not much of an outcome I don't think. It always amazes me how surprisingly easy it is to surf pretty uncrowded, yet really good beachies with very makeable barrels along the gold coast avoiding Dbah and Snapper. I haven't been down there in a while, but the same applies to the Sunny coast where I've been living for the past couple of years. Sand banks and channels.

Also, an artificial reef along a stretch of beach won't create a wave as long as snapper and I expect it could be more tidally affected than a typical beach break unless it has a graduated depth change (which presumably it won't because then it won't be as hollow).

Regarding my pie in the sky idea of getting away from the development for our needs idea, well that's largely pie in the sky. But it does have a reasonable foundation I think. We have tried to conquer nature with engineering for the past thousand years or so. It's very much worked to our advantage (as a species), and there'll be a need for it for as long as we exist. But we now know that unintended consequences can have results that make some of those interventions less worthwhile. So I think we can do better for the longer term by not jumping to an engineering solution to all our problems as a first resort. It may well be the best solution a lot of the time but it may not be at the same time. We would be better off looking to see how we can adjust our behaviour to fit within the limited resources first and then go to an engineering solution afterwards. This would require some sharp entrepreneurs to come up with profit making designs as pathways to this but making money from recycling is a simple example of what I'm talking about.

It strikes me as not a very smart idea to alter coastal sediment regimes for something as indulgent as an artificial reef when waves that are just as good go unridden along the same stretch of coast we're discussing every south swell. But I guess, if the GC council wants to create hoopla about another "perfect wave" which would attract the hordes and reduce the crowds at other banks, I guess that aint a bad thing as far as getting a wave goes.

rail2rail's picture
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rail2rail commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 12:28am

WTF?? The argument that an artificial reef will have some sort of environmental impact by disrupting sand flow and so on - is just the biggest load of garbage that I have ever heard.

Daily, I see the beach tractor raking and flattening the beaches to make it nice for tourists. I see "rehabilitation" of coastal dunes where dunes are actually supposed to be - as natures way to protect against erosion. I see the building of Marina's and Groynes and many other activities where humans are already impacting upon the environment and yet - we are concerned about the environmental impact of having artificial reefs.

And yet, because the waves have no shape locally, we are forced to drive our 4wds to some obscure track, rip the place apart just so we can access a decent wave. Surely, you've got to be kidding right?

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 1:45am

Anyway, there is no natural sand flow on the Gold coast. None at all.

And with all due respect Benski.....very, very often and for months at at time the whole coast between Nobbys and the Spit is one big outer bank, inshore gutter and shorey.
That in fact is it's natural status quo shape.

What we need to think about are set-ups like the old sausage groyne at North Kirra. Low impact, cheap and very reliable in creating sand build-ups in the near-shore zone ie peeling waves.
Put these things in just off the shore and watch the near-shore profile change to little V-banks which offer reliable, consistent surf breaks (without being epic).
Perfect for a neighbourhood wave without becoming major drawcards.

patty's picture
patty's picture
patty commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 5:44am

It seems to have been a very civilized debate so far but I'd just like to point out that you, rail2rail, are an ignorant, uneducated cockjockey.

That is all.

eden78's picture
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eden78 commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 6:12am

Well, getting back to the "Pie in the Sky" assertions, I think that status quo is the go here. But some valid arguments made by all.

Stunet you say "that each example is either a solution to a mistake that happened earlier or an unintended side affect of another operations." This for me points to our still-incomplete schooling on ocean currents and sandflow. Benski, I join with your query on future changes that may occur with any artificial reef structure. Perhaps someone can tell us about long term stability and impacts of these sorts of reef. Has steel (as suggested in the article) been utilised in any other reefs?)

rail2rail you've gotten a bit feisty here and in my opinion leapfrogged (like so many other developments along our coast) over some of the more important and understated elements involved in living with and beside the ocean. I'm all for using our creativity to make make changes to our natural environment, but I'll always be asking if the reason for our efforts is honourable and are we equipped to explore any potential downsides. I have to agree with benski suggesting that the construction of a reef simply to serve our surf addicted habits seems a little self-indulgent.

Freeride76, you sound confident that our understanding of sediment budgets and sand transport is sufficient to go ahead and build. Was it this brand of confidence that authorised the disastrous measures of biological controls we have historically invested in to affect our environment to suit our 'needs' and create more of the things we want? Anyway, is there really absolutely no natural sand flow?

So getting back to status quo, bank-gutter-bank is it's intended configuration. Some frustrating periods during the year makes the goldy stretch a nervous-tick for surfers and a haven for swimmers, kayakers, fisherman and photographers. You can't have mango all year round now fellas. And I for one sometimes look at the swarms in the lineup and feel a little twinge of sympathy for others who are not shackled to a floating craft. Living with the ocean surely can't be as two dimensional as we're assuming it to be. Benski's onto something here that is important, no matter how far in the sky his pie may be.

prawnhead's picture
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prawnhead commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 6:13am

the main argument here is for creating a good wave or series of waves for everyone to enjoy and disperse the crowd etc..i put it to you that having a world class wave anywhere only increases the amount of people prepared to go out or take up surfing .. i can't think of one world class known spot that doesn't have a cast of 100's whenever they even look like breaking...
north shore , desert point ,g-land, Snapper, Angourie, the ox (Sorry freeride) Noosa,windy whoppa , box head etc
maybe if you put enough breaks along the GC stretch you might spread em out a bit but i think you tend to attract more people into the arena
you only have to go to bali now and there are surfers from countries that hardly even have a wave germany italy sweden etc...
bit of a contradiction how we are prepared to spend millions on dumping sewarage via deep ocean outfalls still an environmental disaster(although my local has finally got its game together and recycles the water)but try to move a bit of sand and everyone is out getting their cut of the environmental impact gravy train and screaming vandalism
this is an old school concept anyway ,socialist public facilities crud ,my capitalist suggestion is make the whole lot moveable on a submersible barge with a tug and rent it out to the ASP or various surfing associations, clubs,highest bidder etc on the weekends and i can plonk where ever i want for a few uncrowded sessions through the week
steve barrett you can send my royalties cheque to.........

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 6:22am

Well my confidence is based on observation of the Gold Coast and working with scientists on a project about the TRESBP effect on Kirra.

Anyone who want to study the effect of a hard structure on beach profile, go look at your nearest shipwreck.
Erosion on the upcurrent side, accretion down stream......ie a change in the beach profile which oftens forms good banks.

The Wreck at Byron is exhibit A.

I don't think we should be trying to create hyped perfect waves but just lots more average ordinary waves that are better than closeouts and offer options to spread the crowd when D-Bah is the only surfable option.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 6:30am

Scientists and the surfing community I might add.

And elders like Wayne Deane lobbied hard for a another outlet near North Kirra to deal with the excess sand flow that eventually swamped Kirra.

There's been an unbelieveable amount of engineering work on sand on the Gold Coast; the process is well understood and it's not rocket science.

From a coastal protection POV the sand bypass has been an unbelievable success. They wanted beach width to protect from storm erosion and that exactly what they got.

The Superbank was an unintended consequence from an coastal protection standpoint but was well forecast by long term locals.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 6:33am

And sorry to blather on here but I much prefer natural coastlines and where these exist I think they should be zealously protected from man made structures.

eden78's picture
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eden78 commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 6:39am

Fair call then freeride. Though to use exibit A in Byron as the example, the coastal shape is significantly locally impacted from this wreck. Most of the Goldy's coast is raw: missing an all important main inside dune. My concern is that it cannot 'naturally' respond to the changes that may ensue. And so we see more of the circus of man making a mess, cleaning up it's mess, burying it's own mess, running out of places to hide its mess, burning its mess, global warming its mess.

My argument aligns with benskis and grows out of discomfort with the approach we all seem to take in believing that if it's possible, then we have the right to modify the environment to suit our own needs. Which in this case is more about our wants than needs. And perhaps I'm crazy posting this on a Swellnet forum but for most of us leisure surfers (obsessed though we may be), shouldn't we be considering alternative options to grovel when the conditions aren't right?

Also, I may be wrong here, but isn't D-Bah often the only option as it's conspicuous easterly position catches swell (that probably would not be caught further up the coast, no matter how many shipwrecks)?

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 6:44am

Thing is though Eden, the Goldy is already Right now engineered from arsehole to breakfast as my grandad would say.

It has sand pumping systems at either end. And dredgeing from the Tweed River.
And groynes and part-time sand pumping from the Talley creek.

It's already a completely engineered system. Complete with man-made waves.

A few sand bags or steel things are small fry compared to the scale and scope of already existing works.

Now if you want to talk about getting the Goldy back to some kind of natural state, that's a whole 'nother convo.

rail2rail's picture
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rail2rail commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 6:51am

Patty, Appreciate your educated input into this civilised debate.

Many thanks.

eden78's picture
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eden78 commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 6:54am

Hahaha. I like your grandad. Ok, so it's already spoiled. A want relying on a need relying on an open river mouth relying on a groin relying on a dredge etc. So it's true then a reef would probably impact little. Is it only worth doing something of principle then if we get it all back to basics, given that the impact is likely to be irrelevant? Maybe. .

rail2rail's picture
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rail2rail commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 7:19am

Eden, you said I was fiesty and then went on to articulate your point effectively. All good. Bit of an insight - near where I live, a massive marina was constructed years ago. All sand flow to the north has completely been entrapped. Since the construction of the Marina, banks no longer exist on the local beaches as sand flow to the South has stopped.

This means that surf potential is now nearly non existant with the exception of one spot. Now you can probably imagine how hectic this spot is and some of the stuff that goes on in the surf is somewhat less than savoury. At least on the Goldy, there are already many sick spots to choose from.

So, with the development of marinas among other things, I view the construction of an artificial reef as something that will have a limited impact as opposed to all the other millions of ways that we find to stuff up our environment.

But if you've got the Alley, Burleigh, Rainbow/Snapper, Dbah, Straddie etc - then the argument for an artificial reef is nonsensical. Bit like wanting to construct an artificial reef near Margaret River.

Eden, I agree - it does sound self indulgent. Thing is, a lot of surfers are self indulgent. I would definitely support the construction of an artificial reef in an area where development has already been responsible for stuffing the surf up (and the environment) in the first instance.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 7:33am

Why is the construction of artifical reefs any more self indulgent than sporting facilities/boat ramps etc etc ?

Surfing is worth millions to the local GC economy.....it should at least be afforded the same economic respect as other sporting/recreation endeavours.

And R2R building an AR reef on the Goldy is far from nonsensical when you consider the crowds there.

patty's picture
patty's picture
patty commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 10:05am

Mr Freeride,

I've got meself in a spot of bother and need someone to represent me in court. Someone that can argue like a mofo and not take fuck off for an answer.

What's yer rates?

andrew-pitt's picture
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andrew-pitt commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 12:46pm

Gold Coast in 90 years? Here's my prediction...climate change will vary the location and look of the coastline, because of a variation in swell directions and higher tides. Rather than 'retreat', Gold Coasters will install storm barriers, like submerged offshore reefs. As surfers - we need to ensure those reefs provide a positive outcome for us - better waves. Not a 'hit or miss' approach, not seawalls, not closeout reefs.
The natural environment is an inspiration - The Great Barrier Reef is an existing ecosystem that provides coastal protection + our best beachbreaks on the east coast have offshore bomboras (see Nth Narrabeen)... If we are going to adapt to climate change - and maintain our coastal beach and surf culture - i see that Barrier Reef extending down to Sydney - with pumping surf spots the whole length.
PS. Steve Barrett is a real gentleman and i admire his work

benski's picture
benski's picture
benski commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 9:49pm

Well crikey, things moved on while I was gone.

Freeride, I see the general point you are making but I just don't agree with it. Every urban area is largely buggered as far as natural processes go. The Brisbane river is invaded by carp, it's completely lost its natural flow regime and for a while there it was little more than the western reach of Moreton Bay. Its smaller sub catchments are invaded by smaller species like sword tails, mosquito fish, gold fish and of course carp as well. These displace native species, reducing biodiversity and functional diversity. The water quality is poor, pretty much across the whole drainage, with small areas in the headwaters of subcatchments being somewhat undisturbed. However, the state of this ecosystem doesn't, in my view, mean we should forget about improving its health and restoring it to a higher quality river. And it doesn't mean we should allow any sort of development that suits one group of users without looking over the impact on all users and the ecosystem itself. Stopping it from getting more buggered is a valid position I think. The same applies to reefs on the GC. I see the point you're making but I disagree with it on that basis.

Secondly, I think the slippery slope argument has some merit in this case. Assuming the GCC put some in, you know the Tweed Shire will want some of that action. There's a recent development down that way that's brought an exponential increase in crowds along what was once a pretty secluded empty beach break. A few reefs in there would be helpful. And on it would go. I reckon anyway. The next problem is that we might be able to stop them going into the national parks, but if a bunch of em go in around national parks they may disrupt the sand flow into said parks. I'm not talking one or two, I'm talking multiple. Anyway, it's a possibility in the longer term.

Lastly, why is modifying the bottom of the sea more indulgent than building soccer fields? I think because we don't need them. You can't play soccer without a field, we can surf along our coastline without artificial reefs. Also, many other groups can use a soccer field, touch footy teams, they can be used for league and union etc. We're the only ones who benefit from an artificial reef, yet it potentially impacts other users negatively.

So that's about it from me. I recognise that one reef here or there is small fry and it's true, it is. But I'm not talking about just one reef because I doubt very much that Steve Barrett will stop making them after installing just one. That's not meant to be narky comment, the man needs to make a living after all and that's fair enough.

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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 18 May 2011 at 11:19pm

Benski, great rebuttal. This is a conversation that needs to happen.

I can't see how your example of introduced species in the Brisbane River is at all relevant to building (more) artifical reefs on the Goldy.
There's already an artifical reef at Narrowneck and like all hard structure it creates an ecosystem which is colonised by benthic organisms and fish life.
In other words, all the evidence strongly points to the exact opposite of your concern: it creates habitat and improves ecological outcomes.

There's plenty of data on the Narrowneck AR...go check it out and see for yourself. Or better still, on a flat day go out there with snorkel and mask and check it out. You'll be surprised by the fish life out there. It holds bait species like yellowtail which in turn attracts other pelagic predators like trevally and tailor.

That leads to the next point. Artifical reefs don't just benefit a few greedy surfers. Divers, fisherman and coastal walkers all benefit.
In economies like the Gold Coast which are heavily dependent on surfing and it's ancillary activities there are widespread benefits.

We don;t need them. Technically no. But tell that to the 300plus surfers at D-bah when there's nowhere else breaking. They pay taxes and vote, why should their recreation not be considered equal to others?
Would you say that to the soccer club if they had to drive to Ballina to play on a field because the only other field had 5 teams all lined up waiting to play?

The slippery slope argument is just so moot on the Goldy, where the pooch got screwed over 50 years ago, when they started building high rise on the beach. Since then ,they've called in the army to sandbag when TC Dinah almost washed away the Surfers beachfront (shame it didn't if you ask me), built training walls, groyne after fucking groyne, huge ships from the Netherlands dredging sand, sausage groynes, breakwalls and sand bypasses at Southport/Nerang/South Straddie then Tweed/Snapper.
You get my drift?
Milions of millions of taxpayers dollars. Every conceivable form of engineering.
The slippery slope on the Goldy is a 3 mile long ski jump covered in oil and the place is hurtling along it at a million miles an hour.

In such an artificial, managed environment a few hard structures placed in the near shore zone with clear recreational benefits for a majority of the coastal citizens who enjoy surfing, fishing , diving, walking is just such a win-win and might prevent some of the surf-rage and surf frustration so prevalent on the Goldy . As well as spill over from the Goldy into adjacent wave zones.
Umm...yes it might stop a few Goldy crew driving down here.

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heals commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 12:43am

I've been reading this debate with interest - good play to Benski, Freeride, Eden and Prawnhead (I've got to get me a better handle).

Freeride, your point about building reefs to 'spread the load' is an argument that is easily pickled. As surfers - heck, as humans - we don't leave resources half-touched. We use them until they are fully expired. In surfing terms this means that we fill a break with crowds till it reaches capacity and is unworkable.

The Superbank is an excellent example, statistics bear out that more people moved to the GC after 2000 when the Superbank came into existence. It didn't spread the load, it created another resource for people to come and use up. It was sold to surfers worldwide and they came in droves.

The same thing will happen to artificial reefs on the GC. I note that you've said that the reefs shouldn't be 'world class' but it's a bit fanciful to think that a reef designer is going to sell their product as second rate. It simply won't happen.

I often hear about how bad Narrowneck reef is for surfing. Yet, I don't even live on the GC yet I know that Narrowneck isn't a surfing reef, it was made for coastal protection. Now, think about a reef that WAS made for surfing yet didn't offer a good wave. It would be roundly ridiculed and the desgner wouldn't get any return business. I highly doubt any designer would aim so low.

Your point about the already-engineered coastline on the GC is valid. I don't think it justifies artificial reefs though.

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benski commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 12:43am

Morning Freeride,

Valid points you make there. Cheers for your reply. Bit of a response and a wander through my thinking below.

Regarding my Brisbane river analogy, it was simply to illustrate my thinking that just because an ecosystem is already screwed doesn't mean we should sacrifice it. I realise the goldy is gone, I particularly liked and agreed with your Outsider piece on it a few months back that fired some folk up. But my point was just to show why I don't agree with sanctioning further potential environmental degradation somewhere just because it's already hammered. The Brissie river is that, but I think there is benefit for us all in trying to restore it or if nothing else, preventing it from being further degraded. I think the same applies to the goldy, despite its heavily altered state. Reading through that I see that all that is based on the idea that human ecosystem alteration is inherently bad and best avoided. But the alternative view that we're a part of the ecosystem and have the right to alter it for our needs/wants as much as the beaver does to dam a river is valid too, I just don't think I hold that value. But that's a discussion for another day I think.

Re the slippery slope argument, I was applying that a bit differently from normal. You're right it's not valid for the goldy itself, as you say it's basically gone. My slippery slope argument is that it won't stop at the goldy. The slippery slope will be the other councils getting into it and reefs popping up everywhere and potentially affecting sand flow at as yet undisturbed places.

Regarding the 300 plus surfers at Dbah. That's a choice they make to paddle out. I am certainly different there, on those days I go snorkelling at places like Fingal, or Moffat head - Noosa NP from where I've been living recently (never snorkelled Narrowneck though). I think our recreation is treated equally to others with the provision of parking facilities, showers, and so on at the beach. I realise that's not just for surfers, but it's a clear investment by local govts in the recreation of the coastal users. My point is that surfing is already treated equally I think. Re the absence of soccer fields, well if a soccer field doesn't exist there aint a place to play. But good surf always comes around, those 300 hundred surfers at Dbah would have spread across the region a week before and surfed perfect waves at Snapper, The Alley, Burleigh etc.

Anyway, I'm just throwing up arguments of rebuttal that are not really the basis of my view. It's nothing more than a general resistance to engineering solutions for our whims. I see your point about the goldy for sure, and I'm not gonna be chaining myself to the sea floor when they bring in the dozers to install these things. But I guess for me it comes down to 1) that it's not too late to stop altering the ecosystem there and 2) it won't stop at the goldy. stubborn idealistic basis to my view there, I recognise, but that's about where I stand on it.

Also as important as it may seem I guess I don't see this as a big problem in the scheme of things (lack of banks and reefs), particularly since even a perfect reef wave will be shit in an onshore which blow, what 80%(?) of the daylight hours every year.

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 1:03am

...."The Superbank is an excellent example, statistics bear out that more people moved to the GC after 2000 when the Superbank came into existence. It didn't spread the load, it created another resource for people to come and use up. It was sold to surfers worldwide and they came in droves...."

Heals, your muddling cause and effect there.

The massive population influxes into SEQLD and the Goldy in particular, pre-dated and will post-date the Super-bank. They are part of larger demographic and pop movements in Aus.

Yes, the aggressive marketing of the Superbank was part of it but by no means the sole or even major factor for the pop increases on the Goldy.
Surf has been crowded on the Goldy well before the Superbank. The Superbank, after the demise of Kirra, concentrated crowds at one break that previously would have been spread between 3 or 4 (ie when Snapper, Rainbow, Greenmount, Spot X, Big Groyne, Little Groyne were all separate waves). Any long term Coolie local will tell you that.

But lets use a little hypothetical.

It's a typical winters day and there's 2-3ft of S swell in the water.
D-Bah is pretty much the only wave on the southern end, Straddie on the northern end.
The rest of the beachies are one long straight close-out, unless you drive south of the border.
A very common occurrence between May and Oct.

There's 4 or 5 small ASR built between Nobbys and the Spit. They are offering up fun surfable waves. Through the day, and even when the wind turns onshore, they have some shape.

Now, 20 of the blokes from Mermaid decided not to drive to Straddie and surf there.

20 of the blokes from Broadie are at their ASR.

Same at Surfers (plus 50 backbackers).

It doens't take a rocket scientist to see how this just creates some spreading of the crowd and options for people.
Maybe when the points are on , they offer at least a surfable option and a few hardcores might surf an onshore ASR instead of joining the human zoo at the Supery.

A few of these blokes will opt to stay and surf at home instead of driving to Ballina on the weekend.

Yes, the ASR's will get super crowded on weekends but they will offer options during the week.

Look what happens on the Goldy when you get small E swells and fun banks. All of a sudden the crowd thins as options open up.

It makes so much sense to have a few of these things spread from Tugun to the Spit.

As for other councils following suit?

I was at a coastal conference at Byron for coastal protection.
Artifical reefs were raised as a solution to the Belongil erosion problem.
Dismissed. Why?
Too fucking expensive.

Only a few metro areas have the cash to actually build these things.

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eden78 commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 1:24am

Expensive at the mo. Swap steel for plastic - not as stable, may leave scrap in the area when damaged and give the kids something to pickup on cleanup Aust day in the future. But cheaper.

Yeah freeride I like the idea of spreading the surfers but to compare, highways and main roads that are expanded invariably, inevitably become choked. I reckon benski's got the idea snorkelling on those crowded days. And what happens in future when surfing falls out of fashion (assuming that it is susceptible to these forces) and we've invested unnecessarily?

I dunno. I used to live in Mermaid on the Goldy and though I definitely experienced springtime frustration with the rest of the surfing population, I still have memories of very happy regular surfs with no-one around. The satisfaction equation considers both quality and crowds.

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 1:40am

.....And what happens in future when surfing falls out of fashion (assuming that it is susceptible to these forces) and we've invested unnecessarily? "

Uncrowded waves at artifical reefs?

I'd love to see surfing fall out of fashion but I fear we may be waiting a long time for that to happen.

Anyhow I'm arguing from a classic NIMBY position.

But I have been the beneficiary of Gold Coast engineering in the past.

I was living on the North End when they build the Southport seaway/sand bypass.

First year or two was a delirious shack-fest at uncrowded South Straddie.

And when the Super-y was in it's prime it had such a magnetic effect that the surf was way less crowded here.

These things do happen.

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fitzroy-21 commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 1:45am

This subject has multiple pros and cons to every aspect. There is some excellent points made on both sides above. As pointed out above Steve, it will take the pressure off other places.
As surfers, at times we can be quite lazy. Instead of doing the rounds checking banks etc, we will tend to go to places we know will be working, check surf cams, texts from mates etc.
This can be a good thing for those that like to explore and find a bank to themselves. Alot more will go to these ASR's leaving those chance places that may be breaking for the luck of those willing to look.
Enviromentally, its difficult to say how bad the impact will be on sand flows. It certainly will improve habitat to what is normally an underwater desert (yes deserts still have ecosystems). This again will gain multiple uses. Not just humans (surfers, divers, fishers) but also more variety for those ecosystems to set up and thrive on, which may in turn releive the pressure on diminishing habitats elsewhere. Councils/governments need to see more on the long term than the short term outlay.
Again, there are multiple pros and cons and not just to us as surfers.

I just see more in favour.

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 2:05am

I'd love to see someone lay out the case against.

Other than vague philosophical objections to modifying the natural environment(which are about 50yrs too late for the GC) I haven't really heard anything concrete as to why not.

Destroying a natural ecosystem and disrupting sand flow?

We already have the answers to those questions courtesy of Narrowneck.

The only real objection anchored in the real world that I can see is how to pay for it and can someone build one that actually fucking works.

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fitzroy-21 commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 2:19am

If it works, and throws a good quality wave that everyone wants to surf,why not hold the quik pro gold coast on it and a few other comps. I'm guessing that the comps pay to hold the comp at super bank, so it could pay off in no time.

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fitzroy-21 commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 2:20am

I'm assuming the first one would be built on the GC

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andrew-pitt commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 2:33am

Freeride - check out blogs by Jim Moriarty CEO of Surfrider Foundation USA - this guy hates built surfing reefs - and presents the 'against arguement' with great passion.

http://oceanswavesbeaches.surfrider.org/taking-our-eyes-off-the-diamonds...

But back to the Goldie... in the early 2000's the Superbank was fortuitously Australia's most popular wave - but it was unplanned, yet to be duplicated at will. As a keen surfer - that lost opportunity dissapoints me. Meanwhile the sand pumping continues (Palm Beach Qld recently)...with more lost opportunities. Check this You Tube video of a 2009 sand pumping project in the Netherlands - they pushed out a sand point that provided peeling point-like waves for up to three months. If surfers ask - perhaps a sand point will be built with every coastal protection beach nourishment project.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EH_OncNY53E

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heals commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 2:58am

To enlighten an outsider...how does the sand pumping at Palm Beach work? Is it just dumped? Or is it piped like at Straddy and Snapper?

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andrew-pitt commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 3:55am

I am not a Gold Coast local, though to my understanding - sand is dredged from nearby estuaries and piped (with temporary pipes) as a sand/water mix onto Palm Beach. Bulldozers then re-distribute the sand evenly along the length of the shoreline. In effect, this is re-inforcing close-out banks, does nothing to improve conditions for surfers. (Perhaps a local surfer could expand or correct on this please).

The same method/activity probably occurred at more than 10 beaches on the east coast in the last 12 months - lost surfing opportunities every time. My concern - if this is happening to the coast, usually in winter, with tax payers $$$ - surfers should benefit also.

The concept of the sand point - is to push the sand seaward - usually at an 'erosion hot spot'. Yes, within 3 months, the shoreline is back to equilibrium - and the placement method is a non issue.

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 3:58am

Hi Andrew I read Jim's blogs and agree with his basic premise on artifical surfing reefs as they stand now: they are expensive and don't work.

These are legitimate objections.

I also note this quote by Rabbit on the Narrowneck reef and the implications for future projects:

“I just think overall that it was implemented as a buffer to prohibit erosion. I don’t think surf quality was an objective but it does break. I don’t observe it enough to report on how many days a year it breaks. To me it is another example of getting the job half done. If surf quality was the objective it would have been shallower with a longer finger of artificial reef but that didn’t happen and it is what it is. I would like to see council’s invest in artificial reef technology that is designed to enhance surf quality as a recreational amenity. Taking population projections for South East Queensland into consideration, the Gold Coast City Council needs to seriously research the potential for creating new surf spots. At present we actually have diminishing surf amenity, so this has to be addressed before major problems manifest themselves in the social fabric. This situation needs attention before the present situation spirals out of control. “

Not sure what you mean by this: "in the early 2000's the Superbank was fortuitously Australia's most popular wave - but it was unplanned, yet to be duplicated at will. As a keen surfer - that lost opportunity dissapoints me.'

Surf quality was considered by a committee advising the bypass consisting of at least Peter Turner, Bugs and Bruce Lee : there was at least a basic understanding as to how the sand pumping was affecting surf quality.

This understanding was parlayed into the beach nourishment at D-Bah (ie pumping into the near-shore surf zone instead of out the back).

Sand pumping outlets into the beach zone have proven to improve surf quality: D-Bah, South Straddie, Snapper. They directly improve sand bathymetry in the surf zone.

Not sure what is happening at Palmy right now. Could you enlighten?

And that Dutch footy of the little mini-Kirra sand bar was a freaking trip.

The original Delft report on QLD coastal erosion is mandatory reading.

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top-to-bottom-bells commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 4:20am

In all the artificial reefs I've seen (either firsthand or by photos) I'm always surprised by how small they are. Surely there's much more that makes for a good wave than a 50 metre hump made of sandbags or steel? What about the bathymetry offshore? The underwater contours that attract and focus swell lines?

Perhaps we know very little about what makes a great wave? It would explain why every artificial reef that has been built is a dud.

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 4:34am

Steve Barret, paging Steve Barret to the courtesy phone.

Your general public, who you will have to convince some time or later, would like to know whether you understand what makes a great wave and can you build an ASR that actually works?

I'm presuming you are reading this.

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andrew-pitt commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 6:39am

Bit like riding 4 fins. If you don't like 'em, don't ride 'em.

Existing man made surf spots include; Narooma Breakwall, Ballina breakwall,D'Bah, TOS, Port Macq, Moruya, Tuncury, Iluka, sand banks north of Narrowneck, Superbank etc, Byron Wreck,Signet wreck, Ala Moana in Oahu, Bridge in the Marshall Islands...and more... I am working up the database, but i estimate for every spot man has stuffed, we have created or improved 20 more - usually by unplanned accident.

As a surfing community - yes, we would like better than ASR's built at Cables, Narrowneck, Mt Reef, Opunake, Bournemouth and India. Particularly, more days per year of wave breaking quality. Early last century, the first surfboards built in Australia were a bit rough around the edges too.

Steve Barretts steel reefs - essentially prefabs - will fill a niche, perhaps ideal for small wave locations, where a smooth sea-floor is critical to increasing wave breaking quality and increasing the number of surfable days per year.

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freeride76 commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 10:47pm

With all due respect Andrew, that's a very poor analogy.

Riding four fins is a personal decision made by an individual.

Building artificial surfing reefs is a group decision that chews up millions of dollars of taxpayers' hard earned.

Now, I'm in favour of these things, so if the designer of these reefs can't convince me then he's got a snowballs chance in hell of convincing the general public.

So far we have not seen a good surfable purpose built reef.

So I'll ask again: where is the evidence that these reefs designed by Steve Barrett will justify the millions of taxpayers dollars and actually work?

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stunet commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 11:01pm

Steve's gonna go try and get online tonight to answer some questions. I just spoke to him and he's under the hammer with work today.

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evo62 commented Thursday, 19 May 2011 at 11:02pm

An aweful lot of long responses here, will take the time to read them later.

Stu,

The artifical reef you mentioned in Bundaberg (Bargara) was the result of someone moving some rocks around an existing point at low tide. He has lucked onto creating an incredibly good wave in comparison to the surrounding surf, which is mainly windblown slop. When the tide is right, it produces a far more powerful wave with a rippable face and the occasional little barrel that peels very nicely for a much longer distance then any of the surrounding 'surf spots'

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saltiest1 commented Friday, 20 May 2011 at 2:39am

if a location is sought, the southern reaches of mandurah would be a fantastic location. small swell between 2 to 5 ft is consistantly from the south west (well, nearly always!) with a growing surf culture, and the need to get the kids into a better lifestyle other than the drugs that turns them into idiots.
so many places where swell wraps in and goes to waste slapping up on limestone shoreline.its no margs here, but its something the community could really benefit from.
and the tidal range is usually only .5 metre.

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alakaboo commented Friday, 20 May 2011 at 3:07am

*I'd love to see someone lay out the case against.

The only real objection anchored in the real world that I can see is how to pay for it and can someone build one that actually fucking works.*

Steve, they seem to be pretty good points for the opposition.

Who's going to pay for it?
With uncertain benefits, not necessarily accruing to the people who pay for it, why would someone outlay the coin involved?

Not going to be State Govt,they don't fund surfing amenity projects, they fund coastal protection and navigation projects.

Not going to be the Feds, despite the recent budget allocating funds for artificial reef investigations at Old Bar. Gold Coast isn't a marginal electorate.

You're left with private investors and council funding it from internal revenue. You won't get a bank loan because there's no repayment mechanism.

Surf industry won't touch it. Why would they? Imagine the image damage when the first person breaks their neck at the Broadbeach Artificial Reef brought to you by Rip Curl. Can see the headline now:
R.I.P. Curl Reef
Even assuming that the construction of the reef is a resounding success, and revenue from Gold Coast surfers triples, it would be a drop in the ocean compared to the growth of 'secondary' markets. The ASP knows this, Brodie Carr knows this, I think you know this too.

And despite the insistence of a fecund carpenter from NZ, I don't think there are too many filthy rich surfers lying around trying to figure out what to do with a few mill.

So we're left with council.
GCCC is one of the few councils with the resources and will to actually have a crack at it, and given that it is already an engineered coastline it might actually be the best place to do it.

But what's in it for them? The existing wasteland of straight banks doesn't require as much maintenance as one with concentrated energy.
Surfers might spend a lot of money, but it doesn't go to council. Narrowneck got up because some form of coastal protection was going to be implemented anyway, so the marginal cost of gambling on the artificial reef was minimal.

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earthsmoltencore commented Friday, 20 May 2011 at 3:22am

Here in Vic we've had state govt recently fund artificial fishing reefs (reefballs) sunk in Port Phillip Bay to benefit rec fishers chasing snapper. Also, we've saw the scuttling of the Canberra done to benefit divers. These have been funded by both sides of politics - tends to be linked to election commitments made to industry lobby groups. Fishermen and divers are better at getting organised than surfers, it seems...

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freeride76 commented Friday, 20 May 2011 at 3:24am

Well, I think your right Alakaboo.

The coastal protection argument has been successfully prosecuted by the GCCC for many years and was the reason the Narrowneck reef got up.

GCCC have gone cold on the idea after the Palm Beach debacle (there was an ASR planned for Palmy which was scuttled by community opposition).

Anyone planning one of these things for Aus is gunna have to do a mighty good sales job to get the dough.

Or else do a Bargara and shift a few rocks around in the dead of night.

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alakaboo commented Friday, 20 May 2011 at 3:46am

*Fishermen and divers are better at getting organised than surfers, it seems...*
People keep banging on about the artificial reefs for fishing. Whilst I don't disagree that they have better lobbying bodies, they don't get put in without funding from the group themselves. There are fees for rec fishing licenses in the States that implement them.
Do you want to pay to surf? You'd be fairly atypical if you did.

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fitzroy-21 commented Friday, 20 May 2011 at 4:31am

Those fees and licences are for fisheries reserch ect. Go directly to government coffers to distribute.

The lobbying boddies are funded by members of various groups including the industries they support.

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alakaboo commented Friday, 20 May 2011 at 5:28am
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earthsmoltencore commented Friday, 20 May 2011 at 5:43am

Anyway, the sinking of the Canberra cost taxpayers $10M... and nobody even asked for it.

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steveb commented Friday, 20 May 2011 at 12:41pm

Hi fellow surfers, there's a great debate going on here, I appreciate your interest. Some answers-

Re -neg effects of reefs
Sticking with the GC, Freeride76 you are correct, like it or loathe it, the GC is engineered from end to end to maintain beach width and quality, and as part of that engineering strategy, the Narrowneck reef has proven itself to be a very sucessful protective structure for the Nth GC beaches, fundamentally well planned, with no neg effects. This would be the aim for any reef project, whether it is being designed for surfing, beach protection or both.

The only problem with the Narrowneck reef is that the wave quality on the whole is definitely nothing to get excited over. I don't think there is any argument about this.

What GC surfers need to ask is, based on the "success" of the Narrowneck reef, if there is ever to be another reef proposed on the GC, or if the Narrowneck reef ever needs to be revamped (it won't last forever), do you want that reef to produce quality waves, or not?

If you want quality waves from reefs then GCCC will need to start looking at reef concepts other than those that have been tried in the past.

Re - Will my reef concept actually work? - and who will pay?
There is no reason why it won't work, but obviously without building a full scale trial reef there is no absolute proof.
Modelling is very accurate, and given appropriate engineering and accurate construction of the design at full scale via my concept, wave quality should accurately mimic the modelling.

Like any r&d project, it will have to be funded by some means, and make a return for the investor. I don't believe anyone/public authority should be purchasing an unproven product, it has to be trialed and proven first. That said, maybe Govt authorities could allocate r&d funding for projects which may be of benefit to them.

Benski-
Re- stability of the seabed
From information I have been given, offshore seabed levels can be quite stable, or may vary up to +-2m or so depending on location and conditions. Most seabed areas (East Coast Aus)are generally deep sands or sand over other underlying strata. The engineering design will take these factors into account to produce a stable structure, regardless of what the ocean can throw at it. There are no engineering "unknowns".

Prawnhead-
Re -mobile submersible barge
Yes, sorry to say, i thought of this one back in the 80's, the tech would be more complex and the high costs of constant transporting/setup/remobilisation/demurrage etc would very soon equal the cost of a permanent reef -this is likely to be the killer. But, go for it if you wish.

Top-to-bottom-bells- and
Freeride76-
Re- what makes a great wave?
Boy, where to start on this one? As we surfers all know, all quality waves are unique, you can easily ID some breaks from a pic as they all have their own particular features. A wave's unique features are created by the botom shape, maybe a ledge straight out of deep water, maybe a gentle ramp, maybe a suck rock takeoff point or section, they are all unique, but all sought after quality waves have some similar features- a distinct focus/take-off area, generally an even breakline of varying degrees of hollowness and peel angle along a sloping/raking reef edge, and a wave face out in front of the breakline- this is the basic set-up and is created by similar underwater features on the breaks I've looked at. I've dived on and measured various reefs/point breaks with varying underlying geology in East Aus, Bali, Maldives and N Guinea, and figured out how they work- its interesting to see the differences, and the similarities.

The 1:50 scale tank-test model shape shown in the article was based on this field work.

Translating that info to an artificial reef design shape for any given location and effect will be a process of design/model/refine.

Reef size is limited by cost and practical engineering considerations, but needs to be big enough to create some focusing of the approaching swell(the peak) before the take-off point, allow for a reasonable length ride, and a tail-off end section. The reef size will also need to be appropriate for the site/wave climate. The test model reef shown is equal to a reef about 100m long, and would give a ride of about 50-80m depending on swell size.

As you say, swells may be refracted by deep offshore formations, but basically waves just approach a shoreline and shoal(amplitude increases, wavelength decreases, velocity decreases) as the depth decreases, then they are finally shaped locally by a nearer to shore feature like a reef or sandbank, just as shown in the wave tank. The bathymetry in the wave tank "seaward" of the reef model was representative of East Coast Aus conditions.

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benski commented Friday, 20 May 2011 at 6:33pm

G'day Steve,

Thanks for taking the time to answer all those questions. I'm not sure I agree that there are no engineering unknowns but, really that's just a banal quibble. I take your point that we can probably apply our current understanding to prevent a shifting seabed from negatively affecting the performance of the reef. However, my disagreement would enter here that there would probably still be some unforeseen issues. Not necessarily serious ones, but things to deal with nonetheless. I have no idea what these might be, it's little more than suspicion given this seems to be a common occurence with many engineering projects.

It's interesting to read that you've put a lot of field work into the design. It certainly suggests your resulting design would work better than others tried so far.

Anyway, thanks again and all the best with it.

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freeride76 commented Friday, 20 May 2011 at 8:21pm

Thanks for coming on Steve.

So, everything points to the GC as the obvious place or places to build these things.

Someone has mentioned Perth (or just south).

Are there any other joints on your radar as suitable locations.

We've all seen the debacle of building these things in insufficient swell climates (ie the fucking english channel.....hey I've got this great idea, lets build a reef where we get nothing but 1-2ft 5 sec windswell 11 months of the year!).

Also considering Jim Moriarty's arguments about thinning crowds, do you accept the proposition that for this to be an effective means of spreading crowds there will have to be at least a few of these built?

Appreciate your willingness to join the public conversation on this Steve.

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vicco commented Saturday, 21 May 2011 at 2:25am

I reckon a perfect spot would be Waratah Bay VIC. Always a dumpy closeout (other than a couple of average reef breaks down the beach) that gets really clean long period ground swells this time of year but doesnt cop the grunt of the swell. Swell dirction is very predictable, sand movements and currents are minimal and its a flat bottom.

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alakaboo commented Saturday, 21 May 2011 at 11:41pm

Steve B, good on you for making this participatory.

I'd like you to expand on this bit, if you can.
*Like any r&d project, it will have to be funded by some means, and make a return for the investor. I don't believe anyone/public authority should be purchasing an unproven product, it has to be trialed and proven first. That said, maybe Govt authorities could allocate r&d funding for projects which may be of benefit to them.*

How do you envision a return to the investor?
Parking fees aren't going to pay it off.
Given that the reefs would be placed in an open access public resource, how can there be any means of enforcing this?
You would firstly need to have a lease granted to the reef developer/owner, whatever the structure of that group.

The economics for a reef would only stack up in an already noted surf location. They aren't going to be on a remote tropical island, the obstacles to entry aren't great.

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philosurphizing... commented Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 12:48am

I would like to know if Swellnet would be interested in setting up a SURFING REEF DESIGN FORUM on this website.
A public forum where surfers with engineering minds can come together and COLLABORATE, and basicly get the ball rolling.
I personally would love to start communicating with like minded people who understand and see the potential of surfing reef technology.

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thermalben commented Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 2:32am

Sure philosurphizingkerching, we can set up a Surfing Reef Design Forum on the site. I'll post here once it's been added.

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jaybee commented Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 6:45am

I don't think the cost / won't work statements do not constitute an argument against. No one is forcing you to build one, if those with the vision can't get the funding then they won't build one either. If they do get the funding and approval, time will tell if it works or not. If we always waited for a guarantee that it would work before we tried to build something, we probably wouldn't have the Egyptian Pyramids.

I'm more interested in the philosophical reasons why we shouldn't even try - which I think is a key part of this article, but I personally don't feel has been sufficiently answered other than a general 'don't play with gaia' sort of idea.

My thoughts.
The 'humans shouldn't intervene' argument doesn't carry much weight for me. Humans are interventionists, if this type of development can contribute to the 'joy' of living (the assumption that if this project is successful then it would) then why shouldn't we pursue it as long as the impacts and side-effects are not significant (I'm certainly not arguing to develop and bugger all consequences).

The sand doesn't care where is lies, neither the water - all manner of life that finds a way to exist in these two layers will do it wherever they can find an appropriate environment. The vast ocean is in constant flux, there is always change, it only takes a big swell or a swell from a slightly different direction to change sandbanks. The intervention of a new submerged reef designed solely for the benefit of humans, means nothing to the ocean - it doesn't care.

How often do you hear discussions about breakwaters centre around their impact on the marine environment under the water? It is all about the visual impact, or the imapact on surfbreaks - both irrelevant to an artifical reef.

Yes, ocean users often feel they have a unique relationship with the ocean, but I would think the existence of additional surfing opportunities through artificial reefs enhances these feelings - artifical reefs aren't pouring in chemicals or shit or causing an impact that affects the ongoing marine lifecycles.

Environmental impact studies need to be completed, we don't want to create a new break and just destroy another, and this means they shouldn't just be chucked in anywhere, but if the above items are addressed, then I say why not?

So should it be Ok for humans to be interventionist - in a sensitive and sustainable way, I say yes.

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beavis commented Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 7:46am

In my mind I don't see these structures being built as a purely recreation based amenity, I can only envisage there construction in a location in significant need of a coastal protection structure.

Given the poor results from the artificial reefs built to date, I can understand why there is going to be alot of people unwilling to get behind an ASR project. Its a real shame that companies like ASR did so poorly to manage community expectations, and harvested poor working relationships with the councils they worked with (bournemouth). I believe that mismanagement has definitely set this whole process back a significantly, and I can understand why councils are going to be apprehensive about taking on a venture like this. It only takes a few quick google searches to unravel a history of poor results and business relationships on ASR's behalf. To make matters worse I don't feel they've communicated their successes very well either, I've only been able to find one video on the reef in India, which was apparently a resounding success. Wheres a report on the Environmental, Economic impacts of the project and importantly the surf!??

Projects in developing countries like the one in India might be what gets the ball rolling here, I'm sure they didn't face too much community backlash or council bureaucracy in the construction of that reef. Once people see some success, this might translate into some more reefs being built in Aus.

Or maybe locally, some fine tuning of the narrowneck reef to make it surfable on more tides/ swells could improve community opinions on the reefs.

There are numerous hot spot locations right up and down the coast which councils have been considering implementing various coastal protection works since the last real major storms of the 70's. What we need to ensure is that this science is proven and established, before, we enter into another dangerous wave climate phase which could match the severity of the 1970's, which may be sooner than we expect as we move into an IPO La Nina phase.
I've been thinking about Wamberal Beach, Gosford City Council has been tossing up what they should do about that stretch of coast since the 70's. Lucky for them the wave climate has been relitivly stable and its been put on the backburner, for now. Images about halfway down this page show the potential blowout location and some sick beachside mansion destruction http://www.coastalwatch.com/news/article.aspx?articleId=4524&cateId=3&ti...

I feel like an artificial reef presents a better argument for wamberal than planned retreat, a sea wall or beach nourishment. And this location definitely isnt unique. The potential for increased beach amenity, swimming safety, coastal protection, diving and surfing recreation, increased tourism, economic benefit, environmental protection of terrigal lagoon and added value to coastal properties surely cant be ignored.

As far as reef design goes, I feel like a combination of Steve's ideas and Andy Pitt's ideas on bombora controlled waves can be combined to create a structure that truly harnesses wave energy. Could it be possible to implement an offshore structure which is more crude in design (sand bags or something) which is designed to interact with waves of varying sizes (wave base is calculated for small to large waves) which doesnt cause waves to break and dissapate their energy but rather to shoal and focus it upon a point infront of the structure. Then in this location, a more specific and accurately engineered structure like what steve has designed harnesses that focused wave energy allowing it to break in an accurately engineered fashion that optimises surf potenial.

This has potential to draw wave energy away from a wide stretch of beach, where million dollar mansions are under threat, and focus it onto a hard structure (the reef) which dissapates wave energy protecting the beach behind. In turn the reefs acts a tombolo, encouraging accretion in the lee of the reef and increasing beach amenity and swimming safety.

I feel like Wamberal could be a good candidate because its essentially a closed compartment and the developments to the north of the erosion area are set back far and high enough away from the beach that they wont be impeded by whatever reduction of northward littoral transport it may cause.

Also Terrigal's a diving hotspot, not only could they have the Adelaide to dive on around the corner but they could also have an artificial reef structure right by the harbour to go look at.

I guess the only problem we really face is who is actually gonna pay for it.

What are your thoughts?

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beavis commented Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 7:47am

wow sorry i kind of got ahead of myself didnt mean to write so much!

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what-would-i-know commented Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 9:12am

I wish words of support could cost $1000 a word to help pay for improved surf?

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steveb commented Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 11:56am

Freeride-
Re - Are there any other joints on your radar as suitable locations?

I often get emails from people, just like Vicco, with suggestions of where to put reefs, most of them are places, I won't mention specific places, which get good swell, are protected from winds but have little in the way of good banks, everyone probably has somewhere like that in mind. On East Coast Aus, I also think Newcastle and Wollongong have potential for a trial reef because both are industrial ports with fabrication facilities and suitable sites close by.

Artificial reefs would not be appropriate everywhere, just in the same way as development is not appropriate everywhere.

As for spreading crowds, I think even 1 new break would have to help, but more good waves would also attract more people, so areas proposing reefs would also have to take this into consideration. Someone may have some figures on this... perhaps Neil if you are following this...? Certainly the crowds on the choice breaks are a problem with no other solution in sight. Perhaps purpose builts reefs could be allocated to larger craft ie SUP, skis, etc to make some busy breaks safer.

Alakaboo-
Re- How do you envision a return to the investor?
Assuming the first reef is built and it is a success, there will be a demand for reefs from the surfing public in the same way as there is a demand for say public skate parks from skaters. Constituents lobby politicians, and if they are sucessful lobbiers, then funding is found for the facility and it is purchased by that public authority for public use, just as skate park would be. So a return is made by the investor on the sale of that reef. The reef would then be owned by the public authority for the benefit of the public, and would be free to users.
Additionally, the reef, being a new "world-class" wave, will need a name every time it is mentioned in the worldwide media, so for instance it could be the "brand-x(well known surf company)GC reef". Naming/event management rights could be retained or sold separately.
Also reefs might be purchased privately by island resort owners (not in Aus).

Beavis-
Re- coastal protection by reefs
I think you have raised some good points. Despite the success of Narrowneck reef in terms of coastal protection, there seems to be a lack of desire by govt to seriously investigate the potential of artificial reefs for coastal protection in other areas. I have made submissions to both Federal and State Govt in this regard and have not received any real considered response from either.

Take a look at Forresters, the naturally occuring offshore reef there does a good job of protecting the beach behind, and it has a surf break.

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beavis commented Sunday, 22 May 2011 at 12:58pm

^^ Thats a shame, but its understandable, given the history.

Councils/governments are never going to be particularly forthcoming in taking new initiative in coastal protection works. It's not going to be taken seriously until there is evidence of ASR's living up to their expectations and doing there job of coastal protection, various recreational amenity etc..

That's why its so important to properly communicate the successes that have been acheived to date. To properly document the Environmental, Social and Economic impacts of these reefs on the places were they have been put in place. Have there been such studies conducted for existing reefs?? If the ASR reef in India is as great as it has been made out to be surely that would be a great case study??

Inability communicate with the public and governments is so essential and so often holds science back.

Could it be the case that an Australian government will be bureaucratic in ever having something like this built that it will take an overseas success for them to be able to consider this as an option.

How amazing would an ASR on kuta beach be.. that could definitely showcase ASR's to the surfing world. Regular close out walls, offshore's 6 months of the year and plenty of swell. The middle of a major city and a surfing Hub. Surely some pioneering developer has some strings they could pull in the Indonesian government. It is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Who feels like sweet talking Susilo Bambang for a bit of dirty government money to make a sweet ASR?

Haha imagine the crap you would have to deal with trying to build something in indonesia!

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rightfootfwd commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 12:35am

A simple (perhaps naive) question for Steve and the rest of the forum:

If building ASR's in the middle of sandy beaches contain too many variables to guarantee success....

Then why don't we look at augmenting those reefs and points that already exist and are pointed at a favourable swell direction window but are currently unsurf-able [by filling in the holes in the contours of the seabed] to create surfing reefs?

I can personally think of at least 20 places off the top of my head along the eastern seaboard where I've gone "define the take-off area and fill in those sections there and there, and you've got an epic wave" - and some of these would give a-frame right and lefts to disperse crowds.

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beavis commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 2:01am

People have tried to do that. There are a few examples on

http://www.surfingramps.com.au/SurfingSymposium.htm
Joao Brilhante, President ASSM Halfway down the page.

And http://www.surfingramps.com.au/bargarasurf.htm in Bundaberg.

The problem with what your talking about is the majority of the time it provides purely a surfing amenity, Doesn't promote coastal Protection, has the potential to in fact harm a wave if things dont go to plan, has more likelihood of reducing environmental habitat than creating it, and doesnt really promote any other recreation amenity. For this reason its going to be alot harder to fund a project like your suggesting.

That being said, it would sure be alot cheaper and there are far fewer variables like impact on littoral sand transport that can go wrong.

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philosurphizing... commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 2:12am

I agree with what you are saying Rightfootforward.
For example, the next headland south of Crescent Head.
A shit surfbreak.
Build a right hand point break that works best on south swells.
It would compliment Crescent which does not work on south swells.
And it has wind protection from south and southeast winds.
Whereas reefs in the middle of beaches don't.

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bob_s commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 2:13am

I think Bargara was an outstanding success ( in context for scope, scale ,location and results).
Its low cost surfing improvement that we are really after and that delivered very well (in context).
Every possible solution must have all strengths, weakness's, opportunities and threats diligently and transparently known. I suggest the most cost effective solution might well be to plug a few gaps temporarily with a removable device for an initial study. Most benign solution I can think off? Sort of like a "bridge " between teeth as dentists do. Start small and learn what can be done. Thanks for the invite to comment Andrew.

bob_s

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beavis commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 2:22am

Re. The headland south of Cresent, some parts of our coastline just aren't oriented correctly to produce a surfable wave, you'd need a huge amount of rocks or sediment to create something surfable there. And its in the middle of nowhere, in a relatively pristine stretch of coast. If this is going to happen I see it happening in a more built up area that people will actually be able to use and that will serve a purpose beyond just surfing.

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beavis commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 3:13am

This a question for Steve Re. wave modelling.

As far as what I can infer from your website, your wave modelling presently only has been done for one mean wave direction and size/period??

As far as ASR modelling goes, for these reefs to be considered a success they need to maximize their surfability, and be incredibly consistent. Some waves are naturally fickle and only work on specific wind/swell conditions, but an ASR can not afford to be, it needs to be surfable on a majority of swell/wind combos.

Now this might be easy in a place like Indonesia or WA where wave climate hardly varies, coming from the one direction 90% of the time. But, in East Coast Aus its incredibly diverse with waves coming from almost a 180 degree spectrum and highly variable winds.

Will it be possible to create a bathymetric structure that allows for a sufable wave whether we have an acute long period south swell with a deep wave base, a large short period SE swell with a small wave base, or a small NE wind swell etc. Or will it be simply that the structure is orientated to the SE creating an optimal wave for the dominant swell direction, which is unsurfable the other days??

Another aspect I can't see that your modelling has accounted for is wind. We all know that waves are best with a direct offshore, but which are the waves which are still good in onshore or cross shore winds. Some waves are so fickle you'd only surf them in optimal wind conditions. But other places such as lakey peak, can blow cross/on shore in the trades and still be one of the best waves in Sumbawa attracting hordes of surfers. What is it about the bathymetry of these waves that allows the to still be good in bad winds??

And lastly Coastal protection, surely its important that these structures are engineered in a way that protects them against the damaging wave scenarios. A large Sth swell isn't nearly as damaging as an equivalent E or NE swell for example. And how much knowledge is there about how these structures about mitigating coastal erosion in actual extreme storm events, rather than just under mean conditions.

Sure its great if we can cause accretion of the beach face behind a structure but what does that translate into defence against successive storm events with major storm surge. Or, will we still see similar coastal recession. You say the Narrowneck structure has been a success in mitigating coastal erosion. This paper however, which analyses the gold coast response to multiple storm events; "Can the Gold Coast withstand Extreme Events" Bruno Castele et al.

http://www.springerlink.com/content/n8l328u00865hwq7/

actually suggests that "coastal structures do no not have a significant impact on storm wave-induced erosion of the sub-aerial beach. For example, Narrowneck Beach experienced the most intense erosion over the survey period, despite the presence of the artificial surfing reef which was originally constructed for coastal protection purposes (Jackson et al. 2001)."

I cant wait to see some of these things be built, it just feels to me the science is still pretty rudimentary. Particularly regarding the difference between the impact of structures on coastal erosion under mean conditions vs. Extreme Storm event conditions, which are the events that really induce coastal change.

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bob_s commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 4:57am

@beavis, you make some very good points. I was part of a long term process for Stockton beach. That began with a community group funding and getting a study done for artificial reefs for coastal protection.. This report was rejected bluntly by the state government and council.

I was then part of the council committee that oversaw a very expensive, long and exhaustive study. It took years , proportions of a million dollars , a huge amount of data collection over years and one of the worlds most foremost Coastal Engineering firms The Danish Hydraulics Institute (DHI). These are the people doing the study for the 10billion euro MOSE project for Venice. Artificial reefs scored ok on some factors but poorly on others.

In the end a Artificial headland won hands down for the best option. The diligence of the Hydraulics study proved clearly that a particular point on the beach was the long term "nodal point " of behaviour - that is it was a "still point" and the long shore currents went north and south of it. This was then the point to locate a mega groin or artificial headland. This can have a surf break on either side by sloping the feature. Thus two opposite wind wave combinations are immediately catered for. But especially important is that all tide combinations can also be "the right tide". So if you do the stats math for surfing times -its hundreds of times more productive (if not thousands) than a fixed reef.

The headland also forms a "pocket beach" between it and the north break-wall that contains the sand in a fixed compartment. The construction and maintenance costs are lots less than a reef as its accessed from the land . Also much more of the community can use it for other activities. It was a long lesson to learn as I was also "besotted" by the thought of artificial reefs - but it turns out two all tide point breaks (left and right) in opposing swell wind shelter directions makes it a winner on the cost benefit scale. I trust DHI and their conclusions. They are also a not-for -profit organisation that has the betterment of understanding and good results as their reason for existence. Besides I saw the too and fro diligent cooperation they had with the state governments scientists and engineers to know they are "where its at" for Coastal Engineering solutions that work best.

The amount of information , the number of skilled people and the data collection is the key to success for difficult problems to be solved as well as they can be. The worlds biggest coal exporting port could have nothing but the best to ensure its eastern barrier sand spit remains intact for a long time. I believe that it now has the best solution for everybody.

Because of my observations I would dispute that a coastal structure cannot minimise storm damage - as long as the cause of the damage is well understood by the best investigation and methods of data collection/analysis available. That's for the Stockton peninsula anyway. Smaller beaches between headlands have the waves stretching from point to point meaning less wave energy/meter reaches the shore. That's why I now think that artificial headlands are better than artificial reefs. But reefs on proper investigation may have their places.

But for surfing a headland is in my view thousands of times more certain for the right conditions -any tide and most wave and wind directions. Money well spent for protection, amenity and surfing.

Most importantly , the community ,government and commerce all agree. (everybody that is) - so what's more important than that???

bob_s

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freeride76 commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 5:47am

So when's this thing slated to be built Bob?

Sounds interesting.

Major visual impact though.

Can't see the residents of the Goldy wanting a new headland interrupting the high rise views.

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beavis commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 6:01am

Hi Bob, thanks for your input.

Wasn't aware of the proposal at Stockton, but I guess it makes sense as an obvious candidate. Could potentially add alot of value to those houses on that little Spit.

I just had a look at the Coastal Processes Report DHI wrote for Stockton, couldn't find anything in it about Artificial Surfing Reefs or Headlands. Do you have a link to any info?? Good to see some serious modelling has been done however.

Do you know if Newcastle City Council has plans to go ahead with such a project? Are we going to see this come into fruition in the future or is an ugly breakwall more likely?

I agree there is no doubt a coastal structure can mitigate coastal erosion, this is obvious. Maybe small underwater surfing reefs however have been overestimated in their ability to do so. I'll have to look more into artificial headlands, sounds interesting, the dutch at Delft/DHI seem to be at the forefront of this technology.

On the point of adding value to property, could these structures potentially pay for themselves by opening up new extremely valuable beach front property somewhere like 'ruins' at wamberal which hasn't been built on since the destruction that occcuredin the 70's.

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beavis commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 6:08am

An Artificial Headaland might be appropriate at Stockton. This region is a mostly Swash aligned coast without as much morphodynamic dependance on longshore sediment transport.

On a Drift aligned coast such as the gold coast where longshore sediment transport is the main control on beach planform and shoreline orientation. An 'Artificial headland' (Which I assume is basically a big groyne engineered to create a wave either side) will surely cause greater northward sediment starvation than an artificial reef?? Potential to simply move the erosion problem north, whereas an artificial Reef has potential to provide coastal Protection and has less impact on northbound sediment transport?

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bob_s commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 6:09am

I believe its on the 'need to be built" agenda . That is when houses start falling into the sea or the peninsular is threatened to be breached.

I guess that depends if you are a climate change skepic or alarmist? But its a approved thing and when its needed it will be built to make sure that the Port is not disrupted. Money -that will be no object of course.

I also believe that Narrowneck started as a Artificial Headland.-New Burleigh heads either side of it? The visual aspect may have been a factor in change of design. I don't know if anyone is aware that a major cost there was sand nourishment of the beach -the reef has helped to keep it in place.

bob_s

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beavis commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 6:20am

I guess what is really important for coastal protection is big well vegetated sand dunes.

If an Artificial Reef can promote sand accumulation in a way that promotes Dune Barrier growth under mean wave conditions it is essentially providing the barrier to future extreme storm events.

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bob_s commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 6:28am

Thats an ideal solution for "steady state conditions" with an occasional disruption. There are many who claim that the steady state is no longer and change is too much to keep pace with.

bob_s

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bob_s commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 6:35am

Beavis I can email the cost/benefit.matrix.
Is your email on your profile?

bob_s

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beavis commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 6:38am

Just messaged it to you.

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rightfootfwd commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 9:37am

Thank-you bob_s for the research input.

I can't help but think of that Field of Dreams movie maxim - "if you build it, they will come"

I wonder what Byron, Noosa, Angourie, Lennox and Crescent Head, Margaret River and Torquay would be without an epic surf break (or breaks)? Is it too simplistic to say that surfers put these places on the map for councils and businesses to now benefit from with tourism and rate $$$?

Granted that these particular breaks are natural, but my point and personal thoughts are that the draw factor and economic benefits of an a-grade surf break cannot be understated.

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bob_s commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 11:03am

the comparisms of reef vs headland for Newcastle are here for download.

http://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/environment/coast_and_estuary/stockton

there is also a study of reefs for Brevard County Florida that is worth reading .

Remember that the fight is not over yet as the extra money for the tapered shallowing edges for surfing has to be found. Unfortunately surfing is a glaring omission for headland but will be prominent when the time comes. The way that reefs were initially mooted in 2000 as a panacea for all put many people offside and really hurt the cause of surfing..

I tend to view the interest in artificial reefs as being a proxy for demand for FULL inclusion of amenity in all coastal works. The amenity also meaning surfing enhancement. Surfing is a legitimate pastime that should and will be included. Surfers are not a minority and the NSW tourism authority have in a G'day Australia report that 250,000 visitors annually come to NSW for a surfing experience. There is no certainty of them leaving with a good memory of that and skills that can be ported elsewhere.

I know and understand about Byron , Noosa etc as I was there in 1965 surfing as a 17 year old (my schoolies trip b4 Uni). Not only are they natural breaks but they are major large scale coastal landforms resulting from 10's of thousands of years of coastal erosion and sea level rise . Geoengineering of that scale is maybe in the realms of wishful thinking?

Yes if it is built and works well 24/7 it will more than pay for itself - but the ocean may not be the place for that? I think the likes of wave-garden are a good pointer to the future of that. The ocean being the place where the experience and skills are practised (when conditions allow)

bob_s

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andrew-pitt commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 11:07am

Philosurpizingkerchings idea of A Surfing Reef Design Forum is brilliant and Thermalben has given it the nod. I hope it gets up.

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thermalben commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 11:25am
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steveb commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 2:19pm

Beavis-
Re- wave modelling

The wave tank modelling on the reef model shown in the article was done for 1,2,and 3m wave hts all at 10sec wave period, MSL, with a reef crest RL of -1.4m AHD. The pics are 2m wave ht.

My view is that you have to select one dominant wave direction, which would be where the most quality swell comes from for any given location and optimise the design for that direction. Reefs will still produce surfable waves within a limited range of other swell directions, sure, wave quality will suffer if the direction is off -optimum but that's the same for a natural reef as well.

The answer to this problem is what i call a "dynamic reef", which can be oriented to optimise itself for any swell direction/tide range. Futuristic concept?... Yes, but I always like to think ahead a little.. but that is another story for another day.

I can't see that wind and bathymetry have any connection when it comes to wave quality, If somewhere is surfable in an onshore it is probably more like cross-shore, so chop on the swell/wave face is minimised.

Re- impact forces
Yes, impact forces by waves and other objects(vessels), as well as sliding and uplift forces, will all be taken into account in the engineering design. As I said previously, there are no engineering "unknowns", all the forces that will act on the structure are known, are calculable, and will have an engineering design solution applied (with factors of safety) for each force, no matter what direction that force comes from.

Re -defence against storms
I don't have any definitive info on degree of protection given by reefs, this is one reason why trial reefs and monitoring is needed- its a catch 22- there are few reefs, so therfore there is little data, and because there is little data, no-one will build reefs!!

That aside, you can look at the coastal protection performance of natural reefs and conclude that they can offer protection in extreme events. Take Black Rock on the Tweed Coast, it is essentially a large offshore reef with a couple of big rocks sticking up, the coast behind this structure is permanently protected in all storm events.

Narrowneck does it's job by widening the beach in normal conditions, but i think its probably a little too small and too transparent to provide protection in extreme events, hence the conclusions in the paper.

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bob_s commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 10:53pm

hi Steveb, we met at Andrew's symposium and I complimented you on your work. Good work I think it it is. There can only be progress from everyone having good level of understanding of the nature of waves and how they behave with all that concerns them.

There is much about defence from storms by reefs. Using google earth you can see every bump in coastlines that have an offshore above water or under water feature. The DHI Coastal Engineering manual has the criteria for the protection that is afforded. Also a good case study is Ras-el-bar , a resort town west of the Nile in Egypt. The erosion was threatening billions of dollars of real estate. Nourishment was tried - non-sustainable, rock walls were tried - erosion shifted, groins were tried - no major gain. Lastly a field of offshore reefs (above water ) halted the erosion and nourishment was sustained. This area of the coast in the Mediterranean has just about everything that can be tried already tried over a long period of time. (1000,s of years.

I would also like to cormment on your statement that Narrowneck widens the beach. I believe that a great deal of the budget for the project was in nourishing the beach and the reef helps keep that nourishment there in most conditions. (never say always?) But natural occurring reefs, islands and features are all remnants of a rusting or eroding coast over tens of thousands of years (was it 25000 years since the sea level rose from the continental shelf?) .

So its a different thing altogether to say that can be reversed overnight to the same scope. But the grounding of the Pasha Bulka on Nobby's Beach showed that sand did build up overnight and if the boat was left there so would the sand stay. But again that's an easy one as the scale is enough. But thats what it takes for a certain, sustainable and predictable result. That is a 100,000 ton ship about parallel to the coast 100m offshore. That did allow sand to be built up as it does in such circumstances.

say moderator, can pictures be uploaded?

bob_s

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stunet commented Monday, 23 May 2011 at 10:57pm

Not in the comments section Bob. Though you can link to Photobucket or Tumblr (or other photo sharing sites) if you have one of their accounts.

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bob_s commented Tuesday, 24 May 2011 at 12:00am

If anyone needs evidence that beaches can be sheltered by reefs they can see the pix I have uploaded here

http://s1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff467/Robert_Sirasch/
I hope that helps with understanding what they can in these particular circumstances, deliver.

bob_s

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bob_s commented Tuesday, 24 May 2011 at 12:31am

oh select view as slideshow to get a good eyeful.

I should also say that the Pasha Bulka Pix are from unknown sources and the Ras-el-bar graphics came from a study involving Bill Kamphis - Queens University Canada and a program called One-line.

bob_s

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beavis commented Tuesday, 24 May 2011 at 12:58am

Hey Ben is it possible we can have have whats been said here already moved over as a thread? Maybe a stickied thread?? It would be really nice to have all the information in the one spot.

Steveb surely there are types of waves which are more user friendly in poor wind conditions than others. Do you not feel it would be worth investigating. A fast tapering wave with a quick wall for example will become quickly unsurfable in poor wave conditions. An A-frame wave like newport peak on the other hand is still fun in an onshore wind because there is plenty of wave face and enough power to do turns as the wave wraps on the reef.

The idea of having a moveable structure to account for changing swell direction is interesting! Sounds complex and expensive but a good idea.

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west-coast-dreamer commented Tuesday, 24 May 2011 at 7:47am

This has been a fascinating debate much appreciated

Most manmade surf breaks are happy accidents, I witnessed firsthand one at my local closeout when a jetty, shutters and a sand dredge for a shit pipe created a better waves than if it had been planed?

The key to increasing artificial surf breaks is to learn from these happy accidents and replicate the factors that created them the science is already there to study them.

To increase funding for implementation simply call them something else other than a artificial surf breaks and avoid the stigma surrounding surfers which still exists especially in Councils and Government

Follow the Government money

Coastal Protection = Assets protection in both developed and natural coastlines

Amenity Enhancement for recreation = Whale Watching, lying on a towel, swimming, diving , fishing and even conservation (just not surfing yet)

R&D into resource development = Tidal and Wave generators, Aquaculture infrastructure (growing out molluscs and crayfish)

The Fleurieu Peninsula SA cops consistent South Westerly swells but the orientation of the Granite bedrock does not create reefs suitable for surfing as opposed to the layered limestone of the states West Coast. This would be an ideal place for an artificial reef it is close to a metro centre which is not renowned for surfing, If you get special project status you can put anything in anywhere.

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rail2rail commented Tuesday, 24 May 2011 at 11:46am

First up, my apologies in advance for personally lowering the intellect of this forum by my pathetic contribution.....

Rightfootfwd - I'll tell ya where places like Margaret River would be without "A G

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bob_s commented Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 5:27am

@rail2rail, I remember being at the first symposium held by Andrew and a environmental scientists calling Andrew's environmental effects study for the Harbord reef as a "Mickey Mouse study" . My feeling at the time was to yell out _ what do you think is going to happen ? Fraser Island will disappear? But I have to admit I thought that because I felt his attitude was a threat to Andrew's reef concept.

I now know better and have learnt that reefs are important contributors to the ocean environment -that is the very reason that they must stay that way and the more the reason that good homework is done to know the full and true consequences. No negative impacts from something that is a natural beneficial occurrence should happen - perceived or real .

your contribution was by no means pathetic because if you are thinking that so will many others will be thinking the same (as I did).

As far as I am concerned this sort of discussion should be an "elitist free" zone with personality's left behind and sharing good information as forefront.

Also "I don't like it" is not a valid reason.for rejecting development proposals anywhere.

BTW the consequences of building the Nobby's breakwater's at Newcastle has been the loss of natural sand flow to Stockton. I get annoyed when people say no development in that region - its had 200 years of very large scale developed intervention already.

bob_s

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steveb commented Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 11:06am

Its good to see a range of views/ideas being discussed.
I'll try to respond to all questions, if i haven't answered your question- please ask again.

Beavis
Re-waves which are more user friendly in poor wind conditions

Personally, I don't like to surf when its onshore, unless I'm desperate.

I'm generalising a bit, but with ARs, economics dictates that you have to minimise size(cost) and maximise results, so the type of breaks you will see from ARs for surfing will typically be modest sized a-frames, which will tend to produce waves of the type you say could be still surfable in an onshore.

Also, as you would know, the opposite side of a peak to the direction the wind is coming from can be slightly more protected by the break itself, and also the first wave or two of a set can smooth out the surface a little, so the following waves can often break with cleaner faces. So all these things combined could help make the typical AR more surfable in an onshore.

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steveb commented Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 11:22am

Beavis
Re-waves which are more user friendly in poor wind conditions

Just to sum up, it's not something I would specifically design for.

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z-man commented Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 8:11pm

Seems to me artificial reef discussions should be more widely distributed amongst the surfing population. Any idea could lead to a discovery of what is needed.
Thanks from a Yank for this discussion.
I live in the Straits of Juan de Fuca WA. - We don't have any superbanks, but there are so many beaches in the world to experiment on it seems a waste not to.
I've driven down Baja several times and you go by miles of beachbreak with abundant swell just waiting for a reef.
And for the tree-huggers - think of the marine life destroyed by every harbor, groin, and jetty. Enough said.
A little dynamite on some protruding rocks might even distribute the fragments exactly where needed.
Just a thought.
If anyone in Lennox knows Bob Franjose - expat USA-Torrance Beach CA. say hi for me. I was there in '98 and can't believe the paradise you have/had.
Too many surfers for me then and now - donteventhinkaboutit!!!

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fredie-c commented Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 12:56am

Yes z-man there are many beaches in the world ,but trying in Aus ( or anywhere else where there are to many egos to convince) will be complicated.

I am in Indonesia building a wavepool 2 hours drive from the ocean and when things have progressed i will be down on the coast working on modifying a small point to create a break . The locals are very exited about it and the thought of any one or any group trowing a spanner in the works has never surfaced.( but there are some westerners there that will complain)

Just to show how simple it is here, my partner signed for the rent on the land for the pool in beginning of april and now we are 2 weeks from completing the pool with only the wave machine to install and will be producing a wave in june and a peeling barrel over a reef in july. This reef can be viewed by googling (fredswavemaker) This pool at 12 m at the wavemaker end, 33 m long and 18 meters at the other end, will deliver an 18 meter long barrel at meter high or there about, it has cost 55k so far and it needs another 10 k to complete and do the testing, if anyone is interested in getting involved, don't hesitate .

I would also like to offer steve the use of this pool for testing a larger version of his reef design with 80cm waves that could have some grommits ridding them.

Ps ; just incase some are thinking about it, english is my third langwiuch and yes i am uneducated.

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bob_s commented Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 1:03am

@zman - what you are talking about regarding rock shaping has already been done very successfully at Bargara. A excavator was used at low tide to "cut and fill" large rocks to hollows. This has got to be the best way of very very low cost improvement.

Its not productive to talk of "blowing things up" though and because we damage critters doesn't mean more can be damaged. With rock shelf or boulder field changing I think its probable that critters can benefit. Also rocks can be more accurately shaped by drilling and freeze expansion in the bores. Accuracy in rock shape produces better wave shape. At Andrew's last Symposium a guy from a Spanish Atlantic Island talked about doing the same thing - and I said the same thing to him. Explosives destroy, sculpture creates. There is enough confusion and adversary due to misunderstanding, clash of values and personality defects , we should be removing these rather than adding to them.

I'm part of a group that had a local competition via the surf shops for people to give their ideas for surf break improvements- its very important for locals to "own" such ideas for best cooperation. We got heaps of engagement and ideas.

Besides , making alliances with people and groups is a better way than alienating them and their values for good progress.If you need a enemy to attack -attack the lack of action in environment improvement where reefs can assist? Or where existing or planned works are not surfer friendly. To my way of thinking Surfers are as much of the marine environment as ocean critters -but do not override them.

Saying all that - I still believe that the likes of wave-garden, Kelley Slaters Wave company, Webbers liquid time , fred coblyns wave pool and others will offer the most cost benefit certainty for surfing on demand. The ocean for using the skills learnt and practised there. I have skiied on the snow dome in Dubai and if I worked there I would be skiing every second day so that when I went elsewhere I could ski my best.

bob_s

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bob_s commented Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 1:11am

Hey Fred!
Just in case anyone doesn't know , imo Fred has been able to do the same if not better than others for a fraction of what they have spent.
I recommend checking out his achievements

btw My post mentioning him following his is a total coincidence.

bob_s

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beavis commented Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 2:05am

Hey,
The indo wave pool sounds awesome! I thought that it might be the case that we will see these start croppping up in devleloping countries before aus..

Would love to see some info/footage?? Where in indo are you doing it?

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fredie-c commented Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 5:01am

This first pool is in west Java and i will have images of it when its almost complete next week, we will then have a break for one week before bringing in the wave maker and could take up to 2 weeks to bring to life.
The enthusiasm from the locals is truly great, but the money people here want to see this pool in operational use before investing in the bigger version
We have a site selected for the large pool, (100m x 45m) , delivering 1.5m high barrels @ 60m long.

I would like to point out that those who learn surfing in a pool will do so at a very quick rate, but will have great difficulty going out surfing in the ocean..

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fredie-c commented Thursday, 26 May 2011 at 11:19am

I would like to point out that my first interest from the outset was in creating reefs in the ocean and that pools and wave machines (for testing reefs) are a byproduct of my passion for reefs, with the result (very soon i hope) that i can fund my own ocean reef projects in any user-friendly locations of my choice and i believe that there are numerous ways to build reefs depending on where and the materials locally available. but as time goes by there will be a design like what steve has that will become a standard for open beaches.

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manners commented Friday, 27 May 2011 at 12:22am

Forgive me if I'm repeating things that have already been said earlier. The thread was too long to read every single post. As was already disscussed, i think everyone can agree that coastal engineering has been practiced for better or worse on the gold coast for many years. I'm no expert but I don't think that trialing a well designed artificial reef on the Gold coast would have any large negative effect on the south-north sand flow, especially if it is placed nearer the shore. Narrowneck reef is usually too far under water to even break. A funcional series of artifical surf reefs, especially along the Surfers Paradise stretch could add to the appeal for surf tourism on the gold coast and spread the surf travelers attention currently focused just on the southern end. This would be in the GCCC's interest and should encourage them to foot the bill. It seems to me that less can be more when it comes to these reefs. Don't try and create a perfect wave, something small that will vary the banks, catch a bit of sand without majorly altering the overall sand migration would be enough to satisfy most.

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bob_s commented Friday, 27 May 2011 at 12:31am

I have posted some more information on the following link

http://s1237.photobucket.com/albums/ff467/Robert_Sirasch/

Being a bit hypothetical I visualise floating pontoons that can be placed and adjusted at will to create massive reef fields. These are taken where needed and stay long enough to stabilise the shore. They are also adjustable real time to ensure what's needed to happen does happen.

Mulberry harbors were built this way for D-Day at Normandy. So in 2050 if sea level rise costs more than this type of protection we may see it happen. Old bar, Stockton, Belongil Spit etc could benefit from them right now.

The difficulty I see with permanent works is
1.one chance to get it right economically - its the ocean not a lab.
2. adjustments are very expensive if they can be done.- the ocean has no friends.
3. conditions we are told are continually changing thus they may be redundant very quickly.-wasted effort
4. they are non reusable except by nature churning them over as "sediment fodder"
5........ onwards.

of course if they were cost effective and successful we would be seeing them cloned everywhere by now.

Stev-b has part of a very interesting solution -just a small part (a boutique surf location). The nantucket mariner has another part as does the pasha bulka. ( relocatable and scale) US Corps of Engineers (mulberry harbour structures ) has the major strategy piece ( robust scale of works needed to serve the function)

Thus my crystal ball sees "mulberry harbour" relocatable, adjustable protection systems that can be deployed as needed when needed as "top up" solutions where the sand has gone. Imagination says they could be self powered.

I have researched a similar floating field of timber pontoons that were tried off Big Ben Reef at Nobbys in the 1800's for the ports entrance calming. oops it lasted til the first large storm . There will always be an event larger than what any structure could be placed to cater for economically.

If I really want to go with a fantasy then I would add wave, wind and solar power inboard to pump sand from off-shore back onshore . But that's another story. PS don't run off to the patents office as its all pubic domain now. Also the ocean and its events mean these structures need to be very large and very robust to be able to do what we want them to do.

I listened to an interesting talk by a NY Journo where he stated that Nature and the Market are both of the same mode of operation. Neither has empathy. Nature has no feelings of giving humans any sort of break , the market reacts with greed or panic -without any empathy for consequences. He called them both (controversially) the same as a unfortunate human condition which is also similar in its ability to not relate to consequences in any way.

So if you are talking effective protection -think Very large and very expensive to be effective. Sorry no silver bullets for this. if you want a floating "boutique reef' then have one that gets moved around to cater for the wave climate at the location. Trying to sell recreation on the back of protection will only leave disenchantment for promising too much. But large scale protection when feasible should and must have recreation incorporated -as the Stockton artificial headland will.

bob_s

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fredie-c commented Friday, 27 May 2011 at 5:16am

Manners has got it worked out nicely , if steves reef can be adjusted or moved slightly incase of to much sand buildup it would be a win win result and "should" have the least amount objections, it is realistic and doable .
all should work towards this goal ( stop daydreaming Bob s :)

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bob_s commented Friday, 27 May 2011 at 7:39am

@fredie-c - I said it was fantasy but I went to a Engineers Australia presentation on the state of the art of wave power in Australia and that maybe another string to the bow ... eventually.

@manners, after the palm beach flare up (of people not wanting reefs at all at PB) I would not be surprised if reefs are never again attempted on the GC. I understand that the Palm Beach beach protection reefs were to have surfing attached to the ends of them. Surfing reefs up there have become a political hot potato after that. No government will ever support spending money on revisiting past costly controversies.( in money and PR) That one cost them a bundle as the work had commenced and a contract had to be cancelled then determined for damages.(expensive exercise). That is a sure fire way of killing off an idea for ever. Everything you say is fair enough and probably achievable - getting the support , money and the political will is another thing again. That will be very very difficult if not impossible for a generation or so in my opinion. That is really too bad.

bob_s

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bob_s commented Friday, 27 May 2011 at 8:13am

@fredie-As I posted previously I recently went to a Engineers Australia technical presentation by a ex-CSIRO scientist on wave power extraction progress in Australia and elsewhere, It was a federal gov. funded report .It is far more advanced than one might think and possibly another string in the bow of offshore structures that protect and provide amenity. (never say never?). In fact Steve's reef would pay for itself in no time if it were "the excited object" that caused the power to be generated. These have already raised millions in grants for prototypes that are working. One has pumps that pump high pressure water onshore with its buoyancy activating the pumps small and big time. That water can then go through reverse osmosis for desal,. desal plants use heaps and heaps of electricity and better for the waves to drive the process. May sound like dreaming but hundreds of millions of dollars have been granted for the r&d. They have gone to market . listed and raised hundreds of millions again.

Think major economic impact for research funding (desal, land protection, energy generation etc etc.) . Then think of ways that amenity can also be included. One major difficulty is that the generation structures are generally further offshore but large scale reef fields may be a candidate by the necessity of their scale and energy that they need to block (and transform?). oh the Wollongong one was classic misadventure. We attempted to have it sited here in Newcastle before the Gong took it on.

Many reefs that also extract wave energy can pay for themselves and more in no time at all. Think out of the box (green room) for an innovative solution that doesn't burn coal , uranium , gas or anything else for unlimited funding to progress. Dont run off and patent it as its now public domain.

bob_s

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fredie-c commented Friday, 27 May 2011 at 11:01am

Ohh yes Palm Beach, again an obstacle, I think i better stick to working here in Indo and show the results when i get them, good luck anyway.

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bob_s commented Friday, 27 May 2011 at 11:53am

What is so annoying about Palm beach is that construction was under-way to do the type of reef system that was successful in Egypt and what we could build here in Stockton. (I should add that a dredge with a slpit hull 5 times the size that built Narrowneck does 10 trips offshore each day in Newcastle every day with spoil from dredging the harbour as part of normal port operations We thought that that spoil stabilized and placed in bags could have built any size reefs just as a matter of daily operations that could have cost less time than going 7km out to sea. ) Dont talk to me about the reason that was canned. (it was not by the port or government who were willing and able to further investigate.

The palm beach barge was on route to drop the first bags and the pin was pulled on the job due to protest about the lack of surf in the design.. That spelt the end of artificial reefs on the gold coast and a total loss of confidence for any certainty in progress again.. The property's on palm beach were to be sheltered and the edges of the reefs shaped for surfing. I still cant figure why it was pulled when surfing amenity was being included and property's well protected..

I cant see government ever thinking reefs again for a long long time. What a golden chance lost! meanwhile we know the rest of the story?

bob_s

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steveb commented Friday, 27 May 2011 at 10:32pm

Manners-
You are thinking pretty much along the same lines as I am. (except my view is that if you are going to build an AR you make the surf as perfect as you can).
For coastal protection, generally speaking, the scale of a reef (but other factors are important also) relative to its location, limits its alility to modify coastal processes.
A single unit prefab steel reef as I am proposing primarily for surfing is limited in size by what can be practically engineered, built, transported and installed in one piece. So, on the long open GC strip, for example, one of my reef units would have a relatively minor protective effect, but on a smaller beach compartment, it might be just right.
I think larger scale reefs/series of reefs which would be necessary in a location like PB or elsewhere on the GC for effective broad scale coastal protection, would possibly need to be a hybrid of my steel concept reef to create a perfect reef shape on the reef "wings" where surf breaks could generally be located, and other less expensive amorphous volume (sand bag,rock,other?) for the rest.

I think the way forward for GCCC (and all advocates of coastal protection works for that matter),in terms of using reefs, is to seriously look at/trial what reef concepts may be successful for surfing then incorporate those concepts into coastal protection designs.

Someone will do this sooner or later, it just a matter of time.

Bob s
Re- wave energy/reefs
I have looked at this btw, the WA company you refer to, Carnegie Wave Energy's (CWE on the ASX)original energy collector was a wave pressure activated device installed in a steel vessel sitting on the seabed (sounds like a reef to me). It worked, and could be developed to be incorporated into my reef concept for energy production. CWE have moved on from this idea because scaling up (linking multiple units) was more expensive than the system they are now commercialising. This is not to say the original device can't be revisitied, for use in reefs, power output would be limited by the size and number of reefs and the number of collectors in each reef.
I also have my own ideas for wave energy collection from my reef concept, which I would like to pursue at some stage.

Fredie c -
Best wishes for your wavepool projects, I admire your ingenuity and perserverance.

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bob_s commented Saturday, 28 May 2011 at 1:38am

Steve-b

I should correct my perceptive of the moneys invested -the hundreds of millions of dollars I spoke of were meant to be for all wave energy projects.

I am glad you are thinking incorporating energy into your concept. I believe that is where real progress can be made because of the need and availability of funding.

The moment that amenity appears to be a distraction to the real purpose of energy production the money will run to never return.

The gold coast is a place that needs a self powered desal plant, so a wave powered one will get funding and approval when it is able to be a reliable, deliverable, and cost effective product. (oh so does everywhere else?)

The surfers will lobby for it ..of course.
The greenies will lobby for it .. of course
The tax payer will lobby for it .. of course
The coastal community will support it if properly done ..of course

Getting large scale relocatable multiple units up and running -well that will be a necessity if the climate change alarmists are correct with their upper limit modelling predictions. Every city beach in Sydney ( and AU.. globally? ) under threat will need self powered sand nourishment by 2050. I think it could be a wonderful way of having nature power the way of minimising the harm it is doing. Just a few minor technical and financial issues in the way?

the energy producers support maybe not? .. unless they own a stake?

I cant help thinking that is the way to fast track development of a prototype - but remember the people who will fund it -they want cheap energy not happy surfers. But they will be happy to have surfers and co on-board for community support.

One has to be pragmatic about the way things are.

BTW I share your feelings for Fredie-c and wish I could do more to assist him but alas mired in finishing a number of projects at the moment.

bob_s

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z-man commented Saturday, 28 May 2011 at 1:47pm

@fredie-c/bob s -

Thanks for responding. I haven't been able to log on for 2 days. I am interested in your Indo op. fredie-c. The sacrifice you are making is incredulous. Working in the heat must be stifling.
I just now read your responses and I agree totally with BOTH of you. I threw out the dynamite example purely as an extreme, and not likely ever to be used, proposal. I do realize the risk/benefits of said operation.
I look forward to more information and video of the operation as it comes online.
Here's hoping Swellnet keeps this thread up and running.
Congratulations to everyone involved in both of yours operations and continued success to you both.

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fredie-c commented Saturday, 28 May 2011 at 3:13pm

Thanks Steve and Bob , a new era is around the corner regarding reefs and wavepools

@ Z-man , I am 900 m above sea-level and its rainy season average 4 hours of sun per day.
A lot of reefs down to 10 meters deep has been destroyed by bomb fishing in asia so dynamite sculpture here would not make anyone blink. Also there is such an excessive use of plastic here and it all goes into creeks and rivers and every household here leave their lights on (in every room) all night long! Yes everyone sleeps with lights on ?? And now we will see how passionate they can get with surfing, then do a little bribing for changes :] , well around the surfpool anyway.

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z-man commented Saturday, 28 May 2011 at 4:02pm

@fredie-c,

you may be putting too much stock in my suggestion using dynamite. Basically I'm all for artificial reefs of any description. My worry is that global inflation will hamper the vacationing spirit ie- BROKE populous can't afford food let alone surfing.

Someones idea of combining a de-salinization plant or electricity production in combination with an artificial reef has potential.

Just be careful about investing all your eggs in one basket.

Keep us posted as to your wave-pool successes!

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fredie-c commented Sunday, 29 May 2011 at 2:02am

Dont worry Z-man i think open beach reefs will outnumber headland reefs by 200 to one ( if the ocean rises by more than 2 cm) and even then headland reefs would be built similar as what Greg Redgard has done , rearranging rocks into gaps and well , maybe a little boom.
Broke populous ? The wavepools here are so cheap to build and my wavemaker uses so little energy that all middle class Indos can afford to surf.
Electricity production of a surf reef is what's needed and my thoughts would be a geotextile membrane streched out tightly over a sand bottom and connect over every square meter a soccer ball size floating object ( around 2000, that could also generate electricity as the waves move it around, mass production would make it viable). This v shaped membrane would then lift and shape itself into a reef and the space under could have sand pumped into it, OR, leave the space under it and the shape change as a wave moves over it could also be transferred into energy. bob-s suggested sponge like objects on a reef after observing the pipes i used on my reef design, so we know for certain that these floating objects improve wave shape and size so the 20% or so lost in the membrane moulding under the wave would not be considered a great loss.
Padang Sumatra is where i will make a small version (without the generating components) when i am able to, it receives around 15% of swell every time the Indian ocean turns on and i have a friend Bangun who runs 2 surf-boats eager to help.
Completed the 10th and final pour on the pool yesterday, preparing for wavemachine instalation in 2 weeks.

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bob_s commented Sunday, 29 May 2011 at 2:12am

@z-man,
I'm certain that you meant the expression as a throw away phrase. But it does illustrate the sensitivities involved in different circumstances and cultures to what we all would at various times just say for the heck of it. There's heaps of such things, not just that. I recall boarding at LAX for AU via NZ, at the front of a very long line was a couple checking their hunting rifles in. (this was after 911) . As if that was enough to stir the possum up the line. (like a Mexican wave the expressions changed -what guns in the airport?) . The worst was yet to come as the check-in person calmly asked "any ammo?" WELL the look of interest turned to shock, dismay. astonishment and in some instances fear when they each placed 2 metal canisters of bullets on the metal counter in a distinctive CLINK ..... CLINK sound. Astonished - one lady said aloud -"they took my perfume and binned it at the checkout of the last airport I was at." I chatted with the couple afterwards and they were from UTAH going to NZ to hunt deer. They were totally surprised by the response of everyone - the lady said to me " I cant understand the sensitivity as I carry a handgun all the time". I jumped in like a flash and ( I thought that she was reaching in to show me -) said I don't need to see it. She laughed and said that she did not have it with her on this occasion!.

But back to serious things - structures in the ocean that will protect and also produce may have the potential to have amenity attached to them. It will be the protect and produce that will pay for the structure. The amenity will be a "plug -on" if suitable. This was the case at the Palm Beach reef and it will be all the more difficult to convince authorities and community that the process should be revisited after the events that occurred there. No amount of misbehaviour of surfing proponents will change the mindset that has been ingrained on all by that costly, disruptive and (many other words fit) exercise. BUT the need for protection and production of useful water pressure, electricity or sand pumping MAY provide the opportunity for some amenity attached in the future.

You are totally correct in the need for basic essentials being the biggest problem needing solving. I find it a bit wrong that we can play whilst others starve - but we can only do what we can to solve these problems as best we can. Thanks for the input -much apreciated.

bob_s

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z-man commented Sunday, 29 May 2011 at 5:27pm

@fredie-c/bob_s -

When anyone looks at J-Bay and thinks of all the points in the world that could be transformed into a similar set-up it helps to keep the dream alive.

Someone needs to invent a cement like substance that actually dries underwater leaving a soft-rubber-like-surface(for bouncing off the reef without ill effects) and build mixing plants atop said point.
Using the booms that transport the product, insert it at the base of the point and begin pumping until the effect is achieved.

A couple of billion dollars ought to do the trick!

If every surfer and surf related/un-related company(ie Target) contributed we'd be off and running.

Professional surfers should contribute even more.(Kelly/Kolohe-example span)

Spend it before it becomes worthless.

Sorry to go political on everyone!

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bob_s commented Sunday, 29 May 2011 at 11:04pm

Nice vision there z-man. maybe a reef ball type object that has velcro hooks and loops for attaching to adjacent reefballs may be what you are talking about. hooks and loops for the floor as well. They are ideal habitat and at worst will fill with sand ? Easily built and placed by volunteers at minimum cost they qualify for thinking about?

But the ocean -well she don't care about what we wish for , she just reacts to sun, the earth's spin and and thus wind..

Artificial boulders that are capable of being placed to create a shape, adhere to adjacent, stay in place and add to the environment by being mainly void, maybe the idea of reefs being solid is not the way to go , maybe they just need to be a skeleton that coral will grow on. (there are experiments on that happening by means of putting an electric current through a metal wire frame.) , but for surfing we would want to grow weed and small kelp to provide the cushion you speak of. Maybe the minimum skeleton is required for kelp to grow on? This would be the cheapest form of reef at all - a virtual frame that has the minimum surface and support?

But the safety factor kicks in for trapping people and parts ?

Anyone else remember popular science magazine? That was a publication where fantasy, science and engineering all overlapped to stimulate peoples imaginations and creativity skills.

bob_s

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z-man commented Monday, 30 May 2011 at 7:32pm

bob_s
like any good plumber will tell you - "you gotta think like water" !!!
I'm not a plumber but that makes sense. Water doesn't run uphill very often.
I hope I live to see a successful man-made surfing-reef that produces the ultimate surfing experience.

Combo in a little Pipe, Jbay, and your superbanks and everyone would be satisfied -especially if it could be made to go both ways?

P-pass construction of a left. What's a little reef re-configuration? Get the underwater stone carvers and let's get on it!
Think Allois would be happy?

We'll all just have to wait and see what happens, so meanwhile mother nature/God seems to have been the best reef builder until now.

IF - there is a profit to be made it will happen.

When accidentally creating a protective barrier for eroding coastlines actually creates good waves, and yes, I know there are some examples, we will begin to see legitimate interest in funding projects that serve dual purposes.
If the Global economy survives?

Again - those pesky politics!!!

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bob_s commented Tuesday, 31 May 2011 at 3:02am

@z-man. Of course water will run uphill. It just must be contained within a pipe and the uphill container having a free air surface at a lower level than the free air surface of the supplying container . The pipe can be as uphill as its size and flow rate (due to roughness) dictates. Its called "head" that gravity will equalise. As long as the base of the uphill container and entrance of the inlet to the pipe is lower than the outlet into the supplied tank and the outlet top is lower than the water top of the supply tank. The water in the pipe runs uphill -but it still ends up lower than its original surface. now lets get our head around that? OR it runs uphill when it has kinetic energy that gets converted to "head" or potential energy for height. Like a wave run-up on the shore.

Whatever happens it will do so when reality rules . fantasy and wishes cant change gravity ( unless you are a magician that uses smoke and mirrors to alter perceptions -oh that's politicians or politics isn't it?)

yes the market will rule - benefits (or money returned) is the way our western economy works.

I've been learning and playing with "sand ploughing" of which "bed levelling " is a particular use.

When swell and banks are almost right I think a bit of "nip and tuck" (by the right combination of skills and equipment ) might be used in "micromanagement" of sand banks. That is nip some sand at the close out and tuck it on the run up for peak formation. Evening out the bumps and hollows for wave consistency.
Very short lived of course but very very low cost. Its just a bit of an idea but jetkis are becoming very powerful and a diver guiding a plow under water might be effective in a bit of sandbank cosmetic surgery when the conditions allow. Even fixing destroyed neat banks a little after storms before the next swell arrives?

no money in it -just a better understanding of rip channels and their edge wave shape? Putting a temporary scour protection of sorts which encourages sand build up in the right places might also work.? Encouraging the scour at others might also be of benifit.

Benign -why . because it will change with the tide and next swell anyway. There's lots of instances of excavators creating and changing sand banks sand goes and comes. Cheap quick ways to create shape when its suitable might have a place? Andrew is about to watch an experiment at maroubra with sand dumped from dredging. I think the micro scale of this might work sometimes?

bob_s

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leigh-finortum commented Tuesday, 31 May 2011 at 3:36am

All these reef makers are on the wrong track. Talking it up for years about creating the perfect wave, what - so we can hassle with 200 other frothing maggots on a single take-off spot? Don't we already have Snapper, The Pass, Lennox, Angourie etc etc for that? If we want good waves from artificial reefs NOW and not in 50 years, and we want to find a REAL solution to crowds then the process needs to be simplified. The sculpted bottom/one take off spot/perfect reef idea needs to be scrapped for something simpler and cheaper. Look at waves like Wurtulla, North Steyne, D'bah, Tuncurry Bar, Ballina North Wall, South Straddie (the list goes on) these places dish up some of the best shifty A frame wedges in the country. But it's not because of the bottom contour - not the bit the wave breaks on anyway. North Steyne is wedgy because the swell bends and warps around Queenscliff Bomby, Wurtulla's wedgy because the swell bends and warps around the outide reefs, D'bah's wedgey because the swell gets warped by the outside bar, same for Tunc and Ballina and Straddie and a whole bunch of other places. Wouldn't it be cheaper and quicker and technoligically simpler (and more eco friendly) to just dump a shapeless reef a few hundred metres offshore to warp the swell to form wedgey beachies like the ones mentioned above? Surely it could be done multiple times for the cost of just one sculpted A frame reef. There could be half a dozen between Burleigh and South Straddie making a REAL impact on crowds not like building a single reef with a single take-off spot. There could be a couple between Coolum and Sunshine, a couple between Suffolk and Tallows, or any long beach that suffers straight close-outs. These outside reefs would attract marine life and could be used by divers and fishos too. And more importantly - we might actually see one in our actual lifetime.

Leigh Finortum

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zenagain commented Tuesday, 31 May 2011 at 4:24am

I think you might be on to something there l-f.

What say you steveb?

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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zenagain commented Tuesday, 31 May 2011 at 4:34am

As a footnote, we have a spot here that is very technical- no defined take off spot, bumps, boils and warps, shifting peaks. It's a left/right reef and holds a big range of swell. No one can dominate the take off because you just don't know where it's going to be. It's just a ton of fun, really keeps you on your toes and appears to be the result of the scenario l-f paints above.

I think there is merit in his proposal.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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steveb commented Tuesday, 31 May 2011 at 8:03am

Leigh & Zenagain-
Re- just dump a shapeless reef a few hundred metres offshore

I agree a deep, wave refracting reef is a possibility- but consider Narrowneck- it's a moderately deep AR a couple of hundred metres offshore that rarely has a breaking wave on the actual reef -does it refract swells to produce cranking wedgie beachies inshore?- no, so there obviously still needs to be some design input/construction effort into a "shapeless" reef to produce the results you envisage. Otherwise you could end up with little result, still at some considerable cost.

My view is that it is best to produce a reliable consistent surf break on the reef itself, and inshore of the reef the beachies will most likely be improved anyway, because of salient formation in the lee of such a reef.

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zenagain commented Tuesday, 31 May 2011 at 10:11am

In retrospect Steve, I rushed into my comment without much thought. I would imagine that in order to break up the swell the sub-surface area covered would have to be quite large? Easier said than done I would imagine.

I do love those shifty peaks though.

Watashi wa metabo oyagi desu.

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z-man commented Tuesday, 31 May 2011 at 1:50pm

@zenagain and bob_s but most important @ leigh-finortum

Both are onto something here. I would submit the surfbreak Witches Rock in Costa Rica as an example also. The rock is close inshore, which fits the "shapeless reef" idea of leigh-finortum, and affects the sand up and down the beach. There is also an estuary constantly filling and draining.
I surfed it alone very often back in the '70's and since then the estuary shifted from the west end of the beach to directly in front of the rock. It was a disaster. It seemed to fill in the sand bars and leave only the predominant one working.
There's something to be said for close in-shore,"shapeless reef"! I've never been to Snapper(Lennox in '98) but the beachbreak(Duranbah?) that has jetties has produced some fine peaks. The photos I've seen as evidence promote the ideas for spreading out the pack!
Get your dream on and imagine all day offshores included in a particular stretch of the Central American coastline from northern Nicaragua to parts of northern Costa Rica.
It is seasonal, but when you have 24/7 offshores you can surf optimum conditions every hour of daylight.
Waiting on tides is another thing.

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z-man commented Tuesday, 31 May 2011 at 2:07pm

I forgot to add - a good friend of mine and I were talking about my P-Pass proposal yesterday. Refer to the TSJ article "The Taking of Pohnpei".
Dr. Ken Miklos agreed that at P-Pass the predominant winds blow slightly side-shore on the right and would be perfect for a left off the peak. Since the inevitability of more crowded conditions on Pohnpei as there are elsewhere, everything has to be considered.
I'm not condoning, and neither did Ken, reef destruction or even reef modification but where potential is involved, that could create the perfect right-left configuration, shouldn't that be considered?
Surf resort operators and government officials on Pohnpei certainly like to make a profit.
And they are.

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z-man commented Tuesday, 31 May 2011 at 3:11pm

"Reef Masters R US" - - -

Feel free to use this un-patented, business name, for anyone with the inclination(and capital) to start a world-wide conglomerate!

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bob_s commented Wednesday, 1 Jun 2011 at 2:04am

"It is seasonal, but when you have 24/7 offshores you can surf optimum conditions every hour of daylight.
Waiting on tides is another thing. " You have hit the nail on the head with that statement. I wonder if anyone has crunched the numbers on the occurrence of that "window" when all the factors are at their best for a good session.

I suspect that it will be not as often as we think?

Unless a reef/headland can work on most tides and a number of swell/wind directions it may be not justifiable on anything than the usual circumstances for existing breaks.

The costs involved in finding those things can be a major part of the project and then a waste if they don't come true?

Fine tuning what almost works well is a way of excluding or keeping those costs/failures at bay, I think anyway? That is my opinion for "keeping it real". No "experts needed" sign and a everyone on the same page as to small low cost reversible changes at a time at places where nobody cares.

bob_s

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leigh-finortum commented Wednesday, 1 Jun 2011 at 2:24am

Ok guys, to clear up a couple of things. Steveb, you're right, the shapeless reef can't be completely shapeless. If it's to be effective in refracting the swell to create peaks it would have to be shallow enough and large enough in area to break the swells or at least slow them enough to cause refraction, and it would have to be far enough from shore to allow the refracted swells to reform in deep water and cross each other to form peaks inshore. Narrowneck is too close to shore to give the refracted swells time to meet and form into peaks, and it's not the right shape for refracting anyay. But I'm not suggesting we copy Narrowneck. I'm suggesting we copy Queencliff Bomby, which does an excellent job of refracting swell and forming peaks. It's nearly 1km offshore. If you're not familiar with Mudjimba, Google Maps it and you'll see an island (Kong's Island). The beachies inside that island are wedgey peaks. That island is 1km offshore. Likewise Wurtulla, the reefs are probably more than 1km out to sea and that place is wedge heaven. My point is that if a reef is the right depth, covers the right area and is the right distance from shore you are going to get wedgey beachies inside it. And if these existing naturally occuring examples were copied there would be a faily low risk of failure. Yes there still needs to be some design input/construction effort but not as much as the high tech surfing reef. And the cost and the time getting it approved would also be much less. Governments are more likely to approve an offshore reef which not only creates waves for surfers but also provides an attraction for divers and fishos, and maybe even tourists. It's easy to imagine dive boats or fishing boats anchored on 'shapeless' offshore reefs up and down the coast, but not really on a purpose built surfing reef.

Z-man, thanks for your comments, a couple of things, your example of Witches Rock not working anymore because of the sand movement. The 'shapeless' reef idea should be implemented a long way from any estuaries or river mouths or headlands. It needs to be placed in front a long straight beach that only gets closeouts. Seems the shifting estuary at Witches Rock has ruined a great surf break. Also, you mention D'bah and the jetties or rock walls that produce some fine peaks, well, if you watch waves out the back coming into D'bah, or any breakwall like it (Tunc, Ballina etc), you'll see the waves have started forming into peaks before they even reach the wall. And even the wide swingers that are away from the wall are wedgey. This is because they're refracting off the shallow bar beyond the wall - the bar is the shapeless reef.
Which leads me to another (and perhaps the best) surfing reef idea. The rebound wedge. Like Whale Beach wedge, or South Wall Ballina, North Wall Iluka, Knights Beach in SA, or the famous Wedge in California. The peak is formed by a wave rebounding off the breakwall not by refraction offshore. How about a few purpose built concrete slabs strategically positioned against the headlands of all our close-out beaches? Interested to know what Steveb thinks of this. Imagine every beach in Sydney having a Whale Beach Wedge in the northern corner. Or the southern corner even. And they could be built at beaches all around the country. Surely this is cheaper than the high tech surfing reef or even the shapeless offshore reef. And quicker, and easier, and lower impact. No higher impact than all the swimming pools hewn into the headlands of most Sydney beaches currently. It could be a quick, cheap, low impact solution to the problem of feeding sick pits to the growing masses. Isn't that what we really need? No disrespect Steveb because I admire your drive and you're a hundred times the man I am just for getting off your arse and doing something, but surely a quick, cheap easy way to fill all our local beaches with good waves is more desirable than one expensive, exclusive, overcrowded reef break on some beach a thousand Kms from most guys' local beach that they'll never go to anyway cos they'd have to fly and stay in a hotel and they'd never get a wave even if they did paddle out cos there's 200 pro's and frothers and kamikazes and angry 'locals' and Euro backpackers and chicks on lids and goat boats and SUPs and 50 old fat guys on mals, and of course the tow guys.
Zenagain's local beachy is sounding pretty good right now. Maybe we should make more of those.

Leigh Finortum

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z-man commented Wednesday, 1 Jun 2011 at 3:16am

Everyone here has good ideas. The most bang for the least buck may win the day. I encourage all of you to keep the stoke because someday the city councils will wake up to realize the benefits that our growing sport will provide the city coffers.
I dread the crowds but that is the result of progress. Keep surfing and thanks for the input.

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bob_s commented Wednesday, 1 Jun 2011 at 6:49am

At the base of the northern Newcastle harbour break wall is a length that changes direction. (dogleg)
You can go see at Google earth and search for the Placemark Stockton Wedge. Its East 151 4'7 38.4" South 32 54' 38".

I've got some video and pix i will try and locate if anyone is interested. Each larger set of waves causes that much refection that 1m width of the 2m high sand dune onshore carved off by the resulting sideways water flow. It cost $100,000 of sand nourishment to replace one days erosion. ( once in 25year event)

It was a little bit of magic seeing these perfect swell sets coming along the breakwater and then encountering the "dogleg" and reflecting to cause a shifting wedge peak. The lids just had to be at the right place and kick once to take off.

Across the harbour I have bookmarked the harbour Break. Its on youtube by others as Newcastle harbour surfing.
http://www.google.com.au/search?aq=1&oq=newcastle+harbour+surf&sourceid=...

There has been a report for this location written and presented to the Port Authority for cooperation in researching the depth measurements (bathymetry) but they declined to cooperate (.Stunet has a copy of this and he is welcome to post it online if he wishes to.) Its hardly a extreme thing to surf there when superpowered boats race on the harbour each year (i think one fatality so far). We live in hope of ways to engage well with the authorities?

bob_s

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steveb commented Friday, 3 Jun 2011 at 10:16pm

There are many ways to make surf breaks, many have been mentioned-rebound walls, incorporating surf amenity into artificial headlands/groynes, strategic recurrent sand placement, deep water "shapeless" refraction reefs, remodelling natural headlands,etc. All are theoretically possible, and some may even be the best answer for a particular situation.

However, generally speaking, the incentive for things to actually be done is either because someone is going to improve the world for mankind, or make a profit, or if they can do both at the same time, all the better-
So I think a solution that is reliably consistant, of a known quality, repeatable in commonly found situations, and capable of being packaged/sold as a commercial product will have an advantage- hence my reef concept.

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bob_s commented Saturday, 4 Jun 2011 at 1:13am

@steveb, I agree totally with your reasoning.

I am trying to figure a way of

1. assessing how often the best consistent breaks work.

2.what the cost in time and money for surfers to be able to surf them when they work and what wasted time and effort is involved when they don't. work.
and many other things that need to be known that I cant think of now.

Survey monkey has a free minimal survey template and not being a PR or Stat's person I don't know what the best questions to ask would be.

So can anyone people assist with suggestions ?

Think that might be also information that could help you Steve?

Oh of the various scenarios you list -many exist by accident , many more are 'almost there" by accident and a little low cost effort could improve them heaps. That might be a threat to new commerce that costs more as potential competition in a market place for funding?

You describe well the strengths of your product . The weakness's and threats need to be fully explored for it to get a leg up in funds. You can be sure any source of funds will explore every one of them with due diligence before it commits.

I don't want to sound negative but all of what you describe defines "wave-garden". etc in the attributes needed for full success?

bob_s

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fredie-c commented Sunday, 5 Jun 2011 at 1:50am

Yes bob-s, wavegarden do have a good product and at a cost much more reasonable than others designing the same. And the same thing has to happen with ocean reefs.
Wave garden is good for the future of surfing, in that the dark negative failures of the past ten or so years has turned around. My product will also be more reasonable in cost especially in developing countries.

So now ocean reefs cannot compete in delivering surf and they needs to be multi purpose with coastal protection as its main function, generating energy and last but not least, for surfing, all at a reasonable price, which is difficult to do in developed countries especially Australia and the US, so i will do a 1:4 scale of my reef version mentioned in an earlier post when my Indo prototype is finished (soon) and after getting some prices from Bandung (the textile capitol of south asia) 2 hours drive from where i am, i have calculated that a 2000 square m reef with 1500 plastic balls for floats, 5 km of rope and twine will cost 50 k using 5.5mm thick double layered geotextile, with us here doing the stitching and also making the 80 anchors required and having volunteers helping with the placement ( although $7 per day for helpers will also work). I mentioned padang as a good location, but preferring to use the people i am with here, Pelabuan Ratu is also suitable and a truck can deliver the components in 3 hours. Pelabuan Ratu is in a big bay with a lot of beaches and we can choose different intensities in surf action.

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fredie-c commented Wednesday, 8 Jun 2011 at 3:02am

I should be concentrating on doing stuff and not commenting on blogs , anybody out there know how to remove my post, particularly the one above? PLEASE.

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rhys1983 commented Friday, 10 Jun 2011 at 5:18am

I think artificial reefs are the way of the future.

In West Oz we have huge amounts of coastline that receive extremely consistent swells.

Imagine if you had a forward thinking shire which decided to put a "Nias" copy in their backyward. Imagine the tourist dollars flooding in. Even better - why don't you do a Nias/Reverse Nias peak. Now that would be nice. Like Lakeys on steroids.

They might even be able ot have the first WT Event on a an artificial reef on floorless 6-8ft artificial barrels!

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thermalben commented Monday, 26 May 2014 at 5:37pm

Interesting side story:

"TWO artificial reefs will be built off the coast of Port Botany in southern Sydney to boost recreational fish numbers.

The NSW government will spend more than $2 million on establishing the reefs in a move that's been described as great news for anglers."

http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/nsw-to-build-artificial-re...

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Sheepdog commented Monday, 26 May 2014 at 6:10pm

This would be the perfect spot for an artificial reef...... probably get funding too..... A- May save the tip of the island after decades of rocks being moved and channel manipulation by oyster farmers... B.. Would stop possible disaster at Golden beach.... and C - would've thinned the crowds out during cyclone Lusi ;)
http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/minister-happy-to-let-wave...

Sheepdog

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 11:11am

there's no serious case against artificial reefs in urban areas. And they are the only feasible solution to overcrowding.
Bring them on.

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stunet commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 11:12am

Except they cost a shitload to build.

And there's been no successful example yet built.

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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 11:40am

True, Stu......
That section of Bribie Is' is a worry..... Here's an interview with a 4th generation fisherman from the area, documenting man's interference with the natural sand flows re' that area.
http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/scd-bribie-island-break-off-a-...

So, I think if we are to experiment with "artificial reefs", I don't think it should be purely for a surfing perspective....... Sure, design it with surfing in mind, but as Stu said, not much success so far.... Having a reef 200m offshore from the erosion area at Bribie may/may not create a decent reef wave.... But there is a chance.... Plus that stretch of beach is known for closeouts... A few banks may be created by the reef...

And of course, the reef would cut down swell action at the vulnerable neck of the island.......
So, as far as politicians go, we have a very strong case for funding - 1 - stop Bribie breaking... 2 - protect Golden beach infrastucture..... 3 - create possible new surf breaks at the northern end of Bribie island... 4 - create possible new fishing habitat for anglers......
Environment - tick..... protection of real estate/ infrastructure - tick.... Tourism - tick...
No brainer.

Sheepdog

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alakaboo commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 12:22pm

Sheepdog that is a terrible place for an artificial reef of any kind, let alone a surfing reef. Forgetting the cost for the moment:
Huge swell shadow. In the conditions that it would work, so would every other part of the coast.
Recreation reserve - natural processes are prioritised in management. Why throw money at an area which can respond to the processes in a natural way? It is against government policy at all levels.
No need for it - Bribie Is breakthrough poses little to no threat to anything. In the 60s the river mouth was pretty much where the breakthrough point is now. The old blokes at Golden Beach didn't get washed away. http://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/addfiles/documents/environment/erosi...
Wouldn't work as erosion prevention, for a lot of reasons.
Relatively difficult access, though you wouldn't think so if you saw the crowds over there recently.
The list goes on.

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mitchvg commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 12:41pm

alakaboo wrote: Huge swell shadow. In the conditions that it would work, so would every other part of the coast.

Hang on a second, how many spots are there in SEQ & FN NNSW that are decently protected from the Nthly? Pretty much only kings for the majority of the population.

And whinging pensioners are a pretty powerful voting block, easy to get them on board I reckon, Golden being a retirement spot

My casual observations and opinion is that an artificial reef may stop a storm swell breakthrough. But the bulk of the erosion actually seems to be from the inside of the passage...

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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 1:59pm

alakaboo wrote: Sheepdog that is a terrible place for an artificial reef of any kind, let alone a surfing reef. Forgetting the cost for the moment:
Huge swell shadow. In the conditions that it would work, so would every other part of the coast.
Recreation reserve - natural processes are prioritised in management. Why throw money at an area which can respond to the processes in a natural way? It is against government policy at all levels.
No need for it - Bribie Is breakthrough poses little to no threat to anything. In the 60s the river mouth was pretty much where the breakthrough point is now. The old blokes at Golden Beach didn't get washed away. http://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/addfiles/documents/environment/erosi...
Wouldn't work as erosion prevention, for a lot of reasons.
Relatively difficult access, though you wouldn't think so if you saw the crowds over there recently.
The list goes on.

"Terrible"?? Sheesh, Ala', that's a bit harsh. ;)..... Yer yer I take the council write up as any council write up.... But I hope you did take note of the documented sand channel changes caused by human activity...
Ala', look, we could put in put a reef at Mermaid beach..... Or Castaways.... But beaurocrats would on'y see it as a plus for surfers..... And your argument re' "In the conditions that it would work, so would every other part of the coast" would also stand true.... The wind would have to be sw to nw.... So many options.....
The reason I would consider The neck would be mostly because of political reasoning, as in my post above - many different forms of taxpayers would "theoretically" benefit from government funding, not just surfers....
As far as "access" goes, mate.... Aint much of an effort from Kings..... Seriously.... And during Lusi, there were tow ins happening at the mouth....
Ok, no south swells, yeah, but south swells are rare on the suuny coast anyway..... Ese, E, Ene , Ne..... No problems there....

Sheepdog

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alakaboo commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 2:39pm

I thought it was quite restrained, actually.
If I was a Golden Beach pensioner and you told me you were going to spend $20m+ of rates money to protect a few pandanus and banskia trees on the offchance the surf would be better at a place I don't visit I certainly wouldn't be so polite.

Seems you didn't get my comment about access and crowds, I'm a bit more subtle with my hints.

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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 4:04pm

alakaboo wrote: I thought it was quite restrained, actually.
If I was a Golden Beach pensioner and you told me you were going to spend $20m+ of rates money to protect a few pandanus and banskia trees on the offchance the surf would be better at a place I don't visit I certainly wouldn't be so polite.

Seems you didn't get my comment about access and crowds, I'm a bit more subtle with my hints.

Yeah, I got your comment "relatively" speaking....... A bob each way is a safe bet re' semantics....

Now, "$20 million"....... Ummm, yeah.... right..... The reef doesn't have to be gold plated...... The Qld government just put in 6 reefs.... Total cost - 2.25 million........ The Narrowneck reef back in 2000 cost 2.5 million...
http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/moreton-bay/zoning/trial_artificial_re...

http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/286825/Narrowneck...

So, Ala', if you've got a quote for 20mill', you've been ripped off man lol...

And as far as "being a golden beach pensioner" goes, Umm, you forgot the political "sell" of home protection re'erosion, and that as a retired boomer, you now have another place to take the 18 footer fishing on calm days. So, dunno if you deliberately missed those points......
And considering 1 million of "your taxes" have already been pissed into the ocean, with a further 1.8 million now being urinated (well over the cost of 6 reefs in moreton bay), I don't know if a pensioner/retiree would be that upset, as long as it works......
http://www.mysunshinecoast.com.au/articles/article-display/council-seeks...

Sheepdog

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alakaboo commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 8:35pm

I've quoted rather than replying because I'm tired of doing the do-si-do to get back to the latest comment. Semantics and tone are difficult to convey on here, so you'll just have to take my word that I'm not trying to aggravate you, just to further the discussion.
I'm cautiously in favour of artificial reefs in the right places, that just ain't one of them. The politics actually mean it would be harder, not easier, and the physical aspects make it a poor candidate.

Sheepdog wrote: Now, "$20 million"....... Ummm, yeah.... right..... The reef doesn't have to be gold plated...... The Qld government just put in 6 reefs.... Total cost - 2.25 million........ The Narrowneck reef back in 2000 cost 2.5 million...
http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/moreton-bay/zoning/trial_artificial_re...
http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/286825/Narrowneck...

So, Ala', if you've got a quote for 20mill', you've been ripped off man lol...


You aren't comparing apples with apples
Narrowneck also had 1.2million m3 of sand deposited for erosion control, which arguably had more impact than the geobags. If you include that cost (using conservative unit costs) and adjust for inflation it is over $15m. There is also a boulder wall there.

The other ones are fishing/diving reefs. Different design requirements, vastly different costs.

For a recent costed example of an artificial reef, look at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast. Council has just recently decided to go ahead with the reef there, again.
Cost estimate is (currently) at $16.9m, not including $1.1m already allocated. A fair chunk of that is for nourishment and seawalls as well, because there is always a concern they won't work to protect the coast.
http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/gold-coast/offshore-artificial-...

Sheepdog wrote: And as far as "being a golden beach pensioner" goes, Umm, you forgot the political "sell" of home protection re'erosion, and that as a retired boomer, you now have another place to take the 18 footer fishing on calm days. So, dunno if you deliberately missed those points......

I know you don't believe the council papers, but I've read the engineering studies they are based upon and asked people who know a lot more about the risk. I don't believe there IS a real erosion risk to Golden Beach. What risk there is to Golden Beach comes from channel migration, not from ocean breakthrough.
I agree it could improve fishing, but I wouldn't put it that close to shore. Even on small days when it didn't break the old blokes would be rocking and turning green.

Sheepdog wrote: I don't know if a pensioner/retiree would be that upset, as long as it works......

And there's the rub.
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Sheepdog commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 9:31pm

alakaboo wrote: I've quoted rather than replying because I'm tired of doing the do-si-do to get back to the latest comment. Semantics and tone are difficult to convey on here, so you'll just have to take my word that I'm not trying to aggravate you, just to further the discussion.
I'm cautiously in favour of artificial reefs in the right places, that just ain't one of them. The politics actually mean it would be harder, not easier, and the physical aspects make it a poor candidate.

Sheepdog wrote: Now, "$20 million"....... Ummm, yeah.... right..... The reef doesn't have to be gold plated...... The Qld government just put in 6 reefs.... Total cost - 2.25 million........ The Narrowneck reef back in 2000 cost 2.5 million...
http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/moreton-bay/zoning/trial_artificial_re...
http://www.griffith.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/286825/Narrowneck...

So, Ala', if you've got a quote for 20mill', you've been ripped off man lol...


You aren't comparing apples with apples
Narrowneck also had 1.2million m3 of sand deposited for erosion control, which arguably had more impact than the geobags. If you include that cost (using conservative unit costs) and adjust for inflation it is over $15m. There is also a boulder wall there.

The other ones are fishing/diving reefs. Different design requirements, vastly different costs.

For a recent costed example of an artificial reef, look at Palm Beach on the Gold Coast. Council has just recently decided to go ahead with the reef there, again.
Cost estimate is (currently) at $16.9m, not including $1.1m already allocated. A fair chunk of that is for nourishment and seawalls as well, because there is always a concern they won't work to protect the coast.
http://www.goldcoastbulletin.com.au/news/gold-coast/offshore-artificial-...

Sheepdog wrote: And as far as "being a golden beach pensioner" goes, Umm, you forgot the political "sell" of home protection re'erosion, and that as a retired boomer, you now have another place to take the 18 footer fishing on calm days. So, dunno if you deliberately missed those points......

I know you don't believe the council papers, but I've read the engineering studies they are based upon and asked people who know a lot more about the risk. I don't believe there IS a real erosion risk to Golden Beach. What risk there is to Golden Beach comes from channel migration, not from ocean breakthrough.
I agree it could improve fishing, but I wouldn't put it that close to shore. Even on small days when it didn't break the old blokes would be rocking and turning green.

Sheepdog wrote: I don't know if a pensioner/retiree would be that upset, as long as it works......

And there's the rub.

We'll respectfully agree to disagree, Ala'..... But if you are cautiously in favour of an artificial reef, and you don't like my "kill 3 birds with one stone" suggestion, where would you be in favour of spending what you believe to 20 million? And would it be purely a surfing reef, which would be harder to get government backing? Gold coast? NSW?

Sheepdog

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alakaboo commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 12:49pm

How common are Nth-NE winds on the Sunshine Coast at times when you would be surfing, Mitch?
Not very. http://www.bom.gov.au/clim_data/cdio/tables/pdf/windrose/IDCJCM0021.0408...
Bathymetry trumps wind.

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mitchvg commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 12:56pm

Yes true, I was having flashbacks of almost decapitating 1/2 a dozen groms on one wave it was that crowded.

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mitchvg commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 1:03pm

Mind you it WAS the only place working though. 16/3/14 it was. TC Lusi

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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 1:53pm

"And there's been no successful example yet built."

except for every rivermouth training wall ever built. And every groyne. anywhere in the world.
hell, throw a few shipwrecks in there as well.

There's plenty of workable templates.

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alakaboo commented Tuesday, 27 May 2014 at 10:24pm

Sheepdog I think the Gold Coast is an obvious candidate, seems they do too.
There's a lot of comments earlier in the thread and a whole forum with other alternatives.
http://www.swellnet.com/forums/surfing-reef-designs

It's not easy to get backing in any state.
NSW is harder than Qld at the moment, as they recently conducted a review that showed that offshore reefs rarely work as intended.

It is very difficult to design a reef for protection and surfing.
Offshore refraction of the waves holds far more potential in my mind. Or any of the options Freeride mentions.

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Sheepdog's picture
Sheepdog commented Wednesday, 28 May 2014 at 8:52am

Cheers, Ala.... You by chance wouldn't live on the gold coast, would you? ;)

Sheepdog

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alakaboo commented Wednesday, 28 May 2014 at 9:34am

No.
And I wouldn't surf on the reef if they built it either.

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Sheepdog commented Wednesday, 28 May 2014 at 9:45am

Well, if you don't live there, it'd be difficult to surf it..... But I'm sure if on holidays, you pulled up and hypothetically they designed it right, it was 4 to 6 foot a frame pumping spitting barrels, you might be tempted.... Unless of course man altered gold coast sand bottomed points or rock wall sandy beachbreaks are your go..... :p

Sheepdog

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freeride76 commented Wednesday, 28 May 2014 at 10:16am

there isn't a surfbreak on the Gold Coast that isn't engineered in some way.

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Sheepdog commented Wednesday, 28 May 2014 at 10:44am

That's my point, free ride..... The main reason I consider the neck at northern Bribie to be considered, is it has the best chance for political funding..... A artificial reef dedicated purely to surfing would only have the support of surfers, and maybe some shop and property owners nearby.... But as we have seen even in this thread, not all surfers would be behind it. So as a "hypothetical politician", I would find that "one dimensional angle" very hard to sell re' funding....
But with Bribie, I would have many selling points; erosion/environment/ property protection/surfing/fishing/employment....
A far easier sell than a "pure" surfing reef off mermaid beach.......

Sheepdog

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stunet commented Saturday, 15 Jul 2017 at 10:08am

Six years on from this article/interview and Steve Barett is still plugging away.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-14/kingscliff-fabricated-steel-artificial-reef-trial-world-first/8704066

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 15 Jul 2017 at 11:57am

Please Stunet just give me that ignore button for Crypto (Herc, uplift or whatever other names he has used)

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