Page last updated at 19:11 GMT, Wednesday, 6 August 2008 20:11 UK

First part of reef put on barge

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An artist's impression shows how the surf reef will be made up of 55 sand-filled bags

Giant cranes have lifted and folded the first section of Europe's first artificial surf reef onto a barge bound for a Dorset seabed.

The folded segment, measuring approximately 164ft(50m) by 131ft(40m), make up a third of the reef's base layer and weighs about five tonnes.

Weather conditions permitting, the barge will be taken to Boscombe, Bournemouth, at a later date.

The 2.7m project is designed to double the size of waves at the town.

A 260-metre-long flexible pipe used to pipe sand from Boscombe beach out to the reef section
Bournemouth Borough Council

The council has said a wider regeneration of Boscombe will also boost the local economy by 3m a year.

Work began at a secret location in Poole to construct the bottom layer.

The artificial reef will be one of four worldwide which include Narrowneck, Queensland; Cable, Western Australia and Mt Maunganui, New Zealand.

It is claimed the reef will double the size of the existing surf at Boscombe, up to 13ft (4m), as well as doubling the number of good surf days.

The scheme has been funded through the sale of a 9.7m seafront car park to a developer.

Folded reef section
A 260-metre-long pipe will pipe sand from Boscombe beach out to the reef

The reef will be built with 55 sand-filled "geotextile bags", which will cover an area the size of a football pitch.

The bags, which vary in length from 50ft (15m) to 230ft (70m), will be assembled onto a webbing base, which will be taken by barge 740ft (225m) out to sea to the east of Boscombe Pier.

A spokeswoman for Bournemouth Borough Council said the sand was "being refined before it will be pumped at high-speed into the bags".

"A 260-metre-long flexible pipe used to pipe sand from Boscombe beach out to the reef section when it is in place is being bolted together," she added.

"It will take up to 4 hours to fill each bag."

Work starts on town's surf reef
16 Jul 08 |  Dorset
Fishermen delay surf reef plans
20 Jul 07 |  Dorset

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