An artificial reef for the Almost Coast - Victor Harbor, South Australia

funpeeler's picture
funpeeler started the topic in Monday, 16 Dec 2013 at 1:28pm

Sure to be a topic already discussed in various locations with various degrees of fervor.

I for one have always thought that the following locations, with a little artificial grooming could host a fairly consistent setups.

As the name implies, the vicinity has many locations that are *almost* there but not quite... Just a little tweak to the bathymetry....

Second Point Middleton. The classic 'Almost Coast' pointbreak. I have been lured out there for many a frustrating session. A few tyres in the right spot and we have a decent pointbreak. Would not hurt the sweep fishing either.

Chickens Run. Ditto as above. Not as consistent though.

The Wave at the end of the groyne at Pt Elliot. Good infrastructure. Would be a buzzing scene in the bay on a good day and great for tourism.

The Dump. maybe the 'almost' left (Ruperts Reef I think its called) that tempts but always disappoints

Any number of 'almost' A-frames in Encounter Bay could be tweaked to very fun levels.

Curious to hear thoughts and also stories of past initiatives that have been run up the flagpole..

FP

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 at 6:33pm

There was a Facebook page on this a while ago, and wrote a lengthy post which I'll reproduce here:

I've been researching this idea for a long time, and think that there is a lot to gain from such a project. A couple of points though:

The western half of Encounter Bay (ie west of Granite Island) isn't a good location for an artificial reef due to its bathymetry. The only real option here would be extending or complementing one of the Yilki reefs but the intertidal zone is too broad to support a artificial surf break, from a commercial point of view (accessibility would be a major problem).

I personally think that the Railways region (ie between Bullies and Chiton) is the best spot for several reasons: (1) it picks up a reasonable amount of swell, (2) is easily accessible with good visibility from existing infrastructure (roads, carparks), (3) is not a highly regarded wave, so any modification can only benefit the quality of the surf.

Also, we need to be realistic as to what can be achieved (surf-wise) by an artificial reef. As far as I am aware we are yet to see a successful artificial reef built anywhere in the world - in fact, recent years have seen a couple of of spectacular failures.

As such I would steer away from trying to replicate a common reef setup, and instead use something like Andrew Pitt's "Wave Focusing Sand Slug" (see this article: https://www.swellnet.com/news/surfpolitik/2011/07/28/cronullas-latest-surfspot-all-new-all-natural).

Obviously there's a lot of modeling that would need to be done, to ensure that such a project - sand slug or otherwise - wouldn't impact Bullies, Knights or The Dump. But honestly, I can't see an artificial reef on the South Coast being successful anywhere else but Railways.

mothart's picture
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mothart commented Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 at 10:24pm

What's wrong with victor?

I am always getting told how waits point is just like burleigh by a mate who shall remain nameless... Best ever atleast twice a year.

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roubydouby commented Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 at 10:46pm

Has there been any further developments with the Sand Slug?

I've always wondered about Petty C. Nice to have something a little less closeoutey.
God knows we need places that handle easterlies.

Results may vary.

amb's picture
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amb commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 9:07am

You really need to get a surfer on the Victa Council...surely there are enough surfers down there to vote someone in...whats Sid up to?

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 9:26am

Yeah Petrels is a good spot for a reef but I reckon it's too close to the cetacean freeway (which would result in swift opposition from the predominant non-surfing community).

Maybe they could do something with the Horseshoe Bay breakwall? Wouldn't be too hard to modify the existing structure in favour of something surfable (actually had a few mates that surfed it over the years too, although it always looked pretty crappy to me).

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Craig commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 9:52am

mothart wrote: Best ever atleast twice a year.

I think that's the problem, twice a year and then for the rest of it, closing out, rippy and windy. Leaves a lot of frustrating days.

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Craig commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 10:00am

And I've surfed the Port Elliot breakwall once as well and got a couple of waves where you could get a turn in, but then it goes really fat into the channel or you're pushing in close to the wall itself. Bit of a spooky place out there.

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ben-colyer commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 10:49am

The Breakwall can be an adrenalin rich experience. Jacks up a few metres in front of the rocks and then fattens when the wave gets past the wall. There are boils and backwash and weird movements and a 2 foot wave that jacks in size as it hits something on the bottom.

Bit harsh on Waits point. It's like Burleigh at least 3 days a year. But still better that most places on more days that it's not.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 11:05am

I had one year where it was like Burleigh four times. I don't think anyone can better that.

funpeeler's mate's picture
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funpeeler's mate commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 11:35am

If we were somehow able to overcome all the opposition, (I reckon there would be more opposition than support) then would come the challenge of dealing with the inevitable hoards swarming all over the only quality break within 300km of Adelaide.
Is anyone aware of any past proposals for this stretch of coastline?
Who would be the governing body? State / Fed?
I think a pretty compelling business case could be mounted and pitched to say Tourism SA for support but E.I.S. would be difficult and costly.

At the end of the day, maybe biggest challenge is the last thing the cashed up retirees of Victor would want would be MORE grubby surfers ‘spoiling’ their pristine coastline.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 11:57am

Nah, I reckon the council would probably be in favour of it. Any reason to increase traffic - and therefore regular spending - to the region is a good thing.

Of more concern to them would be insurance hassles (fine if someone hurts themselves at a natural surf spot, but if it's council-built then are they liable?).

Plus, for the exorbitant price tag they'll want to see at least one working example from somewhere else in the world (of which there isn't any).

No-one wants to buy a scientific demo that ends up being a lemon with the potential to alter the coastal landscape.

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blindboy commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 12:01pm

You might be surprised who opposes these kinds of developments. We had a preliminary proposal for a reef at the north end of Freshwater about 15 years ago and it was opposed, to their eternal shame, by Freshwater Boardriders on the basis that it would make the place more crowded!

Laurie McGinness

funpeeler's picture
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funpeeler commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 1:27pm

So I gather we are yet to see a successful artificial reef built anywhere in the world.. Big call.

What goes wrong? Do they wash away? Do they get silted up? Are they designed wrong in the first place?

I can imagine an AR at Bullies being a bit feral and unruly but surely it could not be rocket science to construct one in Encounter Bay that creates Mid sized waves for longboards and fish? Cheaper than a wavepool.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 1:37pm

Few reasons:

We don't fully understand what makes a good wave.
Good waves begin to take shape well offshore (bathymetry offshore is equally as important as where it breaks).
Shortage of funds to research and develop ARs.


 

Senworb's picture
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Senworb commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 2:06pm

Due to swell direction restrictions I couldn’t imagine the Encounter Bay / Pt Elliot side being ideal.
I believe there is potential for artificial reefs around victor but I would have gone the other side of Kings Head, numerous little bays and coves that offer potential.

If you were to extend Waits point another 100+ m the possibility of a true point break set up would be interesting, or a extend a semi submerged slab of concrete 100m out from the beach. I have seen a number of set ups where flat slabs of rock have solid waves running along them, Apollo Bay being an example.

On the Middleton side – something could be done to Frenchmans to make it more friendly, consistant and not so sketchy – or blow it out of the water completely to allow waves to wrap properly into the chicken run.

Bashams has the outer reef that only breaks on bigger swells that could be worked with
And then there is Suicides or the point which could also be extended a couple of hundred meters potentially allowing a long right point break. Although the build up of weed could become an issue.

But as thermal ben said we are yet to see an artificial reef that actually works.

The money would be better spent reducing the cost and time of getting to KI with a pick of breaks in differing winds or getting a ferry to run to Marion Bay.

funpeeler's picture
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funpeeler commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 2:15pm

Nice ideas Senworb.

Its hard to imagine the council and local residents coming at the idea of blowing Frenchams Rock out of the water...

If they did - I would like the contractors assigned the job to head over to Yorkes and blow that bl00dy suck rock at Salmon Hole out as well...

funpeeler's mate's picture
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funpeeler's mate commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 2:41pm

Quick search found this dude who's a "Reef Architect" http://www.surfingramps.com.au/welcome.html
Interesting reading.

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 3:04pm

funpeeler wrote: If they did - I would like the contractors assigned the job to head over to Yorkes and blow that bl00dy suck rock at Salmon Hole out as well...

Actually fergus-mcdingo recounted a classic story about this in an article from 2012 (he was the "National Parks and Wildlife, District Ranger based at Stenhouse Bay on the Bottom End of SYP from 1975 to around 1990":

"As for the salmon Hole suck rock an attempt was made in 1981 to vaporise it on an ultra low dodge tide using diesel soaked nitropril pellets and detcord. We managed to fracture and remove only some of the rock as its a solid little sucker made up of underlying granite. Another attempt using a bigger charge next day was vetoed due to the tide cycle, and that combined with a new swell saw an immediate loss of further interest."

https://www.swellnet.com/news/swellnet-dispatch/2012/01/03/yorke-peninsu...

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 3:06pm

funpeeler's mate wrote: Quick search found this dude who's a "Reef Architect" http://www.surfingramps.com.au/welcome.html Interesting reading.
Yeah, that's Andrew Pitt who I mentioned in my post above (re: sand slug).
udo's picture
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udo commented Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 at 3:20pm

beat me to it ben.....was just about to mention Fergus mcdingo.

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aidandavies commented Saturday, 27 Dec 2014 at 10:21pm

funpeeler's mate wrote: Quick search found this dude who's a "Reef Architect" http://www.surfingramps.com.au/welcome.html
Interesting reading.

Anyone know if this website is still up and running, doesn't seem to have any links on the welcome page.

Engineering student currently involved in research and modelling of artificial reefs
contact: [email protected]

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barley commented Sunday, 28 Dec 2014 at 12:00am

bugga

scrag's picture
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scrag commented Thursday, 4 Jun 2015 at 6:54am

I am on the NSW south coast and there are many "almost reef breaks" here too. One that would would be ideal is the Bellambi boat ramp at Wollongong. There are two nearly breaks in this bay that are offshore in southerleys. I did a little biology and marine geoscience at uni and am going to approach the University of Wollongong to discuss this with some marine engineers and ecologists. I don't think there will be much opposition and don't care if there is. I think reef contouring is a great idea and a great project for a PHD student. As far as spawn recruiitment and habitat change for marine organisms is concerned, there has been sand dune stabilisation, polution runoff, break walls and ocean jettys built, faster runoff due to roads and houses etc etc etc. I don't think there is any argument at all on the environmental side. The ocean is incredibly resilient and forever changing. 6000 years ago it was 60 metres lower and there was no great barrier reef for goodness sake.. Changes in wave energy
direction could be the most important for possible safety and erosion issues.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Thursday, 4 Jun 2015 at 1:30pm

scrag wrote: Changes in wave energy direction could be the most important for possible safety and erosion issues.

That is THE issue when it comes to artificial reefs. Downstream erosion caused by changes in wave energy and/or man made objects in the wave zone. Coastal real estate has risen dramatically in recent years and those that have stumped up the cash don't want experiments happening at their beach.

See the problem at Belongil for downstream erosion effects. This has been an expensive and ongoing problem for Byron Shire Council, one that other councils would very much like to avoid.

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Clivus Multrum commented Thursday, 4 Jun 2015 at 2:44pm

I query the above suggestion that we're yet to see an artificial reef that actually works. I know one that works in the right conditions.

Why not plonk one or six of them along Day Street?

udo's picture
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udo commented Thursday, 4 Jun 2015 at 2:49pm

Clivus where might that artificial reef be ?

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Clivus Multrum commented Thursday, 4 Jun 2015 at 3:26pm

You're a cheeky rascal, Udo. Always have been. No need to name names on this site. Its not the most consistent spot but it definitely works in the right conditions. In my experience, the shape/ construction of this particular reef doesn't appear to be the issue. Its the location. Hence the question, why not put one in a position that appears to cop plenty of swell?

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scrag commented Friday, 5 Jun 2015 at 10:33pm

stunet wrote:

scrag wrote: Changes in wave energy direction could be the most important for possible safety and erosion issues.

That is THE issue when it comes to artificial reefs. Downstream erosion caused by changes in wave energy and/or man made objects in the wave zone. Coastal real estate has risen dramatically in recent years and those that have stumped up the cash don't want experiments happening at their beach.

See the problem at Belongil for downstream erosion effects. This has been an expensive and ongoing problem for Byron Shire Council, one that other councils would very much like to avoid.

scrag's picture
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scrag commented Friday, 5 Jun 2015 at 10:46pm

Take your point stunet. The energy at Bellambi would be dispersed against hard reef down here, though and could even be guided back out to sea. Areas of big sand movement would be very difficult to predict.

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nat-old commented Friday, 26 Feb 2016 at 6:42pm

All good comments in this thread and great to see the passion and enthusiasm over the issue. Now is the best time to strike on this idea as the iron is hot politically. I attended the second anti tuna pen paddle out last weekend and the surfing community in SA has probably never demonstrated such solidarity over an issue. Kingo spoke well about the present but there are no real plans for options in the future when the tuna pen will disappear. What are the sustainable options for enhancing the SA south coast? The population of surfers continues to grow even despite some of the older and maybe not so older ones falling off the perch, but there are no new surf breaks being made. The surfing community needs to develop a vision and plan for the future and surfing artificial reefs at Victor need to be part of that vision. Otherwise eventually all surf breaks will be crowded to the point where the sport implodes. Look at what other groups have done for themselves, the mountain bikers got organized and got the Eagle on the Hill facility, the divers got organized and got a warship at Rapid Bay to dive on, and the fishos are just getting organized to put fishing artificial reefs over at Black Point on Yorke Peninsula. Even the shooters got organized and purchased properties in the outback and Flinders Ranges for hunting vermin and providing sanctuary for yellow foot rock wallabies. The greenies purchased Hiltaba station in the Gawler Ranges for conservation and the Cave Divers Association of Australia purchased Tank Cave at Mt Gambier for its members use. There are plenty of examples out there to follow - it just needs a catalyst and dedication by passionate people to want to make it happen. And its vital to have solidarity and a structured project management approach to have any chance of success in such a venture. So who out there us up for the challenge?

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steveb commented Friday, 25 Mar 2016 at 5:34pm

Old -nat...good idea, I'd like to see it happen, the difference between the bikers/divers/fishos/hunters projects and surf reefs is that their projects are technically fairly simple and quaranteed to work, a successful surf reef is yet to be built so it is a lot more difficult to get funding. That said, if someone has the funds, i'll accept the design challenge. I have looked into crowd funding for a reef but authorities regulations and conditions make it very costly even to get approval, and approval would be required before fundraising could occur.
Stu...re erosion ... it depends on the size of the reef, its distance offshore, and the local coastal processes, but in general, any downdrift erosion will be equal to the updrift accretion, so the solution is to add sand to the lee of the reef (sand nourishment sourced from outside the longshore drift system) equal to the expected accretion volume, then the downdrift erosion will be neutralised, although some re-alignment of the shoreline will also occur. The effects of reefs are positive if done right- check the proposed Gold Coast's Palm Beach Shoreline Project which includes a relatively large reef to protect the beach from erosion, see
http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/thegoldcoast/palm-beach-shoreline-projec.... I reckon smaller reefs only for surfing would have minor effects on longshore drift/sandy shorelines- site specific modelling would show if this is the case.

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Noel commented Saturday, 26 Mar 2016 at 2:43pm

steveb wrote: ..... I reckon smaller reefs only for surfing would have minor effects on longshore drift/sandy shorelines- site specific modelling would show if this is the case.

And I think this is an aspect of artificial reefs that could be explored further - that is trial reefs consisting of smaller structures and closer to shore. I fail to understand why large reefs were built so far from the beach at Mt Manganui and at Boscombe in the UK. Especially when the knowledge was still being learned by the industry pioneers.
Here in WA we also have an 'almost coast' particularly from Mandurah down to Stratham beach. This stretch of coast gets adequate swell exposure, is subject to the same northerly littoral sand drift, and any trial reef project would have learning outcomes applicable right up the coast as far as Geraldton. I suggest a relatively small reef structure, something no bigger than the surfing reef at Smiths Beach (not Supertubes, not yet anyway.. ), use geotextile bags, get a WA university involved, and promote the concept as a 'trial structure' that can be de-constructed if things go pear shaped.

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steveb commented Saturday, 26 Mar 2016 at 9:23pm

we can talk endlessly about all the great potential reef locations, and various reef design ideas, but its all to no avail unless funding is available to actually achieve something- does anyone have a solution to this? Perhaps there a surf industry angel investor, a local council Mayor who sees surf tourism as the future for their area, a large company that wants to provide facilities for a community etc etc...

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Romerio commented Tuesday, 26 Apr 2016 at 4:09pm

How much has building big brick houses along the top of the Cliffs at Knights impacted the sand there? ~15 years ago I used to ride Knights all the time, and it was very rare for there to be no sand on the beach... Now, it seems that having sand at the bottom of the Cliffs is the exception rather than the rule. The only difference I can see is the number of houses that have gone up.

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thermalben commented Tuesday, 26 Apr 2016 at 4:12pm

I can't imagine that the cliffs above Knights were ever a source of sand. You'd be better off looking further west along the Chiton/Gap/Bullies stretch. 

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Romerio commented Tuesday, 26 Apr 2016 at 4:35pm

I don't imagine they were a source either, But adding what is, in effect a 5 meter tall solid wall, along the cliff line would have to have some impact on the local winds.

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Gaz1799 commented Wednesday, 15 Feb 2017 at 2:31pm

Just noticed this ancient thread and thought I'd put my 2 cents worth in. The day street stretch seems the best culprit from my thinking, at least you can't really stuff it up. It's already fat & slow with a mongrel of a paddle. I cant even think of how many times I've been out the back at Middleton & looked up the coast wondering how it is that there is not one single piece of submerged structure anywhere except for forever moving sandbars.

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thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 11:54am

Just refreshing this thread.. I've now changed my mind on the best option at Victor for an artificial reef - and it's one of funpeeler's suggestions - remodelling the breakwater at Port Elliot (between Freeman Lookout and Pullen Island).

There's already a semi-rideable wave there on big swells, and with the breakwall already established it wouldn't pose any major environmental concerns to augment the coastline in favour of a proper surfing wave. Essentially, we'd just need to fill in the deepwater between the end of the point and the breakwall, and then allow the wave to curve back into the middle of the bay (rather than slamming into the Sisters). Kinda like Terrigal Haven.

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Halfscousehalfc... commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 3:24pm

The haven was working pretty good today actually.... you’d have use a lot of rocks to mimick the haven.. the breaks caused by rocks from the headland falling into the sea, it’s very deep at the end and shoulder of the wave but very shallow on the 2 ledgey take off spots hence why it rarely if ever closes out and wraps back into terrigal itself
They should build an artificial reef at terrigal beach at the rock pool cause when terrigal has sand it can actually be a decent wave, rare but

The Fire's picture
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The Fire commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 7:16pm

We will never have a wsl event at victor harbour - thermalben.

Wow dude way to kill my hopes and dreams.

Give me 10-20mil and i would love to prove you wrong.

Nothings impossible, why aim so low?

Im reffering to my post in another thread about boomers being a good locale.

Would be easier to do than you'd think given current technological advancement.

Maybe get china onboard to help with finance and cheap 457 workers lol.

maaaan

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thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:21pm

The Boomer stretch could be Ok, but there are better locations that have complementary geographical features such as headlands that would assist in improving wave quality (Boomer is exposed to predominant winter westerlies and summer sou’easterlies).

thermalben's picture
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thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:22pm

BTW if you came into $10-20 million I sincerely hope you’d do something more rewarding than run a surfing competition.

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The Fire commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:37pm

Agreed on winter westerlies and summer se 'ers.

But what about those september/october swells that are macking with northerlies and everyone flocks to that stretch.

Use your imagination.

It would only be constructed with those swells in mind. And thats why it would need to be A+ design in order to get a wsl event onboard.

Its the only way it would happen.

As an investment opportunity for big business. Nothing to do with the everyday surfer having 'another option' when the swell is up.

Victor is litered with possible locations.

Thats just where i would do it if i were the tony stark/elon musk of surfing. ie money no object.

Alas the bureaucracy of it all is the major hurdle.

maaaan

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thermalben commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 8:50pm

Bureaucracy is not the problem. Money is the limiting factor, and there’s no point building an artificial reef for perhaps a dozen days every year where it’s really big and northerly.

Wanna convince someone to pony up twenty mil for a surf reef? Then they’re going to want to see quality surf action for at least two hundred days of the year minimum. 

Otherwise, give Kelly a call and license his wave pool technology. It’ll cost only a little more, and you’ll be able to ride waves 24/7. And you’ll be be able to charge for it too, and recoup the investment.

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The Fire commented Monday, 9 Jul 2018 at 9:10pm

Okay i will, whats his number?

Nah but i wouldnt expect 1 person to finance it. Like i said earlier, a chinese consortium.

And it would be surfable from ene to wnw which is nearly half the wind direction spectrum. Add to that the way you shape the below sea curve making it handle medium to large swells you would get lots of use outside of the optimum conditions.

Get onboard now!!

maaaan