Page last updated at 12:43 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 13:43 UK

Reef 'days' away from completion

Artist's impression of surf reef
The reef is expected to improve surfing conditions.

Europe's first artificial surf reef is days away from completion, tourism chiefs in Dorset have confirmed.

The reef, off Boscombe, in Bournemouth, will aim to improve surf conditions in a project which cost £3m - nearly double the original price.

Mark Smith, director of tourism with Bournemouth Borough Council, said: "We are now only days away rather than weeks, which is fantastic."

The reef is part of an £11m ongoing regeneration of Boscombe's seafront.

The council hopes the regeneration will boost the economy by £3m a year and that the underwater construction will attract up to 10,000 surfers.

'Geotextile bags'

Work was delayed on the project from November to April due to bad weather and the cost has doubled from £1.4m to £3m.

Developers are currently "fine-tuning" the final aspects of the project so that it can be opened safely for public usage.

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

It will be one of a number of similar artificial reefs of its type worldwide, including developments in Narrowneck, Queensland, Western Australia and Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.

Print Sponsor

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