England may not be the first place people think of as a prime surfing destination, but that could change next month when Europe's first artificial surf reef, and the world's fourth, opens approximately 800 feet off the shoreline in Boscombe near Bournemouth, South England.
The reef will only slightly increase the size of Boscombe's waves, but is expected to cause them to break cleaner, making them more ridable and increasing the number of surfable days each season. This has excited surfers who are expecting the reef to create grade-5 waves on good days (Oahu's Banzai Pipeline is a grade-8).
The reef, which is due to be completed just in time for the start of the surfing season next month, was designed by Kerry Black, from the National Institute of Water and
Atmosphere in New Zealand and ASR Ltd, the firm
constructing the reef.
The reef has taken over a year to construct at a cost of $2.3 million. It was built from geo-textile bags that are filled with sand and weigh up to 2,500 tons each. The design itself was commissioned by Bournemouth Borough Council as they faced the unusual challenge of an unpredictable wave climate. ASR Ltd. created blueprints for a particularly large reef that could make the most of the waves that Boscombe coast had to offer.