Artificial reef for southern Tasmania?

Elise Fantin
Swellnet Dispatch

A civil engineer by trade, Tasmanian Shane Abel has spent the past three years working on a proposal for an artificial reef at Park Beach, south-east of Hobart.

"[In Tasmania] one of the issues has always been ... the quality of the surf," he said. "Generally most of the surf at beaches like Park and Clifton don't appeal all that well."

Artificial surf reefs have been discussed for Tasmania in the past, including for Clifton Beach, but have never eventuated.

"We're trying to get a start somewhere and Park Beach is a good place to start but I'd love to build one at Clifton too," he said.

Mr Abel has done extensive research on attempts to create artificial surf reefs around the world.

Location of the proposed artificial reef.

"There's been quite a number built historically and all those reefs have either failed to produce surf or have fallen apart over time," he said.

"Rather than try to build something out of a sock full of sand or out of rocks we've come up with a proposal to actually build it out of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), the same material used in fish farm cages."

The pipe structure would be built 200 metres offshore and sit above the ocean floor supported by posts.

"Simplistically, if you think about a jetty that sits above the water ours is basically a jetty that sits below the water," he said.

(Supplied: Surfing Tasmania)

Mr Abel said this reduced the environmental impact and the structure could be easily removed.

"The fact that our structure is up off the bottom means it has no impact on sand movement and impact on the ocean floor is minimal," he said.

Mr Abel said the reef would sit at a 45-degree angle to the incoming swell and produce waves 100 metres long.

"We've been lucky enough to do some tank testing at the Maritime College in Launceston last year and that was successful," he said.

Design of Shane Abel's artificial reef.

Surfing Tasmania is holding a community meeting on August 2 at Dodges Ferry Okine Community Centre to discuss the proposal.

"I'm not interested in pursuing this unless I do get community support," Mr Abel said.

The project would also need to pass planning approvals.

"Because we're building out in the water we've actually got to get a lease from the crown. We're not quite sure at this stage whether or not we'll need Sorell Council planning approval for it as well," Mr Abel said.

The project does not come cheap, with the estimated cost between $2.5 and $3 million.

Mr Abel said he hoped private backers as well as the State Government would come on board if there was community support.

"If we can get this up and running and we get the quality of surf that I believe we will get then there's no doubt we could attract people to surf in Tasmania," he said.

The plans were posted on Surfing Tasmania's Facebook page and have received mostly positive comments but others are waiting to see more detail.

//ELISE FANTIN

© Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

Comments

dandandan's picture
dandandan's picture
dandandan commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 8:42am
When I am at home I surf Park pretty often if it's less than shoulder high on the log. Anything above that it closes out mostly. So it'd be amazing if there was a reef that gave same shape to the swell! It's a long featureless beach right down to the rivermouth so there's plenty of space for it. I'd be particularly supportive if it broke well enough to snap a few stand up paddle boards - the place is full of them and all they do is talk about their investment properties.

tonybarber's picture
tonybarber's picture
tonybarber commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 8:43am

Great idea - go for it. The solution for the future.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 8:44am

Note: indo-dreaming - we transferred this over from your forum topic to an article so the conversation would have more context. 

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 2:37pm

Ha ha I'm going to have to start getting a commission for giving a tip off for these stories :P

neiltreg's picture
neiltreg's picture
neiltreg commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 9:15am

This sort of initiative is needed for the SA South Coast. When you look at the population in the area $2m - $3m is a modest investment.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 9:27am

Fantastic idea but with a submerged platform such as that and in that configuration and dimensions..unfortunately piling alone would be 2 - 3 Mill.

JM's picture
JM's picture
JM commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 11:15am

Yep. Got to be better than that stupid tuna pen.

Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017's picture
Winkipop2017 commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 9:23am

Interesting! I would like to hear some Cronulla locals opinion on artificial reefs!

Old bate bay is like a toilet bowl the way the water runs around it!
So hard to fine tune the beachys.
The bank that fired that night at high will be shit the next morning at high and going of at low!
So you will wait for the low the next day and it fire on the high again!
Confusing wave Greenhills

;+) har ha ha ha.

frankson beans's picture
frankson beans's picture
frankson beans commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 9:29am

The main question is: How much are you prepared today to pay to share a A frame peak with limited persons??
Cos at the end of the day its a commercial enterprise....but could solve over crowding problems for certain surfers.

ishredinmyhead's picture
ishredinmyhead's picture
ishredinmyhead commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 10:50am

I got to experience the pros and cons of an artificial 'reef' or 2 (albeit temporary ones) that appeared a few days ago at my local thanks to some apparent beach replenishment (the jury's still out on whether or not this will work?). Great little 'dredgy' (pun intended) peaks, even when only 1 foot of swell they still have more punch than anywhere else along the stretch of beach. I'm still waiting to see if they hold up for more than a day or 2 with a few more feet of size.
The down side to this is, A: being sand pumped into one spot, they are only temporary and B: they are freakin crowd magnets!
Once the word was out it was like a micro version of the superbank; too many people and not enough waves to go round, and boardriders comps trying to take over. We all know what happens with that scenario! The talk among the more friendly crew was 'We need these banks or reefs every 200 metres all over the coast and make em permanent!'
I'm sure Tasmania doesn't have the crowds we get on the gold coast but I can guarantee if it produces a half decent wave those who wished for it will soon regret it, unless that's the objective - to have more people?
But hey if the above artificial reefs are proven to work well and actually last, then Mr Tate could you please order 50 of these? (who am i kidding? that wont be enough for the Gold Coast)

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 10:57am

looks like a pretty simple structure.

Does any of the wave energy pass underneath it? I've never seen a structure like that in nature.

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 2:06pm

"Does any of the wave energy pass underneath it? "

It sure looks like it freeride76 ,
that looks a bit flawed if wave energy is flowing under the ramp .
A long period swell would be a concern by the looks

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 2:46pm

This strutcture will have a lifespan of an Eco Barrier Shark Net.

Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfcockneyfullaussie's picture
Halfscousehalfc... commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 2:53pm

It would be great to see a successful artificial reef. I think most people dont care about wave height as much as much as they prefer a bit of push and quality. Especially with so many different board designs.

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 3:08pm

Doubt if it will pass,someone gets stuck underneath it could easily drown,legrope wrapped around pole or caught on a future barnicle....wont happen.....IMO

simba

lukas's picture
lukas's picture
lukas commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 4:58pm

storm bay is a very practical place for more than several, viable position's, for epic, artificial reefs & wave technology . that's a full stop....... with a big start........... ya just need the right people to implement the correct protocols ...... mean while ... i'm just surfin.

hynz

Pigdog2's picture
Pigdog2's picture
Pigdog2 commented Friday, 14 Jul 2017 at 8:24am

This proposal is for Fredrik Henry Bay - totally different kettle of fish...

stewraz's picture
stewraz's picture
stewraz commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 5:11pm

Now there is an interesting idea. If all or most, of the energy is passing over the reef, why not include some form of turbine to generate green energy. Tas gov will love it.

lukas's picture
lukas's picture
lukas commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 5:25pm

yep stewraz, these reefs are self powered & will move where needed

hynz

groovie's picture
groovie's picture
groovie commented Thursday, 13 Jul 2017 at 6:28pm

How is the submerged reef @ Narrowneck performing? Did a case study on the reef set up there with the students in my Marine & Aquaculture technology class. Just wondering if it is performing as envisaged back in the 90's.

Pigdog2's picture
Pigdog2's picture
Pigdog2 commented Friday, 14 Jul 2017 at 8:13am

Reading through the social media related to this reveals that there's a significant amount of local resistance to this proposal......concerns expressed include the total lack of hydrological data, lack of data regarding impact on the foreshore, lack of data regarding impact upon the pre-existing peaks, the inappropriateness of the site in regard to swell (looks like it sits in a large bay with mostly small swell), pre-existing overcrowding and the propensity to further escalate the problem in the water, safety concerns regarding the design and the potential for problems as per Simba, the likelihood that this experimental design just won't work with wave energy just passing underneath it and mostly turbulence being created, lack of information on maintenance and removal costs etc etc....by and large, given that ' 3 years were spent on the proposal', a remarkably thin and unconvincing job.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 14 Jul 2017 at 10:33am

The Dock : Stabmag
Whatever next ?

Pigdog2's picture
Pigdog2's picture
Pigdog2 commented Friday, 14 Jul 2017 at 10:34am

"The plans were posted on Surfing Tasmania's Facebook page and have received mostly positive comments but others are waiting to see more detail....." Really? Here's a collection of some of the responses - Wrong spot should be on the south arm/You can have it south arm...all yours, we don't want it thanks/Take your artificial reef and bash it fair up your clacker/Take the 'experiment' elsewhere - all fine here thank you/Carpark and local infrastructure can't handle the current influx of crowds over summer. This would make it 10 times worse! /Has ocean wave-sediment transport modelling of the region been done to see how the proposed artificial reef will impact the local environment?/Leave it ALONE!!!!.../Stupid idea. Looks like the folk of South Arm would like it. Build it there and watch it flop like all the other artificial reefs./And who's paying for it?????/Impressive drawings that mother nature will destroy. What a stupid idea/Onland wavepools are the future - they are proven to work regardless of conditions, they do not impact upon pre-existing, natural environments, they are privately funded, they do not soak up badly needed taxpayers dollars....for all those referring to 'haters' , 'hermits' etc - have a think about a few things including the options....this is not the ONLY option and many consider this a poor option./ I can't see a indo type wave breaking at park? It's at the end of Fredric Henry Bay by the time the swell hits park the swells lost practically all its power! Parks a perfect wave for beginners and the recreational surfer there's plenty of little peaks upto 2 to 3 foot. What's the point of investing in a reef that makes weak 2 to 3 foot waves, we already have that??/ Got to ask - who wrote this article inn the first place???

Stacey abel's picture
Stacey abel's picture
Stacey abel commented Friday, 14 Jul 2017 at 10:59am

The plans on swellnet are not a complete set The reef is triangular and at its point it dips down to the sea floor .this ensure the wave energy is picked up by the reef and very little if any passes under neath it
The reef is located 200m offshore and is therefore outside the near shore zone which is the zone of turbulence sediment transport and currents . The structure willl therefore have little if any effect on the dynamics of the beach
Hydrodynamic study in this case would not be appropriate because of the structures location.in regards to such studies the science has come a long way in recent years with programs such as mike 21 and others however they may be considered more art than science very difficult to model dynamic boundary conditions . A simple example is port Phillip bay dredging where detailed computer analysis was undertaken which showed no negative impact on Portsea beach since the dredging was completed Portsea beach has disappeared interesting that the detailed computer analysis did not pick this issue up there is of course argument over the cause of the beach loss but go and ask the locals and see what they tell and think of the computer modelling simply the only way to see what effect one has on the environment is to actually build it the key is simp,e what ever you put in the ocean you need to be able to remove this reef can be floated away and the Piles ute off at ocean floor level that's one of the key design. Criterias
I'm
In regards to location the reef is 1 km from car parks either end of the beach in an area which is full time closer outs and no one surfs in fact the water is used by very few people
In regards to wave pools one should compare taking nature and using it to create peeling waves versus wave pools which willl require large amounts of energy and impact global warming we pretend to be environmentally aware but in reality maybe we aren't maybe we are after the perfect wave and prepared to pay for it in. A wAve pool
the asr at park will be free for all and as this is new technology we have to start somewhere and park is logical as a testing ground with smaller waves and less wave energy once we have it sorted we can move onto sites with more swell but we'd need to crawl before we can walk and no amount of tank testing will give you the answer
The real world is the test case
Cheers and keep the comments coming great to get heaps of different views
Cheers shane abel

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Friday, 14 Jul 2017 at 11:10am

Shane can we have a look at the complete plans ?

Goofy4's picture
Goofy4's picture
Goofy4 commented Friday, 14 Jul 2017 at 3:28pm

Read the developers recent post with great interest - seems like there is confirmation that no environmental testing has been undertaken. It has been essential that testing and data be provided in other asr instances - it's not enough to contend that hydro study 'would not be appropriate'...or the technology is 'more art than science'......it also seems to me that the developer has himself defined what needs to happen and in what sort of conditions and all he needs to do is listen to himself...1. "simply the only way to see what effect one has on the environment is to actually build it " - ok, so you build the experimental prototype....2. "this is new technology we have to start somewhere" - okay, so you've somehow decided on a high density use area and even though you say it's a k up the beach people still need to get there...they still need to access the area and in doing so will add traffic to an already stressed and congested environment - this also says nothing about the additional damage to a dune system that is decaying due to the effects of a residential boom in the area..you contend you have to start somewhere but you only seem to consider one site when there are a myriad of other options . We also need to keep in mind that a lot of people do use that area in summer for purposes other than surfing 3. "Logical as a testing ground with smaller waves and less wave energy once we have it sorted we can move onto sites with more swell but we'd need to crawl before we can walk and no amount of tank testing will give you the answer...." and this is it in a nutshell... why establish a test site where it is clearly not wanted? It would seem to make sense to lobby for a test site elsewhere - where there are also small waves with less wave energy (the 7 Mile Beach stretch for e.g.) where there is no pre-existing surfing and residential population, where the test site can be easily monitored and observed to ascertain if it actually works at all and whether it is safe......

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Friday, 14 Jul 2017 at 3:51pm

It's worth considering the sheer volume of research and community consultation that has gone into the Palm Beach reef (and shoreline) project on the Gold Coast.

http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/thegoldcoast/palm-beach-shoreline-projec...

Meccabowl Industries's picture
Meccabowl Industries's picture
Meccabowl Industries commented Friday, 14 Jul 2017 at 4:08pm

Great work on the design Shane, we are liking the proposed reef.

At Meccabowl industries we have been keeping under warps a alternative reef concept for Park Beach and are currently seeking funding for the alternative waterplex.

The Artificial Reef is also proposed for Tasmainan iconic surf location: Park Beach. The proposed reef v1.0 is a scaled up version of local surf identity Rex Manning's pelt balls. The most advanced structure of its kind provides the lowest impact to environment and is inclusive of child friendly bathing area. The hessian like pelt ball structure is the safest material available and the natural fibers will create a micro-marine climate for endemic sea life.

We are about to release the Crowdfunding video however, we can share some "exclusive" behind the scenes demonstration of the surfplex here: https://youtu.be/wymDHQE5iiM

Goofy4's picture
Goofy4's picture
Goofy4 commented Saturday, 15 Jul 2017 at 8:03am

........and this initial Feasibility Study in Albany WA, which is only a preliminary pass and outlines the amount of detail required before any informed decision can be made at all...
https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=r...

Although when all is said and done - how could anything transcend the alternate Sackball Reef????

ZGillette's picture
ZGillette's picture
ZGillette commented Friday, 14 Jul 2017 at 4:23pm

I like the pelt reef Meccabowl Industries. Great place to hold Tasmania's ultimate surf comp the Parrot Invitational.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Saturday, 15 Jul 2017 at 9:48am

Heres another proposal

Legrope's picture
Legrope's picture
Legrope commented Saturday, 15 Jul 2017 at 2:46pm

The artificial reef at Cottelsoe WA is a pretty good structure as when the planets align and a 6 mtr swell is running. The swell will get in there and make probably the best shaped wave in Perth. Fairly shallow on takeoff and barrelling. Pity it only works properly once every few years. Location, location is key. Copy the bathymetry of The Right and put in somewhere exposed. Smooth contoured bottom with no holes for maximum energy efficiency.
I reckon a lot of energy will be lost underneath as suggested for the proposed structure in this article. You want every bit of wave energy to pass over the top of it.
Been dreaming of taking a sneaky dinghy load of broken concrete to our little outer reefy every time and it should be sick in 20 years! Who doesn't think of doing that sometimes.

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher commented Sunday, 16 Jul 2017 at 1:01am

Adding on ... 'thermalben'- Palm Beach will be a Boulder Reef (Built over next 4 years).

Narrowneck Reef is a Textile Bag Reef (Repair) underway June - 0ct 2017.

Current also is Beach Refurbishment (Rainbow Dredge) Spitting out custom A frames.
Add to that the incessant river/creek dredging closing out the banks.
Note: Sand Rainbow dries out minerals and disperses Silica cloud over Beachgoers.
This is open cut blue sky mining with reverse wetting down. [CAUTION]

Here's some current local wave'Proposals' !
Dreamtime Beach Fingal (150m offshore) Steel Reef 90 x 50m Cudgen/Indo Style.
Submitted by Steve Barrett to Tweed Council.

The Spit has/had Surf Lakes wavepool resort Fake Proposal...

On very same site is Breakwater CST [re: Bob Janssen 1]
(Reunion Cove) Surfing Stadium/Arena where worlds best compete in High Performance waves. re: TPC's Scottsdales famous party hole. (Quoting Bob)
Surfers take their pick from Margaret River or Angourie styled Headlands/coves.

Just back toward Narrowneck Reef is GCCC CST.
Consensus is Breakwall will superbank with EPA Scottish Prince Wreck Reef.
This inhibits North Ship Entry, then requiring sand pumping to undisclosed location. North-South Breakwall is said to divert swells to erode Gold Coast's largest dunes.
Possibly creating super rip action with jetty bank adjacent to Reef. (Not 4 Novices)

[WARNING] South Straddie Surfers .. Interim Whale Burial Ground.

Artificial Reefs kill the aquifer vortice (Mountain feed).Where goes my infinite natural footing and surprise nature of partnered wave. Dumb down the ride and kill the vibe.

eg: Dreamtime has cliff jumps ripping out to reverse right the best natural bodybash wave anywhere... barrelled 'till you pull your head outta the sand.
Saltwater Bodybash Transition point from Southern pod bombies to Sandbank freestylin' north crew.
Ask Local Boogerz how Deadly inch shallow the Zipline Left..
Count me in to protect these insane waves!
No coke can reef here Thanks! Hooroo!

lukas's picture
lukas's picture
lukas commented Sunday, 16 Jul 2017 at 5:20pm

this reef design, that is positioned up off the sea floor sounds, eco friendly, more than viable & just a great idea. it would work perfectly at parkies, even better at both ends of the beach. ( the left breaking every day at the eastern end ), sounds nice ...um, dodges ferry, around the islands at the end of seven mile, oh yer...great location's. would clifton & goats be alittle more consistent, with more punch in the swell? mmm perhaps, many option's.... all those lines of swell closing out, one after the other, day after day....it's a waste.

hynz

Goofy4's picture
Goofy4's picture
Goofy4 commented Sunday, 23 Jul 2017 at 1:26pm

Lukas - "This reef design, that is positioned up off the sea floor sounds, eco friendly, more than viable & just a great idea. it would work perfectly at parkies......." Do you have some access to expert info that no-one else, including the developer, has ? On what basis is it possible to state that this is "more than viable" ? The developer himself acknowledges that he has never designed an ar before, has never constructed an ar before and has no idea if it'll work or not - he is actually looking for somewhere to situate an experimental prototype....there's no hydrological data available, no offshore environmental assessment, foreshore impact assessment information or safety audit upon which to base an opinion on....there's also the matter of social license/ you know, whether the community actually wants what the developer has described as "a (large) submerged jetty" placed in their waterways - the proposal is to locate this in a rapidly growing community where there is multiple water and beach use - if you yourself live in the direct neighbourhood it's easy to understand that , as a surfer, you would like to see some research undertaken into whether an ar may be worth looking at and then researching which of the many design options may best be suited for this particular ocean profile ......and "all of those lines of swell closing out, one after the other, day after day...." - not sure how often you've sat and watched this beach but I'm in regular communication with people who check this beach on a daily basis and they pissed themselves laughing at this take on their local beach.......just doesn't happen day after day with "lines of swell" - and their info is absolutely verifiable via a cursory swell and wind search....

Pigdog2's picture
Pigdog2's picture
Pigdog2 commented Monday, 24 Jul 2017 at 9:28am

"The plans were posted on Surfing Tasmania's Facebook page and have received mostly positive comments but others are waiting to see more detail......"so, I had a look at Surfing Tas' Facebook page and there's a lot of exactly the opposite - to say there's mostly positive comments is absolute Fake News/Spin....the locals down there also sound pissed at Surfing Tas for supporting and promoting this in their backyard without any science being undertaken and being largely out of touch with Tas recreational surfers - would love to be a fly on the wall at that meeting...

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter commented Monday, 24 Jul 2017 at 7:02pm

The Gold Coast council , which is far from perfect, does 'reasonable' research into the effects of things like dredging , real and artificial reefs, or at least they have done., the researchers were sampling the sand , sea grass , the life within it. Undererwater ROVs, the works. Not seeing any of that here.

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Wednesday, 26 Jul 2017 at 11:57am

http://www.surfer.com/features/artificial-surf-reef-proposed-southern-ta...

"In addition to their environmental concerns, Hollmer-Cross and his sons argue that the reef is unnecessary, as Park Beach already produces surf of relative quality."

From The Mercury:

“The surf is really functional as it is. It always has been,” [Hollmer-Cross says]. “For recreational and [learning] surfers it’s actually ideal.”

Mr Hollmer-Cross said environmental and management protocols would need to be implemented at the beach, including foreshore, dune and safety management.

“If their information is environmentally sound, then they need to look at what people want.”

His son Tyler, who surfs regularly at the beach and around the state, said the reef would be better suited for another location that is not as renowned for surfing.

“I’m concerned what it’ll do for the breaks that we already have,” he said."

Clam's picture
Clam's picture
Clam commented Wednesday, 26 Jul 2017 at 5:13pm

Perhaps the locals arent supportive of this idea .
Looking at the structure, i would make a bet that this thing will be destroyed from the first "decade storm" that pops up .
They arent unusual in tassie as far as i know .
What sort of surf break has wave energy going underneath the "reef" anyway ? That means a human can go underneath it too .
The water could be murky during swell events , Someome dies .

Quote from the article :
"I'm not interested in pursuing this unless I do get community support," Mr Abel said.
The project would also need to pass planning approvals.
"Because we're building out in the water we've actually got to get a lease from the crown. We're not quite sure at this stage whether or not we'll need Sorell Council planning approval for it as well," Mr Abel said.
The project does not come cheap, with the estimated cost between $2.5 and $3 million.
Mr Abel said he hoped private backers as well as the State Government would come on board if there was community support."