Bournemouth, a seacoast town in southern England, craved the wave; it’s a surfing destination and tourist draw. To improve wave quality, prevent beach erosion and increase marine habitat, Bournemouth’s beachfront revitalization plan included Europe’s first artificial reef, completed in October by Amalgamate Solutions and Research (ASR) Ltd., Venice Beach, Calif., and Raglan, New Zealand, a leader in reef design, engineering and installation. “At ASR we’re passionate about multi-purpose reefs as the sustainable future of coastal protection,” says Nick Behunin, ASR managing partner.
ASR constructed the reef by securing geotextile bags weighing more than 2,500 tons to anchors on the ocean floor. Sand is pumped into the bags while divers monitor the process from the sea floor. The construction protects the beach from erosion by channeling the wave to break on the offshore reef instead of the sand. Because it is underwater, it doesn’t obstruct the view—or the surfing—as offshore sea walls do. ASR is working on its next coastal protection project in Kovalam, Kerala, India, a popular tourist destination threatened by erosion during monsoon season.