The Happenstance of Man-Made Waves
With all the discussion taking place recently on Swellnet and other sites regarding artificial waves, I think the most perplexing question is this:
With all the high-quality, heavily-surfed waves that have been created accidentally by coastal engineering projects with no input from surfers, and in fact nothing to do with surfing at all, how is it that the projects that have been initiated to create waves with surfing in mind have all been unsuccessful, despite considerable funding and the efforts of well-educated and intended professionals?
After all, we live in an age of science. Science has triumphed over tribalism, ignorance, tradition, religion, and politics to the point where there is supposedly more computational power in your mobile phone than in all the computers used to design the rockets and components for the Apollo space programme put together. Pretty much every location on Earth is available for viewing in high resolution satellite imagery on Google Earth via a decent internet connection and a pandemic situation has been mitigated by a safe and effective vaccine for a previously unknown coronavirus, saving million of lives - a vaccine developed, manufactured and distributed worldwide in a matter of months.
Science has mastered the fiendishly complicated practical and mathematical task of placing a nuclear or conventional warhead atop a ballistic missile and launching it on a calibrated arc of thousands of kilometres, to explode precisely over the intended target within a one metre radius. One would think the science would be there to make a functional surfing wave to leverage the available swell and wind at hundreds, if not thousands, of waveless locations worldwide, opening a plethora of new surfing waves to a multitude of hungry surfers, currently squeezed uncomfortably into a small number of natural and man-made locations.
When I say “man-made waves” I am referring to the waves created by coastal engineering works that had no input from surfers and no intention of creating surfable waves at all.
There are many of these locations, in fact I would speculate a significant minority of us surf at man-made surfing locations every day of our surfing lives, many without even being aware the waves they are riding are man-made.
Some of the most popular waves worldwide are artificial, from the ultra-consistent sandbar peaks of the Huntington Beach Pier in southern California, where the pier pilings interrupt the sand movement of the littoral drift on the north and south sides, the long and hollow lefts of Ala Moana on the south shore of O’ahu, created by the dredging of the deep-water channel for the Ala Wai yacht harbour, to the heavily surfed peaks of Duranbah on the QLD/NSW border, where the breakwalls constructed to keep the Tweed River open to the sea for the fishing fleet refract swell and produce consistent, wedging peaks much appreciated by the Gold Coast surfing community.
I even heard a story from an old fellow in Katiet Village who spoke very good English, that Lance's Right is in fact an artificial wave. The straight-sided channel to the keyhole anchorage was supposedly dynamited by the Japanese Imperial Army in WWII, to bring their troop carriers up to the sand beach with men and supplies for their base at Katiet.
None of the projects that produced waves at these famous and heavily-surfed locations (and many others) had any input from or consideration for surfers. The fact they produced high-quality surfing waves is a fluke and a coincidence.
So, what has been achieved in the deliberate attempt to modify and engineer coastlines to produce surfable waves?
Not much at all.
A few attempts in California, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, and India have produced surfable waves, initially, but the materials and techniques used have proven to be completely inadequate to the task of simulating an artificial reef and have broken up and dispersed relatively quickly with the overall impression almost nothing has been accomplished.
Few surfers worldwide currently ride ocean waves deliberately engineered for surfing purposes. A notable exception being the recently constructed Palm Beach Reef on the Gold Coast.
Considering the number of surfers worldwide in 2021 is estimated as high as 40 million and the number of high-quality waves being heavily utilised by surfers that were created by coastal engineer projects implemented without any input from surfers or consideration for surfing whatsoever, that is an astonishing fact.
“What about wave pools?” you ask. “Aren‘t those considered to be artificial waves?” Yes they are, but they are not coastal engineering projects, they are completely separate from the ocean, a controlled environment where everything is manufactured. While wind can have an effect on the waves in a pool if the location is uncovered, swell and tide definitely do not, so they are a separate category of surfing waves from anything happening in the oceans and seas of the world.
In my opinion, wave pools are something of a false dawn, a kind of amusing diversion from the real business of coastal engineering to produce surfable waves and in most cases; doomed to fail over the long term for several reasons.
One is their enormous cost, both to secure the property near a population centre and to construct the facility, ensuring almost every wave pool facility worldwide is operating under a burden of debt that needs to be serviced with a constant inflow of cash. The second is their enormous demand for energy to make artificial waves, which is a variable and expense the operators cannot control and is in direct contrast to ocean waves, which are naturally occurring and cost nothing. In a pool, you don’t surf if you can’t pay the electricity bill. Not a factor in the ocean.
Here is an image of the now demolished SeaGaia OceanDome wave pool in Miyazaki, Japan, a facility that for many years was considered to be the best artificial surfing pool in the world. Yes, now demolished as it proved in the long run to be too expensive to operate and maintain to make any significant profit and continue as a going concern.
Such will be the fate of many of the wave pools currently in use or under construction worldwide. Wave pools are expensive, both to construct and to maintain, with a constant inflow of cash very much a necessity for their economic viability.
There won’t be many, probably less than 10% of the current number, but the wave pools that will be successful in the long term will be the facilities that can upgrade and modify their output of waves with either software or hardware, to present a variety of experiences to the paying customer, representing greater value for money spent and an incentive for return visits.
Waves produced by coastal engineering on the other hand, have enormous potential, a potential currently being explored by a new project at Qamea Island in North Fiji, the World Wave Project.
This project has been discussed at length on Swellnet previously, with the overwhelming majority of comments being negative. “Stupid” is one frequently repeated comment, along with “leave the reefs alone” and “the locals don’t want it”. Everyone is entitled to have an opinion, and while many people view any modification of a coral reef as a blasphemous action analogous to burning a Christian bible or Muslim koran, others look at the current situation of swell, wind and tide in this area of Fiji and other (many other) areas and ask, “Why not?”
Certainly, if many of the world’s best waves are a complete fluke, the result of coastal engineering projects that had nothing whatsoever to do with surfing - no input from surfers and no intention of producing surfable waves - and if a world surfing population of as many as 40 million surfers are now squeezed into a small number of quality waves worldwide, ocean engineered surfing waves that advantage the abundant free resources of swell, wind, and tides are only a matter of time?
No-one has done it with any degree of lasting success, yet. But someone will. It is inevitable that with the right application of funding and science, the contouring of existing coral reefs or other bathymetric features to produce high-quality surfing waves can be done successfully.
Then surfers worldwide will ask planitively: “These are the best waves I have ever seen - why the fuck didn’t someone do this before? Yeeewwwwww!"
// JOHN SEATON CALLAHAN
An incomplete list of man-made waves around the world:
Huntington Beach, California - Pier pilings disrupt longshore drift, creating sandbars on the north and south side of the pier.
Duranbah, Queensland - Breakwalls and tidal delta causes refraction, producing consistent, hollow peaks.
Ala Moana, Hawaii - Long, deep channel in the coral reef, created for the Ala Wai yacht harbour produces hollow lefts..
Newport Beach, California - Rock groynes installed in the '70s to protect beachfront property created sandbars on each side.
Newport Beach, California - In a south swell the north side of the rock wall to Newport Harbour amplifies swell lines to form The Wedge.
Sebastian Inlet, Florida - Wave refraction from a rock jetty produces some of the best sandbar peaks on the US East Coast.
Sandspit, Santa Barbara, California - Hollow sandbar wave, formed by sand flow around the yacht harbour.
New Pier, Durban South Africa - Closely-spaced pier pilings disrupt the sand flow, producing hollow, high quality waves.
Kaifu, Shikoku, Japan - A long jetty constructed at the mouth of the Kaifu River produces a right sandbar wave, one of the best waves in Japan.
Sendai Shinko, Sendai Japan - A harbour groyne blocks the flow of sand, producing a hollow sandbar wave, one of the best beach breaks in Japan.
South Stradbroke Island, Queensland - The construction of the Gold Coast Seaway produced one of the best beach breaks in Australia.
Kirra, Queensland - The Tweed River training walls interupted northerly sand flow creating one of the world's great barrels - esp. 1974-2000
The Superbank, Queensland - In 2000 a system was built so sand could bypass the Tweed River, very quickly linking the Coolangatta Bay waves.
Iluka, NSW - I've said enough already
North and South Wall Ballina, NSW - The Richmond River breakwalls created stable banks, tidal delta refraction, and wind protection too.
Port Macquarie, NSW - As above.
Tuncurry, NSW - As above.
Moruya, NSW - As above
Dear John. Do you stand to benefit financially from said project? If so, there's a chance your argument is sullied by self interest.
Too many reasons to list, and plenty already discussed, for the astoundingly inept Qamea projects.
I have no financial involvement or incentive whatsoever in the WWP project in Fiji nor in any other ocean engineering project anywhere else.
But the concept does have enormous potential.
So...no 'trickle down' effect?
"The surfEXPLORE® Group have been thinking along these lines for many years".
After viewing literally thousands of potential setups in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas on more than 40 completed projects with The surfEXPLORE® Group, we have found some very good waves.
We have also seen many setups that were not quite there - too much reef, not enough reef, channel too narrow, no channel when needed, you name it and it exists to mess up what could be a perfect surfing wave.
I'm talking primarily about the 18 000 islands of both Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean Indonesia, the 7 107 islands of The Philippines, both on the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean and the many reef-ringed islands of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands chain in the Indian Ocean.
If one can look at all these slightly flawed setups from the beach or the deck of a local boat and NOT be thinking how they could be improved into high-quality surfing waves, then you are not doing it right and really should quit looking for waves and get a corporate job.
Kind of weird to assume your way is the only way to explore surfing, telling someone to "go get a corporate job" just because they might have a different philosophy to yourself. Why bother writing an article if you aren't interested in other points of view? Surely to think that readers might be interested in what you have to say, you would be equally interested in what the reader has to say themself.
Perhaps what you see as flaws, others might find to be exciting?
Personally I couldn't give a crap about surfing a perfect wave. Give me a challenging drop, a step or kink as the wave hits a variation in the bottom, chandeliers, close outs, or a grower of a section that could knock me out over that any day. The exhilaration of riding a challenging wave well is worth more to some than the monotony of perfection.
There is only one Pipe, Cloudbreak, J Bay, Tombies, etc etc etc. that's what makes them special.
Interesting article though! Lot's of things to ponder in there.
I have this gut feeling that the next article is going to be about why buying a time-share condo on a certain smallish Fijian island is good for the climate and benefits all surfers.
Gotta wonder how this stuff makes it onto Swellnet, considering we see regular Fight for the Bight, PEP11 rallying articles. An article like this, written by someone like John, is similar to running an opinion piece by the CEO of Equinor who tells us that all the deep sea wells have unintentionally saved Driller Dave's marriage and paid for 3 generations of his families tertiary education, whilst not disclosing that he wants to drill another well in our backyard. It stinks of something so bad I had to check the bottom of my shoe.
Articles like yours, John, should really make better attempts at full disclosure. It would have been prudent to mention that one of the guys (Shaw Mead) in the WWP organisation is one of the pair of guys behind ASR, who were responsible for a large number of the "deliberate attempt(s) to modify and engineer coastlines to produce surfable waves". Deliberate attempts that failed as you said.
Having actually surfed the ASR project in Mt Maunganui as a grom, I can only hope that those dickheads learned a thing or two since then, as it was complete dogshit and cost the council and community millions of dollars to install and subsequently remove when ASR buggered off somewhere else. Will the same thing happen to Qamea if you fail there?
I sincerely hope WWP do not get consent to do what they are planning to do.
The articles on the Newsroom website about Dr Shaw Mead are defamatory and factually incorrect.
Shaw gave Reid plenty of evidence disputing the claims of Prevost but she declined to publish it, nor did she interview the independent Marine biologist surveying the proposed site.
Nor did she mention the great - extensive work Shaw has done with surf break conservationists like myself saving natural surf breaks from constructions and dredging operations, where he has given his time and expertise virtually for free. eCoast Ltd are the only Coastal scientists in New Zealand to do so.
Shaw Mead has crucially saved about twenty or so surf breaks some Nationally significant like Mangamaunu, Murderers and Aramoana. Shaw continues to provide advice a project to extend a boat ramp at the World class surf break Raglan. He has just stepped in this week giving advice (again for free) regarding proposed sand dredging in 5 meters of water next to three regional surf breaks at Pakiri, Auckland.
time and time again we have have gone up against MetOceans Ltd for the developers who consistently fail to provide their clients with proper surf break impact assessments, MetOceans Ltd have the ability to provide that expertise but take the money instead.
It makes me wonder who is behind this smear campaign?
Interesting that you mention Shaw's involvement in saving waves around NZ. Waves that were under threat from developers.
I imagine in all those examples you'd consider Shaw and yourself the good guys, and the developers the bad guys.
Now consider Qamea: An overseas developer is hoping to alter the shoreline using untested technology, and with a very public track record of failure, all to prop up his nearby resort. His proposal is met with resistance from locals.
Who here are the good guys, Michael?
What untested technology? what public record of failure? all I see is defamatory remarks.
What a joke crucifying Shaw for attempting to make artificial surf breaks with sand bags that will not be permanent structures in the CMA unless well maintained. Meanwhile everyone goes away and has a moan when there favorite surf break is under threat from a new Marina or whatever. Who are you going to call then? MetOceans Ltd?
"What untested technology?"
Crackling compound used to break coral reefs and additive materials to augment them into surfable waves. If it's been done before then please list them below.
"what public record of failure?"
There are a thousand documents about them on the 'net. Interestingly, many were written as the projects were part-finished with ASR claiming success, but when they did finish, and failed, ASR were very quick to disown them, blaming everyone else but themselves.
I understand Shaw has a record of helping good causes in NZ, but that doesn't give someone carte blanche to stomp over the environment elsewhere.
I gotta say michael.gunson, the odd similarity in naming convention between you and john.callahan on this site, combined with the extremely defensive nature of both of your replies, has me wondering about the genuine nature of this conversation.
Just because Mr Mead has done some free consulting doesn't mean the other things he is involving himself in are above critique. In fact, when something is done for "free" but then held up as justifiable defense for something else, it sort of undoes any notion that it was done for "free" at all.
Are you in fact Mr Mead, or speaking on his behalf?
You say the article was defamatory and incorrect. It is the job of the journalist to determine what information is worth printing at the end of the day. From what I read, the journalist seemed to have considered the evidence of both sides, and run with the information they did when certain things seemed to infer that the info coming from WWP was actually misleading (eg. the coordinates of the proposed reef desecration having much healthier reef on them than WWP had represented).
And what fucking smear campaign are you on about? You have over a hundred comments on this article from long time users of this page, with varying opinions ranging from "can't wait" to "fuck off". If anything seems to be a campaign it's the way John wrote this article seemingly as a promotional sales pitch thinly veiled as a thought exercise, and then people such as yourself have come to his rescue from within the very organisation he was spruiking. Projecting much?
An interesting hypothesis, Cylinders. Very interesting.
Looking forward to the response, Mr Callaghan et al.
I am not Michael Gunson - I have no idea who this person may be.
I post under my own legal name of John Seaton Callahan, I don't use trolls or pseudonyms.
Go ahead - Google me.
I am not Dr Shaw Mead either and not deputised nor authorised to comment on his behalf about anything - I'm sure Dr Mead can speak for himself if and when he chooses to do so.
Am.. I... Michael... Gunson... PLEASE! I don't need an identity crisis at my age!
I mean, what sort of nasty person would go around plonking sand bags on the sea floor trying to create surfable waves! What's more, what sort of devilish person would give huge amounts of his free time to save a dozen or more naturally occurring surf breaks in his spare time? I mean, why would a highly qualified Coastal morphologist who surfs, go out of his way to give his observations to a lowly cretin like [email protected] who had this stupid desire to protect New Zealand surf breaks? Oh sorry, I did not mean to blow my own trumpet. try www.surfbreak.org.nz or just email me, I will even send you a photo to prove it is not some nasty surf scientist based in Raglan.
The real shocker here is that Shaw Mead is the only surf scientist to put all the science on the table when projects are put forward that have the potential to harm surf breaks. While corporates who have been attempting to wreck our surf breaks with dumping of dredge spoil, offshore sand extraction, marina developments, airport extensions, or whatever will get on the phone to Metoceans Ltd. to chuck some hindcast swell data into the Assessment of Environmental Effects and hope the local surfers will just go away. However, if you want a shiny new marina or dump a shit load of dredge spoil in the surf corridors of nationally significant surf breaks, have a word with Metoceans Ltd, or perhaps Tom Shand, for some reason he can't think how dredging 36,000 cubic meters of sand from an a newly built access channel at the Whangamata marina could harm that Nationally significant surf break, despite the parallel's with Mundaka. That must be worth a few mortgage repayments! Lets kick the only scientist willing to help New Zealand Surfers protect surf breaks during a period of massive population growth and added development around our coastline.
I don't hide behind an anonymous name .cylinders, my name is Michael Gunson, What is yours?
I'm not hiding by using this name for the past 5+ years on this site dude, nearly everyone on this site is using an avatar and pseudonym. I don't owe you my name and my privacy is my right, that I choose to maintain that does not make my perspective less salient. The way that you argue reminds me of being 15 years old out the back of the gymnasium.
You continue to miss my point. I am not saying that any of you have never done a commendable thing, I'm not saying that you or Mead or anyone else shouldn't continue to do those commendable things. I am saying that I think from my past experience and observation of a company Mead ran, and the circumstances specific to Qamea, that I think what you guys are doing there (specifically there) is wrong.
We seem to share many values regarding protecting what is important. While we disagree specifically on the issues at Qamea, the gulf between our viewpoints seems to be widened by your inability to process opposition. I'm not going to lick your balls and tell you you're amazing when I don't think you are. You don't need me to agree with you to achieve your aims. However, if the topic is going to be brought up amongst the community (swellnet being populated by surfers) and subsequently you are going to wade into this debate while making attempts to belittle the opinions of others, well then absolutely you should not expect me to respect you.
Feel free to think what you want, however I simply consider this a thought piece. It's not advocating for anything.
A few years ago I wrote an article on the creation of Southport Bar and the subsequent creation of South Straddie as a surf spot. In the process I spoke to a few of the engineers and academics involved, asking each of them about the surfing amenity. I was dumbfounded to find out that not one of them gave a moment's thought to surfing.
Yet as we know, it's now one of Australia's great waves.
Same goes Kirra, Duranbah, and many (all?) of the east coast breakwalls - not a single thought given to surfing, and yet they all pump.
I find it fascinating that all these accidents are surfing successes, but when, in the comments of the WWP article, John extended the idea to also wonder why the opposite has happened: our deliberate efforts are failures, I asked him to pen a piece.
So when are you removing narrowneck reef as a thing from the swellnet cam list?
NN Reef is an MPR with the primary function of creating a salient between the Nerang River and the sea.
I mean no reef exists in that location as any north end surfer knows. I've lived down the road for about twenty years.
To put a stop on the pedantry, it's also to distinguish it from the wide angle, fixed 'Narrowneck' cam.
I figured 'reef' was as good a moniker as any, because - if nothing else - love it or hate it, it's called Narrowneck Reef by the GCCC.
And 'Narrowneck zoom' doesn't have the same zing. Y'know, to get our clickbait revenue up.
Fair enough. The GCCC and this Shaw Mead originally told us we would have a right and left point break too in the promotion material. Long since removed from the internet of course
To be fair, Narrowneck was primarily designed for shoreline stabilisation. Promises may have been made regarding its surf potential, but it was a secondary product.
That being said, the internet has a long history, it's almost impossible to erase information. So, if claims were made in a publication then it's fair to say it'll be somewhere (ever thought of looking through the GCCC minutes? You'd be surprised what turns up...)
Do i need to dreg the council minutes? If Shaw Mead wants to some on here and dispute him making a living from fleecing tax payers dollars from local councils for failed projects around the world I am up for it.
Same day we remove Middleton Point.
Not sure what you are on about - I don't have any financial or equity stake in the WWP project, nor do I have any official involvement in any other artificial wave project anywhere else -
There is no corporate conspiracy to push any agenda - only the perplexing question of why so many coastal engineering projects that had zero input from surfers and no intention to produce quality waves have successfully done so while the projects that were supposed to make waves, haven't.
At least not yet.
Shaw mead has probably protected more natural surf breaks than you have ridden
That's awesome, I am glad he has spent some of his time, money and knowledge making up for the mistake he made on my home beach. Surely if I have not surfed many breaks, then that lessens my ability to have a valid opinion. Fuck off ya clown.
Does it piss me off to hear he was able to buy a resort in Fiji after his company bailed on a project they didn't even complete that the community ended up paying to remove? Sure does. Do I think the assertion that the Mt Maunganui reef failure was due to "lack of maintenance" is a fair and representative statement? No, in fact it is an outright lie, as construction of the reef was never even finished, let alone constructed in an suitable location. Does it bother me that he continued to make the same mistakes elsewhere around the world, fleecing communities and avoiding any subsequent responsibility to the environments he helped negatively impact? Yep. Does it cause concern to hear that his company is trying to pay local communities to give up their fishing rights so that they might take another stab at artificial surfing reef creation? You bet it does.
I have to make an assessment of Mead and his business partners based off of their past actions and an interpretation of their objectives. The fact that he and others own the resorts right next to the proposed "light sculpting" of reef, indicates to me that the man is still happy to gamble with things that other people value highly, like he did with the beach I enjoyed as a young man. So, all things considered, I think my mistrust of Mead and his colleagues is well founded. I would be surprised if the reef in Qamea worked, and even more surprised if it failed and Mead made sure that the impact on the community there was compensated for and the reef returned to its natural state. It seems to me that Mead and co are quite happy to project their visions onto various communities in pursuit of financial success, and they are happy to justify themselves in that pursuit by imposing their own values on to the people they are affecting most. Maybe the Fijians don't want your money? Maybe they don't want more surfers? Maybe they don't want billionaires and millionaires owning the land that used to be theirs?
You know nothing of my own involvement in protecting the environments I enjoy, and I do not hold them up as justification for the opinion that I hold, because I know that doing so only serves to cheapen my argument.
This is just that, my opinion, so don't get ahead of yourself and accuse me of being a part of a organised defamatory campaign or whatever other victimised nonsense you come up with.
Bravo, well said.
"Fuck of ya clown?" What's the matter losing the argument so you now have no other option than attack the messenger?
As for Mount Maunganui, read this:
"The NZCPS also provides general protection for surf breaks as part of the natural character and as natural features of the coastal environment.
The SPS was approached by Bay of Plenty surfers concerned about degraded surfing conditions at the Mount and Papamoa over the last year or so, says Michael.
“It’s because of these concerns the SPS approached regional council and the port company over monitoring the surf breaks, including Matakana Island, regarding the effects of port dredging.
“At the Mount, what has been observed by local surfers is channels forming close to the beach and the disappearance of localised sandbars, with peaks forming out to sea then fading or losing steepness and the waves dumping on the shore.”
The uncompleted and now removed Tay Street artificial reef was blamed for causing strong rips and currents over the last few years, says Michael.
Yet the dredging dump sites between Grove Avenue and Tay Street receive up to 300,000 cubic meters per year from port maintenance dredging.....
The uncompleted artificial reef contained half of the 6500 cubic meters originally consented for, yet the area’s surf lifesaving clubs continue to report a 100 per cent increase in rescues."
Oh, I wonder who that guy pretending to be Michael Gunson is.............? Around that time, I had several meetings with a dozen or more long time local surfers (mostly over 60) including Peter Morse(you may have heard of him)?
Here is a revelation for you, Dr Shaw Mead does not make his money solely from artificial surf reefs. his
key qualifications include:
• PhD in Coastal Oceanography & Numerical Modelling, University of Waikato, New Zealand (1996-2000)
• MSc (Hons) in Environmental Science & Marine Ecology/Aquaculture, University of Auckland,
New Zealand (1994-96)
• BSc in Marine Biology & Botany, University of Auckland, New Zealand (1991-93)
So his skills are actually in high demand. Like most scientists or professionals at the top of his game his hourly rate is probably closer to the what you earn in a week. ( envious yet?). despite this, he gives his time for free to surfers here in NZ that have faced real threats to their surf breaks like;
Scientists Dr Mead, Ed Aitkin, and policy advisor Shane Orchard saved this one,
https://www.orc.govt.nz/media/3226/submission-evidence-of-surfbreak-prot... (Dr. Mead mediated with Port Otago for a successful win - win compromise that avoided adverse effects on two nationally significant surf breaks), and;
(Although Shaw has provided technical advice over the years the Council remains hostile toward protecting this famous surf break).
I could go on sonny, but children (grommets) like you who disrespect your elders probably just need a good spanking, rather than a talking to.
I agree with you John, I grew up on Wellington NZ coast at the end of a string of bays with points that almost work. we all grew up thinking what if you just added one boulder in that hole and two boulders in another? Although if anyone that surfs and lacks that imagination, I am not sure how suited they would be to a corporate job....
The same con man behind all the failed artificial reefs is a significant share holder in this new 'wave' company. Monorail anyone?
Probably worth you reading this:
From seven weeks ago.
I think most Gold Coast surfers would argue that Kirra was better before they started messing with it.
What years are you talking? Kirra has been messed with since 1962 when the training walls went in, however I don't think you'd get much dispute that the glory years were from '74 - after Big Groyne went in - till it was swamped by sand around 2000.
I agree with stu, Kirra, no Cooly full stop has been better due to man made influence.....
apart from the odd off year from to much sand.... lets not "leave Kirra alone" lets keep pumping sand, and keep it cranking please...
Exactly! Anyone making ill informed comments to the contrary is a goose.
My brother and I and a few other friends started surfing Greenmount in 1970 and, courtesy of Peter "Mont" Bryant we were encouraged to surf Kirra around 73.
We're still surfing it now!
Unfortunately Kirra was at its best in an eroded state (due to the Tweed River mouth training walls starving the Coolangatta bay of sand) and, due to the TRESBP it will never be so eroded again.
Good news is that, this year, it showed signs of returning to its phenomenal glory!
Just to be clear, I'm concurring with Stunet's comment as well as Plastic Bertrand.
Stu, do your records give any indication of what Kirra etc were like before the training walls were constructed? I'm always curious that there's talk of what happened post-construction, which coincides with the early growth of surfing and assertions made about how good it was once the sand was lost, but I wonder whether it might not have been pretty good in the years prior to surfing. Surely the sediment system would have had some form of equilibrium with decent waves, though I cannot see too many people being too interested in it prior to about 1950.
The TRESBP has a great archive of historical aerial shots, which appear to indicate (the timeline is random so hard to be sure) that the bank was far less stable pre-training walls. Sometimes it's formed into one long bank from Snapper on down, and at other times riddled with big holes, the like of which we never see with the constant pumping of the Bypass Project. Sometimes it's an offshore storm bar with a gutter on the inside, other times sitting closer to the rocks.
The only other indicator is a 'Surfabout' I have at home dated pre-training walls. In a six photo spread of Kirra, four of the photos are lefts.
All things considered, I strongly err towards post-'74 as the glory years.
Righto, thanks. I'd expect there to be far more fluctuation in sediment supply and behaviour with a meandering estuary mouth and associated offshore bars. Must have been an amazing place to be without all the development and the butchering of the river system.
Nothing has been done because no one can make money directly from it.
Who pays for the artificial reef to be put in and how will they make a return on that investment?
Charge people to surf it?
Anticipate an increase in tourism and business for the local community?
Perhaps because the developed world needs to move towards the Fijian system of lower impact environmental symbiosis as opposed to imposing the unsustainable developed nation model of environmental ruin onto the Fijians.
I think you’ve misread the zeitgeist, John. Destroying a pristine reef which people require for their subsistence lifestyle so fabulous and rich foreigners can play splash splash is throwback thinking which would have been at home amongst the shoulder pads of the 80’s.
I’m not opposed to the spirit of artificial reefs or enhanced bathymetry but only if the project is sympathetic to the environment.
Ripping the fuck out of a pristine coral reef is not sympathetic to the local environment.
Actually; old mate, this project to contour the reefs around Qamea Island and produce surfable waves where today there are none interprets the zeitgeist perfectly.
What is distinctly off-key in 2021 are wave pools, with their enormous land costs, enormous energy costs and aura of gatekeeper exclusivity in that you don't surf unless you can pay up front or get the "bro deal" from the operators.
Nothing wrong with that, it's basic business to charge a fee to use a facility, but it is exclusive.
This reef configuration initiative is completely the opposite. No gatekeeper, no enormous energy costs, no massive debt from acquiring control of the land via lease or purchase.
Obviously, no one is talking about "ripping the fuck out of a pristine coral reef", that is not how to create rideable waves over an existing coral reef. Anyone with any surfing knowledge and relevant experience knows that.
Subtle contouring, yes - wholesale destruction of the living coral reef, no.
Con man shill
Are you sure your not Anthony from Kandui? Pretty obvious what's going on here. Try and create surf and Anthony builds a resort out front. No mention of the fact that it blows onshore most of the year? This article stinks worse than rotting fish
Look , I was wrong and I’m man enough to admit it. Your post changed my mind. I was wrong when I said that you’re mindset was a throwback from the 1980’s. It’s obvious now that your ideology would be more at home in the 1880’s.
Not unlike the first textile factories of the industrial revolution who thought that expunging the toxic by products of their processes into the rivers and waterways was a cost-free exercise in smart business management, you now suggest the idea that denuding a coral reef ecosystem upon which subsistence fishermen depend on for their existence is an exercise in cost- free business.
The age old practice of ignoring externalities which do not cost the business anything, despite costing the community and environment plenty, is anything but a revolutionary step in corporate bastardry.
You said as much :
“This reef configuration initiative is completely the opposite. No gatekeeper, no enormous energy costs, no massive debt from acquiring control of the land via lease or purchase.“
You’re actually gloating about the benefits of not having to stump up for the priceless natural ecosystem you’d destroy for a potential profit. This is a stomach turning display of the thinking which has seen the world destroyed for private profit. As said before, it’s the oceanic equivalent of dumping asbestos in bush land and then bragging that your business model is genius because you don’t have to pay tip fees.
How’d you like if I came around to your home and started emptying truckloads of toxic sludge on your lawn as part of my business model? You get the shit and I get the profit…..sound good?
But…it’s awesome because I get the government to override your personal complaints that you don’t want faeces flowing into your house by claiming that it’ll make hundreds of heavy-shitting people per day happy to be able to truck their nuggets to your place and I won’t have to pay a ‘gatekeeper” or suffer the risk of going into debt to find somewhere to dump the shit because I’m dumping it at your place for free.
And yeah, we are talking about ripping the fuck out of a pristine coral reef. It appears you DO NOT have the surfing knowledge and relevant experience to understand this. In fact….don’t you have a degree in appliqué or something similar? Not sure if that qualifies you to comment on sub sea excavation and engineering? Dare I say it does not.
As for your surfing experience….I’ve never seen a photo of yourself surfing. Do you even surf ?
"You’re actually gloating about the benefits of not having to stump up for the priceless natural ecosystem you’d destroy for a potential profit. This is a stomach-turning display of the thinking which has seen the world destroyed for private profit"
Ummmm - have you been reading "Das Kapital"? You might be a communist : )
I have plenty of surfing credentials, mate - you can start your reading here:
Do you have a listing as well?
I don’t subscribe ( anymore) . Perhaps you could fill me in?
All I saw was photos of other people. Paul Sargeant probably has an entry in the Encyclopaedia of surfing too and I wouldn’t be hanging on his surfing exploits.
BTW….going places to expose waves which other people keep quiet isn’t the same as surfing. Stamps in a passport are common and easily obtained.
Hey….I wouldn’t care if you hadn’t been wielding your surfing and oceanic engineering credentials like a 12 inch dick.
Let’s see some evidence.
Here you go - and since you raised the topic of endowment, not moi I did once have a spirited argument with a girlfriend when she started walking away, then suddenly rounded on me and screamed:
"You're just a skinny white guy with a big dick who's obsessed with sex!"
I paused to consider this statement and replied "Is that bad?"
Secret spots other people keep quiet? Here we go again with the Great Myth of the Lone Aussie feral surfer, out there on the frontier for months, living on coconuts and sand, surfing perfect waves and returning to Oz never saying a single word to anyone for the rest of their lives.
Sorry, but as someone who HAS been out there on the frontier for months at a time, looking for waves in remote and dangerous places - it isn't true. The number of hard men ferals we have actual met on surfEXPLORE projects is perhaps three? Maybe two? In more than 20 years.
This legendary feral surfer largely doesn't exist - surfing is hard, the road is long and most people go where it is comfortable and convenient - full stop.
There are a lot more people surfing in Bali than in Maluku Utara or Aceh, and there always will be.
You question my integrity?
Here's 6 000 pages and 120+ cover images of verified published editorial integrity, mate.
Over the past 25 odd years, I have made a positive contribution to the surfing experience of hundreds of thousands of surfers worldwide with my published images and text materials.for hundreds of books, magazines and websites.
Tell us, please - what contribution have you made - in your ENTIRE surfing life - other than whinging and moaning incessantly about forces you don't control effecting changes you don't like?.
My advice is to quit surfing now, because circumstances are not going in your favour - you will only become more desperate and miserable than you already are.
Thank You and Best Regards -
I ask for proof that you’re a surfer and you send me more corporate spam? What’s this shit about contributing to surfing? That’s not what being a surfer means. Being a surfer means riding waves. Not taking photos of it and spamming the internet with them. You sound like you should be next in line for the Waterman of the year award as soon as that other “contributor to surfing” Dirk Ziff is ready to abdicate his throne.
6000 images and not one of you in a gaping stand up pit?
You know what’s weird ? Out of all the hardcore surfing ferals I know who actually ride the waves they chase down, they’ve never come across your dinky little surfspoitation outfit. Not once.
BTW….you think I should quit surfing cause I’m desperate ? I just spent a few hours trading off crystal clear tubes in 23 degree water with one other fella. I’m so stoked I couldn’t quit if I wanted to.
You want it, you got it - oddly enough, there is not a lot of demand for images of JSC surfing.
People seem to prefer moi BEHIND a lens than in front of one.
Callahan mate you're a joke. People like you are something the world doesn't need.
A couple of nice sliders there.
Surfing competence established.
I rode my first ocean wave on a big red rental tanker at Kuhio Beach in Waikiki in October, 1969.
Sounds like your 'positive contribution to the surfing experience' has conveniently generated an income for yourself. Receiving personal monetary gain from surfing isn't a positive contribution to the surfing experience in any form, many would argue that it degrades the surfing experience.
Seeing your grovelling defence when Blowin questions your motives and you desperately trying to justify your 'positive contribution' really symbolizes that deep down you know your a virtue signalling sell out.
How ridiculous to read that as an invitation to actually swing your dick hahaha. He was making reference to the absurdity of doing exactly what you just did, not questioning your manhood.
Blowin. How can a section of reef be pristine when it has been killed by bleaching? - A man made activity?
Michael, are you claiming the reef at Maqai is dead because of coral bleaching?
How prevalent is this across the region? Or, is it only happening at Maqai?
Bleached coral isn’t necessarily dead and it can recover when conditions return to normal. Coral bleaching is a natural event and is not necessarily predicated by anthropogenic global warming. Not sure the same can be said of coral which has been removed along with the hundreds of metric tonnes of limestone underneath?
Pretty sure the removal of structure isn’t conducive to encouraging animals to live there nor would the clouds of sediment which can utterly root surrounding corals , sea flora and animals which were lucky enough to escape the undersea equivalent of a bulldozer.
I’ve seen dredging of corals in various places and it is not a happy outcome for the immediate and down current environment.
But good luck with your gamble of the reef’s health in order to make a for-profit aquatic theme park for rich foreigners! If it doesn’t work out the local Fijians can just send to Auckland for Captain Birdseye frozen fish fillets to replace their lost livelihood.
Johns next topic.... How Afghans have benefitted from the ceaseless bombing of their homes.
Fair to wonder at those "accidental" waves...it's a convincing list, especially for the Oz east coast, though I think Californians may have a different attitude to coastal works. The Japanese too. They've lost many more than they've gained.
Agreed. I reckon many more waves/coasts have been destroyed as opposed to created. It's a hard thing to quantify, but John's piece does not give the full picture imo
If they stuff this up there’s gonna be hell to pay! There’ll be no chance of artificial reefs anywhere, Don’t stuff up again, please!
Can we add Hossegor to the list of man-made waves?
Story goes that the River Adour was diverted fifteen kilometres south in the late 16th & early 17th Centuries, from Capbreton (next to Hossegor) to Bayonne.
For eons, the Adour had carved a deep underwater trench into the Bay of Biscay at Hossegor, which is clearly visible on bathy charts.
Then in the early to mid 19th Century, Napoleon III gave orders to build sand dunes at Hossegor and stablise them with grass.
Lastly, the Landes region was planted with pine trees (they drink a lot of water), which drained the water from the surrounding swampy land and also (apparently) assisted in stabilising the dunes. Turns out the Landes forest is now the largest man-made woodland in Western Europe.
So, thanks for the waves Napoleon! Not so sure if his foreign policies were on point (I'm no history buff), but he seems to have undertaken a series of impressive social reforms, and some decent construction projects too (oh shit, what can of worms have I opened here...).
Merci beaucoup - I had no idea about the planted forest nor the diverted river at Hossegor. If true, then it is definitely a heavily-manipulated coastline if not man-made and it is certain no one at that time in France had any concept of what a good surfing wave looked like.
The offshore canyon is the main factor in the wave quality at Hossegor - more energy reaching the breaking zone and refractive factors to break up the swell and make the famous hollow peaks.
Just saw this, Hossegor a great wave, but not what it was... my comments on Cap Breton later here.
Better shape pre-Napoleon?
I'm not that old! lol
Some more reading on the subject
"A New Zealand-registered company is facing intense opposition to its proposal to excavate 2.5 hectares of coral reef at a Fijian island group in an attempt to improve surf waves at one of the most celebrated diving spots in the world."
The article G posted is definitely worth reading as a post-script to the main article's sales pitch.
Erm, we covered this story seven weeks ago.
Yeah I know, I thought I'd put it up there again in case anyone forgot or missed it :)
Even if surfers had input into construction of river break walls or harbours etc the chances of new waves being created would be greatly improved, the slight change of angle of a sea wall could be the difference between a great wave or no wave.
I also think people think about coral reefs in the wrong way, coral reefs are not static things like rock and taking a chunk out of a flat coral reef to create a little channel would not always be a negative thing, the coral could be artificially replanted and these little breaks in reef are often the areas where there is lots marine life.
"The proposed development, at two sites near Qamea, would use a jack-up barge mounted with an excavator to dig two channels through coral reefs in a region globally renowned for its pristine waters and popular diving."
"WWP has branded its proposed excavations as “resculpting” the reef, carrying out what it says will be minor modifications that will “improve the ecology” of the area."
Im indebted to the engineers that built barreling sandbanks off breakwalls on the east coast. These basalt fingers were 'training' walls for rivermouths & improved boat navigation... for a while until S-N sand movement filled the voids.
The Australian geoscience / marine engineers say we have insufficient data to design anything with any certainty....
Research Priorities for Coastal Geoscience and Engineering: A Collaborative Exercise in Priority Setting From Australia
....so a stalemate or lower cost compromise to protect careers occurs, to appease the politicians & local beachside population.. for a while.)
If a groundswell of concern about sea level rise (ie. global warming) & coastal erosion is going to peak, a proven design will be adopted; eg. more groins along the gold coast / Collaroy highrise strip etc (if they cant pump or truck enough sand out to keep up with future erosion).
Engineering projects need widespread or loud public support, money / investment. & political gain within 3 yrs. Leverage & support could be via insurance companys, your Local, State and Federal politicians & perhaps .....Coastal Universities.
Surely no one would miss a lttle bit of reef at the end of indicators in Nias if it went missing?
Most of the best made made spots are quite substantial bits of engineering. Rarely is a little nip and tuck going to create a spot. We all underestimate massively the volume of rock, reef and sand that goes into making a really good spot. The all important bathymetry often begins hundreds of metres or more from the take off spot. Pipeline without the outer reefs would be a nasty closeout.
I don't think Iluka is a wave,
Iluka is tipped to be the next Byron Bay, Harry Styles
has bought some land there and is starting a wellness centre
Are there people on the beach doing Sup Yoga there yet? That's when the alarm bells go off.
Goddamn Sup-Yoga scum!
Imagine the moment when someone invents SUP yoga on foils....
SUP Yoga on SUP foils. Yes SUP foils are a thing now.
Charlie Styles don't surf...
The western side of Taveuni ( Bouma National Heritage Park) was only stopped from logging by political intervention by local landowners & New Zealand Govt financial "assistance"...
Reference https://www.cepf.net/sites/default/files/annex3_taveuninp_discussionpape... P4
Location Map https://goo.gl/maps/GXZ2RqagwSjyFyiWA
When divers worldwide will ask planitively: “These were the best reefs I have ever seen - why the fuck did someone damage them..... Nooooo!
You could list all the names of the worldwave project shareholders and staff responsible on this website.
If not, the worldwave project can create better surf in their own Country (USA?) 1st to prove its a community wealth benefit & viable as a low ecological impact method.
Also there was a project by Wollongong sewerage treatment plant/Sydney water at Coniston Beach to install a shit pipe out to sea. It was constructed with steel pier pilings which went about 150 metres off the beach. For about 18 months it produced a righthander along the steel wall on the northern side, and an A frame lefts and rights on the southern side. Best waves ever on that stretch of beach, then they dismantled it and that was the end of that. They had no idea that they had made perfect waves.
I don't think that the existence of waves pools with their associated environmental impact is a valid reason to start messing with coral reefs as an alternative. I would say if people genuinely have a problem with wave pools then they should do what they can to stop them being built. In short, don't use wave pools as an excuse to start excavating coral.
In light of the ASR debacle, I am highly sceptical of any claims made by anyone who's been associated with them. If they tell me that they are "resculpting" then I'm inclined to take this with a grain of salt.
"After all, we live in an age of science. Science has triumphed over tribalism, ignorance, tradition, religion, and politics."
Sorry John but this is a very debatable statement you opened with. If you take a look at the current state of the USA, the opposite is in fact true. Science is struggling to shed light on anything due to all overwhelming attacks from all sides.
Agree lilas, that is what you call a "sweeping statement",
Interesting debate thanks Swellnet. It is a question worth discussing given the increase in surfing numbers, particularly over the last few years. Of the perhaps, tens of thousands of coastal engineering works done over the centuries it would not be surprising if a few fluked a good surfing outcome while many did the opposite. If we think of the Ballina and Tweed river extensions they are bloody ugly heavy duty engineering works that would never be supported if the only beneficiaries were the local surfers. Any project that seeks to create a better surf break should satisfy the three keys stakeholders: the environment, the surfers and the general community. Of course only the latter party will foot the bill so I think the opportunities to satisfy all stakeholders along with with a big enough community benefit to bankroll the works will be very limited.
I did a paper on reef enhancement at the ripe old age of 22 as part of a masters degree. To a frother like me it seemed a lay-down-misere.....what could possibly go wrong just by tweaking a few rocks here and there? Ahhh, that's right.....that old bastard: unintended consequences. Just like the local Bay of Plenty council person identified in one of Mel's articles.
I'd have a lot more time for talk of tweaks to nature if those who push for it were willing to chain themselves physically and financially to the carcass in case it goes pear-shaped and be able to construct and decommission it without impact. As it is, they just get to talk up the benefits and walk away if it goes south, leaving the local community and/or taxpayers to foot the bill.
John, I do hope you can see the irony in your push for creating more waves to deal with the problem of crowding that, through your exposure of so many places, you have had such a strong part in creating.
I think he’d like to think his ‘surfsploitation’ efforts as blowin put it have had some impact but no one I know has ever followed such crap as that, documenting your own glory as a traveller to regions with poor to no surf to sell ads, suck donations from desktop wannabes and sell t-shirts or whatever makes a few bob. Take it back to Texas or Florida!
I count <20 success stories, of what surely have been well above 100 000 human interventions on shorelines world wide, giving us a success rate of <0.02% by happenstance. Add to that the abysmal track record of artificial reefs, in particular of artificial reefs of the folks involved here and opposition to this project strikes me as the logical position to take.
Agree. Worth mentioning the misses/failures
Hmm. You disproportionately address the point of unsustainability/irresponsibility of wave pools and then talk up the potential of artificial reefs without really addressing their environmental cost. Was that an intentional use of irony? I mean, you did breeze over it for a second with "as a blasphemous action analogous to burning a Christian bible or Muslim koran" like those who actually care about the environment are some extremists who hold some man-made belief system above all else and do not believe in science. If such an analogy was cherry-picked from the forum, it dosent describe us all. Hardly a balanced and I dare say accurate argument for and against, I think.
Secondly, if we start talking about the accidental and potential success of man-made structures creating waves, then we need to also consider how many man-made structures have (or may have) negatively impacted waves. More importantly the environment. I dare say the hardening of our coasts is lop-sided in the negative side of the ledger. Any attempt at manipulating, controlling water/sand movement will have an immediate and knock-on effect to establish patterns, dynamics, and relationships. If the knowledge, data and design isnt there to create something successfull, is it possible we dont fully understand the ocean? We certainly do not know how to live within the eco-system without exhausting its resources and causing mass extinction. The accidents that have happened, have been made. This doesnt excuse more of this behaviour. Sound familiar?
Just because science can, dosent always mean it should.
If the definition of success falls under the objective criteria of "..surfers worldwide will ask planitively: “These are the best waves I have ever seen - why the fuck didn’t someone do this before? Yeeewwwwww!", then I would say that this is potential waste of science and perhaps irresponsible if it is for the sake of alleviating the self-interest of discomfort of surfers in crowded surf breaks, and doesnt look at how it benefits the environment first and foremost.
More pressing issues than making sure everyone gets their quality wave quota, or is there? I know this is a surfing-first forum, but we do only survive as long as the environment allows us.
Ask those people in the pacific region whether we need more surf breaks or tackling the rising sea levels that will not only render these reefs redundant to the surf community but also threaten the existence of these beautiful places and their homes.
Why not you ask?
Please @crab nebula.... Your well constructed counter points and environmental concern has no place in this capitalistic/burn the place down world.
Looking at the forecast for Summer on the Surfcoast you might find a lot of support if you said you were going to build a break protected from an Easterly. I made the mistake of raising reef enhancement once on a local community page. I'll just say I'd prefer to be caught inside at Lennox on a big day and do a 200m trip over the boulders than go through the public shit-fight that turned into.
Even if you said you could exactly replicate pipeline style left's and rights out front of your town, rightly, they still wouldn't go for it because of
the unintended consequences development brings. The superbank for example has eaten itself and with every drop-in artist plying their trade the soul is sucked, like grains of transported sand, from the spirit of surfing.
"The superbank for example has eaten itself and with every drop-in artist plying their trade the soul is sucked, like grains of transported sand, from the spirit of surfing."
That's poetry that is.
I think there are many locations were sinking of a vessel would turn many closeouts into good beachies - the straight swells get brokem up and split into peaks. If the waves don't pump from the sunken vessel at least an artifical reef and habitat is created - fishing and diving recreation opportunities . And only small investment required.
completely agree, I think this is the most viable option.
Rusty old vessel in or near surf zone - NIMBY factor would be huge.
Plus, after looking at many many natural rock structures that exist along beaches that could in theory trap sand or refract swells, most do very little to improve surf conditions. Safest to assume these simple fiddles (minor structures in anything but ideal situations) will not work to create quality waves. Lots of bathymetry, wave length and sand flow reasons why - but tedious to explain. The proof is everywhere.
The Palmy reef is about the scale of engineering needed to create something okay.
Not sure i entirely agree with you Frog, but you could be right. What i can say is there are countless beachies in Sth oz and WA where a small granite bombie that breaches the surface between 500m-1km out from the surf zone usually results in the swells swinging and refracting around those 'structures'. Alot of the time it seems they only peak, break for a second but that's enough to drastically alter the swell angle as it approaches shore, changing a straight hander into a winding wedge. I would argue the proof is everywhere in nature.
Agree though, sinking vessels isn't an ideal way to go about things, but it maybe does have more environmental benefits than building a wave pool or resurfacing the top of coral reefs like it's the M1 motorway. Or maybe not.
There are a lot of wedge refraction set ups around but what I meant is that so many little rock bits scattered along beaches do not tend to collection sand or create an angle in the beach. And further out many bombies and bits of reef don't bend swell much either. For every one that does there could be 20 or 50 that don't - we just tend to forget about those.
As for outside bombies, you need quite a bit of rock beneath the surface to have any impact. Swells only start to bend much once the refracting object is at least longer than their wave length and shallow enough for the waver to feel bottom and slow rapidly in one zone so they bend. So the bombies that refract that we see and surf usually have a LOT of rock/reef underneath the surface at work.
I could imagine a very long large ship sunk not too far out of the surf zone doing something. But if it did very little I would not be surprised either. To be certain with man made waves you would need something quite carefully modelled like Palmy and involve major engineering and rock volumes.
A random sinking of a boat near the surf zone is probably a double six roll of the dice for a positive outcome and something that would be horrific to try to advocate for against the NIMBY crowd, environmentalists, safety worriers and skeptics. Imagine being on stage at the town hall meeting being quizzed and shouted down....
I agree if you want to sink a ship for surfing the consensus will probably be no. But if you do it for conservation of grey nurse sharks and increased diversity for rec fishing with the side objectives of making shitloads of money through commercialising recreational diving and tourism (by day, casino by night) your local govt will say yes please, vote for me!
The systems with offshore bombies have evolved over millennia in response to the way those bombies bend swell lines and affect the focus of wave energy and sediment transport. Whacking a physical structure to promote swell refraction is highly likely to result in negative impacts to the system, where it has to realign itself to the new forces at play. In the natural world this could be OK, with the natural system able to move and evolve all over again. But the natural environment is so compromised by human impacts, especially the twin concepts of lines on maps and private property, that it's highly unlikely to be able to adapt to the change properly, or in a timeframe that doesn't compromise some kind of use we value.
Yep. Good observation Tango, and likewise with some of your points Frog.
Would be less viable in urbanised areas i'd imagine where impacts on the coastline would be increased. Possibly effective on long straight stretches of beachies that have a significant foredune and secondary dune setup buffering the coastline. But yeah, still not a great fan of sinking ships just to get a few extra sly waves.
HMAS Adelaide was sunk approx 1.5km off Avoca in 2011. Unsure of the exact position but it's marked here in Navionics.
HMAS Adelaide is 135m long, 15m wide, was sunk on a sandy bed at 32m depth and comes up to around 20m.
Has there been any evidence that it's affected wave quality at Avoca? I haven't heard anything. I suspect the narrow width of the boat and the depth to which it was sunk means it probably doesn't have much influence (its position would only show in E'ly quadrant swells too, which are not dominant here).
I know one of the demo experts that sunk this ship.
While an extensive clean-up was made of this ship before sinking, and given the all clear, I am fundamentally opposed to dumping at sea.
I know it provides a structure for sea-life to attach itself to or shelter in and it also provides social economic benefits for tourism and recreation etc. But it can go the other way too.
I am sure its been covered before somewhere on the Swellnet, but artificial reefs also go beyond impacting surf. They can impact the ecosystems that have negative impacts both socially and economically. Artificial reefs, modifications, and hard structures (both horizontal and vertical) create opportunities for invasive species that can compete directly with the local, indigenous species. Some studies have shown how these artificial reefs differ from the nearby natural reefs in terms of species, diversity, and inhabitance patterns. This seems logical because the shape of the structure and the shading it provides differs significantly from any natural reef that was created through natural selection. Some studies suggest the nearby natural reefs remain stable while others suggest the artificial reef acts as a gateway for invasive species to colonise the local ecosystems. Some local reef dwelling species might not make the dash over bare ocean floor to colonise an artifial reef so they remain behind. A contributing factor that is linked to non-indigenous species invading local eco-system is via boat hulls. Quite like the weeds you see on the cleared edge on the side of the road, these invasive species see opportunities on 'clean slates' which then create articificial environment and dynamics that can compete with the locals for resources and exclude these species ultimately. We see this in ports, wharves, sea walls etc. Non-indigenous fish, algae, and inverterbraes colonise with some efficiency, the relatively uniform surfaces and structures formed by 'mankind'.
If the artifical reef doesnt significantly affect sand and water movements, and waves, it may impact the local ecosystem for good or bad.
For me, no wave is worth the risk.
Geez it ain't a great look is it. I'd imagine sunken reefs/ships etc would perform better on Southern coastlines where period becomes a factor. Longer period, more refraction for stuff that's below the surface.
As a kooky aside, perhaps those big inflatable bolt on's could be used as floating bombies! What could go wrong ;-P
They sank a similar sized frigate about 1km offshore from my local beach about twenty years ago. As far as I can tell the waves are just as crap as before.
There's plenty of almost set ups all over Oz that I've fantasised about blowing up that one annoying rock halfway along the wave. I'd never actually do it though!!
I used to be a semi regular at the one on the bottom, just imagining equally the potential if there was no wall.
My home town in far SW Vic may have an extra set-up or 3 if it wasn't for the port.
I do agree that wave pools are a tenuous investment because they are subject to full capitalist forces and I'd imagine don't receive any public benefits / funding. As opposed to say a public golf course hence another irony to the piece and the Japan sat pic showing both an abandoned wave pool and a golf course next to each other.
Just imagine. A few other places like that in Vic, too.
Swellnet should stick to what it does best.
The quote and claim below is not appropriate and off topic.
"pandemic situation has been mitigated by a safe and effective vaccine for a previously unknown coronavirus, saving million of lives - a vaccine developed, manufactured and distributed worldwide in a matter of months."
Tell it to Mediawatch, mate.
Safe - over 2600000 adverse events world wide in just 2 years compared to 270000 adverse events in 43 years for flu vacc. Effective: UK data 70% of covid deaths are vacced. Swellnet... brought to you by pfizer.
"Swellnet brought to you by Pfizer"
Yes mate, and we're running the show from the basement of Comet Ping Pong pizzeria.
Effective: Number of UK covid deaths per week are 1000% lower than they were a year ago.... with no lockdowns currently in place. So the virus is circulating freely and instead of killing 1600 a week like last Dec/Jan, it's killing 160 a week. Nah, not effective at all.....
and give me a break on the 'adverse effects'...
What a load of horseshit.
Out of 7.81 billion doses , what then is that %
@glendormi all those big words a bit much for you mate. there there.
They're still out there.
im all for it, at 52 im running out of time.
getting the swell, having the time, the wind being right and the tide coinciding with having the time.
so many elements that rarely align.
i also will add that i live in South Australia( only because my kids are here) and in SA in the 1950s they dumped all kinds of non biodegradable shit in the sea and the sea just dealt with it.
one interesting thing that happened was when rubber car tires were dumped just off the beaches,
the tires actually created habitat for fish and coral which found the rubber a suitable platform.
LETS GET MORE WAVES HAPPENING AND MAINTAIN OUR SURFERS BODIES.
Let's hope Troy's next install is a success...could spell the end for long stretches of closeouts.
Interesting, but what is it? A large plastic bag?
If so, there is absolutely no chance an "Airwave" is going to wrk in the long term (as in more than two hours) as an artificial reef.
Interesting concept. No proof in the ocean yet it seems.
Assume what could go wrong will go wrong for man-made waves is a good starting point for all dreamers out there.
Could imagine a weird bombie peak being possible with an inflatable reef if you could anchor it but to get length and quality of ride would require a massive unwieldy structure.
First one lasted 2 Waves....
I can see this whole thing tanking
Or worse... floating.
It’s filled with a mixture of sand sludge and water so will be heavy as. The weak points are the seams, which have supposedly been improved via a welding technique rather than gluing, and the valve. I have no vested interest in this other than to potentially have surfable waves in Perth for more than 3 months of the year.
But If it does get up tanky will deffo head over & shred a few on the eco-reef then tank the owners profusely
Can picture the waves scouring out the sand on the nearshore side of the bag as the waves energy drains off the 'dome' resulting in a deep channel. So you'll have a nice peak stand up over a small 12m zone, break, and then fizzle out. Fun!
If you’re right BD then that’s still better than most of the shite we get here in Perth. I’m a little more positive on the concept, if anything it will mess with the longshore drift which is what is needed on a straight stretch like we have between Floreat and Trigg. If it doesn’t create waves directly on the reef itself surely it will create banks adjacent to it.
Yeah good point. Factoring in the long shore drift which that coast is prone to could have unexpected positive side effects.
Their are absolutely countless reefs that with some tweaking using a limestone based concrete mix to fill in the holes or reshape where required, quality breaks could be manufactured with comparative ease. A lot less stuffing around than breakwalls or wavepools, plus the limestone mix encourages natural reef flora etc.
The area, now known as South Straddie did have waves prior to the wall. A very long, but often fruitful walk could find great waves in that whole stretch in the 80s. In fact I would suggest, whilst not discounting the sometimes great quality of SS, more opportunities and banks than at present. I would also suggest, that groins can also have opposite effects. No more La Barre, or compromised beach erosion at Cap Breton. The Bunkers at 'Bunkers; used to be way on top of the sand dunes, now they sit half sunken on the beach, with the dune erosion. Not a criticism and no financial involvement. lol
Probably an ok bloke Clive but have found that people who end their rants with lol are mainly lame old losers. How ever a couple of groins between north Kirra and Tugun on the Goldie would be good. If you got the cash. Cheers.
Add Avoca point in too, should’ve added more rocks to terrigal rock pool when they did the Reno’s and created a new protected point break
this is a putrid article tbh, you sound like a property developer John trying to convince the public to bulldoze pristine bushland to build a housing estate.
Maybe I need to watch "Morning the Earth" a few more times and smoke some decent reefer to adjust my perspective?
You could make a start by not being a sarcastic cunt to everyone that has a different opinion to you.
COuld be a community money making objective if you build it they will come.
Like a sunken ship created better fish eco life.
As for Noosa Byron bay the reason why those places are tourist Mecca’s originated from surfing.
Swellnet. I'm unsure why you even published this guys poorly written article. It compromises your journalistic integrity giving someone with such a warped perception of surfing and clear vested interested a platform. No doubt an interesting topic but Stu or Steve Shearer would of done a much better job of it.
Disagree. Initially I thought that this bloke might have had some kind of agenda (I'm still unsure whether he does or not). John's initial question about engineering projects accidentally creating great waves and our inability to deliberately do it is an intriguing proposition. Seeing the responses has given me (us) an opportunity to read many different points of view and consider my own (our) positions. That's why I keep coming back to these forums. To be honest, I'm still undecided about whether it should be done intentionally - I'd love a chance to create a secret beachy nearby and I've fantasized about 'borrowing' my neighbours excavator in the middle of the night on the next low tide. Of course I won't....but I can dream. Agree about the choice of author though.
That's exactly the point -
"has given me (us) an opportunity to read many different points of view and consider my own (our) positions"
You don't have to agree with the author's perspective or position. If you are interested enough in the topic to form (and post) an opinion, that's great.
I may not agree with your opinion, but I agree with your right to have one.
Personal attacks are not necessary, but some folks apparently can't help themselves to make derogatory statements, question surfing credentials, etc that have nothing to do with the subject of the article.
Would have, Jedi, would have, not would of.
Some big cash backed developers don’t give a shit about the environment or the locals
i hope the new wall at the roy can be added to the list, im sure we will be comparing it to the superbank.
Dear Sir, an interesting topic you have raised and, as a life long surfer from the Twin Towns, one in which I have a vested interest - like many others I love surfing perfect waves.
It's obvious that, despite a fair amount of available information, you're knowledge of Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypass project seems quite limited so let me fill in a few gaps for you.
In the mid 90's when a schematic design plan for
the project first appeared on the front page of the Tweed Daily News I reached out to my friends and fellow Snapper Rocks Surf riders Club committee members Wayne Deane (rip) and Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew to immediately get involved.
We conferred with long time local surfers, fishermen and even an eminent architect to draft and submit a document stating concerns and recommendations from the perspective of surf quality and beach amenity.
As a result of our credible interest we were able to be involved in the design and planning of the position of the discharge outlets.
We met at Point Danger with the TRESBP bathymetry consultant, the eminent Dr Kimo Walker (rip) whose report conclusions on outlet locations concurred with our own - namely having the prime outlet at Pt Danger/Frog Beach with others located at Duranbah and Kirra.
Local surfers were instrumental in the assurance of consistent wave quality due to prevailing bathymetry in this important situation.
If you wish to be informed of any other aspects of this remarkable system and its inception please feel free to enquire.
Bruce Lee, Snapper Rocks.
Thanks Bruce, I was going to mention the case of TRESBP and how surfers were involved in maintaining/enhancing surfing amenity.
Thanks John. Another thought provoking article. I can think of quite a number of places that could benefit from a great man made wave, and if it could be done in a manner that adds to the marine ecosystems that would be a bonus. There’s also a few places around like Stockton NSW where artificial reefs could stop land erosion and provide waves, fishing and diving opportunities without having to address the wrath of environmental or marine concerns because the existing problem is man made.
Interesting case Stockton.
I believe the problems originally started when they built the original break wall out to Nobbies and was made worse by the additional later breakwalls on Stocko.
As a side note ,they also blew the top of Nobbies off because sailing vessels where losing the wind coming around the Heads and were getting wrecked on Stockton.
Last I heard they were trying to get mining permits to dredge the offshore sand similar to QLD operations.
But as you know , Stocko has an 'accidental' artificial reef. The Sygna.
I don't know if the wreck (or whats left of it) still produces waves on either side , but I've had some damn good waves there over the years .. Finicky but used to produced the goods often enough.
Used to fish off it many moons ago too before the deck just became too rusted and dangerous. You could pretty much be assured of a feed.
The Sygna is all but gone.
The break wall at Blacksmiths is a good example of coastal engineering where the spin off resulted in less than stellar waves. When looking at it on google maps you have to wonder, that if it was constructed with more angle to the south it may have produced better surf, not all groyne structures along our east coast have been so lucky.
Seriously swellnet, if I have to read a third instalment of this infomercial series for johns dubious Fiji project, I’ll cancel my subscription. Totally welcome articles about coastal processes (coastal creationism was great) but this article stinks.
"johns dubious Fiji project"
John's got nothing to do with the Qamea project, and I've explained above why I ran it. Maybe the little wheel on your mouse isn't working so I'll repeat it:
"I simply consider this a thought piece. It's not advocating for anything.
"A few years ago I wrote an article on the creation of Southport Bar and the subsequent creation of South Straddie as a surf spot. In the process I spoke to a few of the engineers and academics involved, asking each of them about the surfing amenity. I was dumbfounded to find out that not one of them gave a moment's thought to surfing.
"Yet as we know, it's now one of Australia's great waves.
"Same goes Kirra, Duranbah, and many (all?) of the east coast breakwalls - not a single thought given to surfing, and yet they all pump.
"I find it fascinating that all these accidents are surfing successes, but when, in the comments of the WWP article, John extended the idea to also wonder why the opposite has happened: our deliberate efforts are failures, I asked him to pen a piece."
Otra vez, amigo - "I don't have any financial or equity stake in the WWP project, nor do I have any official involvement in any other artificial wave project anywhere else -
There is no corporate conspiracy to push any agenda - only the perplexing question of why so many coastal engineering projects that had zero input from surfers and no intention to produce quality waves have successfully done so while the projects that were supposed to make waves, haven't.
At least not yet"
I'm not sure if this would qualify as "man made wave", maybe more like "man's intervention with unknown consequences", but there looks like an upcoming project to dump 50,000 cubic metres sand straight out the front of "geriatrics reef" between Maroochydore and Alex, early autumn next year. Apparently this will be a trial, to see where the sand migrates to from here, if desired effect achieved, it may turn into a longer term project. Maybe the mayor is trying to widen the beach to give them more room for their monorail?
Sounds cheap and sustainable.
I must be getting old ,geriatrics or Gerry’s was called sharks before the last lot of Sydneysiders moved north
I can think of heaps of beaches ruined or made mostly unsuitable for waves dues to planting of bloody marram (?) grass. Dune stabilisation on the beaches has mucked up multiples more beachies than engineering projects have enhanced.
Dune stabilisation is mostly a menace, although I’m sure someone has an example of one that has been made into a better wave from it. Mostly though, not. Man made wave? You have to include dune stabilisation into that equation.
Interesting that Port Macquarie gets a mention. Arguable whether it considered a reasonable wave at the best of times. Old timers also refer to how good the north side of the bar was prior to the north wall being extended.
Qamea is magical beautiful place that does not need any white privileged intervention, stay away.
Eddie Murphy's kids were getting surfing lessons there when I was there last. There are rich white arseholes exploiting the place as well.
The logistics of getting a large amount of people into that area is crazy.
I told Maui what you're planning and he is coming to kick your dumb, white, kvalangi, haole ass. Try look.
The US military told the chief of Bikini Atoll, they needed to move off their island for the good of mankind.
That was a complete crock of lies and bullshit.
Leave Qamea be, you medling selfish arseholes.
The US military told the chief of Bikini Atoll, they needed to move off their island for the good of mankind.
That was a complete crock of lies and bullshit.
Leave Qamea be, you medling selfish arseholes.
I tuned out when you mentioned a safe and effective vaccine. The word bull shit comes to mind.
Growing up on the south coast of NSW I always look at our harbours and wondered why they didn't make a reef for the waves to break on instead of a rock wall that the waves smash straight into. We would get a surf able wave, the fishermen get more reefs to fish and they still get a protected harbour.
The latest breakwall at Shellcove has a perfect curve for a reef break but of course waves are just smashing into it with no wave forming on the beach next to it yet.
This is the most insightful comment so far: Qamea is magical beautiful place that does not need any white privileged intervention, stay away.
Eddie Murphy's kids were getting surfing lessons there when I was there last. There are rich white arseholes exploiting the place as well.
The logistics of getting a large amount of people into that area is crazy.
I told Maui what you're planning and he is coming to kick your dumb, white, kvalangi, haole ass. Try look.
I am more into stand up paddle https://paddlesurf.it/ SUP lately.