Revolutionizing Surfing A Reef At A Time – Bournemouth Surf Reef

Thousands of tourists flock to Bournemouth every summer for some time in the sun and sand. Bournemouth attracts visitors from around the world, to experience a variety of cuisines, shopping joys, and entertainment along with tons of activities that are designed for the whole family. Surfing is one of the most popular water activities that every ocean lover dips their toes into, at some point in their life. To be able to catch a surf wave is one of the prime necessities to enjoy an experience out at sea. Now, waves need reefs to be able to help with the gravity and propel the waves toward the shore. So as to attract the surfers and ocean lovers who come to Bournemouth every year, an artificial reef has been created to simulate the waves.

The Newer Surf Reef Technology

Sitting in a bathtub one day, playing with the water, the inventor of the artificial surf reef struck upon an idea. He had looked up at the ceiling and saw that a light was encased inside a dome. He began wondering if he would be able to change the bathymetry of the tub by using the dome to create waves and got to work. He tried the theory, and it worked in creating a perfect wave that would be great on a larger scale.

Over the next ten years, Troy Bottegal spent his time researching and developing the product that he tried at Bunbury’s Back Beach in Australia. The concept as he describes it is straightforward. The ’Airwave’ as he calls it would be an inflatable bladder that will anchor by itself and stay at the bottom of the beach. The water that rushes over the bladder, in the shape of a dome, will transform into an A-Wave, perfect for surfing. However, Troy was not the first to come up with the idea of a surf reef. There have been several attempts at creating surf reefs, and they all have different purposes.

Bournemouth’s Surf Reef Leads The Way

Bournemouth, in Europe, leads the race in developing an artificial surf reef. While the attempts to invigorate the beach area of Bournemouth for surfing failed, the attempt was the beginning of many firsts. A New Zealand company designed the structure which was made of 55 geotextile bags that were anchored by itself to the sand under the sea. The bags were filled with sand to create the similar concept of the air inflated dome that Troy built. The idea behind the sandbag artificial surf reef was constructed by David Weight a member of the Wessex Surf Club. He proposed the idea to the Bournemouth council back in 1993 and called it ‘weights reef.’ Over three decades later when Troy invented his ‘Airwave,’ he took into consideration many of the advancements in technology and used advanced technology to research and develop his product. While the ocean in Bournemouth was unable to work with the sand packed bags, due to the type of current in the area, perhaps, with Troy’s Airwave concept, the idea could be reinvented.