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Thursday, 2 August, 2001, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Reef set to make surfing waves
Newquay surf
Great Britain's waves are small in surfing terms
A survey of the seabed off Newquay is to be carried out as part of a 1m plan to build Europe's first artificial surfing reef.

The proposal is aimed at creating perfect year-round surfing waves off the Cornwall resort.

If the scheme goes ahead it could result in a multi-million pound boost to the Cornish economy.

Civil engineer Anthony Weight, who initiated the Newquay Artificial Reef Forum project, said: "It's the sort of stuff dreams are made of."

Wave power

The reef would consist of an underwater wall of 30-metre-long sandbags.

It would be about 600 metres long and 450 metres wide, and be sited at the low water line off Newquay Bay.

Newquay beach
The reef will increase the power of Newquay's waves
Mr Weight said the seabed had to be profiled to enable a decision to be made on the best location for the reef.

The decision would take into account currents and sand movement.

Mr Weight said: "As the wave hits the reef it would slow down.

"The height of the wave would increase by around double what it would normally break at and the power would be significantly greater.

Surfing contests

British surfing champion Russell Winter said: " By having a reef it would create world interest by saying England has one of the best waves."

Another surfer, Justin Scott, said: "They may end up having three or four top class contests here because they're guaranteed the waves.

Justin Scott
Justin Scott: "Boost for Newquay"
"I think it's going to boost Newquay, England and Great Britain."

A recent report from a major international company estimated that the benefits of a major surf festival to the county's economy would be in the region of 17m.

Last month world surf wave expert Professor Kerry Black, of Waikato University, New Zealand, visited Newquay to collect data for a 35,000 feasibility study for the project.

If the initial study is satisfactory, the next step would be detailed design work costing up to 250,000.

Studies would also have to be done on the project's environmental impact and economic benefits.

The bathymetry study is expected to be carried out within the next few weeks.

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 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Andy Swiss
"Newquay's breakers just aren't big enough"
See also:

06 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Australia launches surfing science degree
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