Last year we reported we’d be keeping a close eye on the first real-life trial of a brand new artificial reef, called the Airwave, in WA, with a view to possibly launching a campaign to get one installed in Newquay bay, should it turn out to be a roaring success.
Since then we’ve spent many hours staring at (and occasionally trying to surf) perfectly sized, perfectly clean, perfectly straight closeouts in Newquay bay, longing for this big blow up the bladder to be everything the inventors promised and more.
Last week they began installation at the test site just south of Perth and without blinking an eye the ocean tore the rubber bladder a new one, leaving a large split right down one of its seams. The result is a beleaguered blob of rubber, (think nail gun VS bouncy castle), undulating gently in the currents at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
It’s the perfect visual metaphor for how well man’s attempts to create decent waves with sea-bed structures have gone thus far.
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The Airwave’s inventor, however, is not giving up. Yesterday he had this to say of the events:
“We had a lot of undertow — a new swell came through that was a very deep swell that we weren’t planning on, and it was pushing the undertow through the line-up. It’s torn along the seam — it hasn’t torn the actual rubber, which is very strong. The pressure from the airbag going back and forward with the undertow and incoming swell has put some pressure on that particular seam…You only find these things out when you’re installing them for the first time, and you learn so much about how you want to install them in future, when we start to put these things over the world. As horrid as it sounds, when you’re committed to putting something in and installing it, you have to deal with these things. When you’re committed to something you have to see it through to the end.”
Considering the area of coast receives very little swell, we’re thinking that it’s going to need some serious tweaking before it’s ready for deployment elsewhere. However, as history teaches us and Mr Bottegal notes, a certain amount of teething problems are to be expected with these projects, and we admire his continued optimism.
We’ll continue to watch on with bated breath, but certainly won’t be launching a ‘Get an Airwave in Newquay Bay’ campaign just yet.