Artificial Reef begins construction on The GC

The Plan from above. Courtesy of beachesgoldcoast.com

The Plan from above. Courtesy of beachesgoldcoast.com

With the increased prominence of technologies such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, the plots of the Terminator films are becoming scarily possible, minus the rampaging Arnie and time travelling soldiers of course. The Gold Coast is joining the revolution with a reef that is as artificial as some of the girls strolling Cavill Avenue.


Locals may have noticed some unusual activity out the back of Palm Beach over the past few days as tugboats and barges have begun to set anchor about 300 meters offshore. Their arrival signals the beginning of the construction of the governments planned artificial reef. Construction is set to continue through to October later this year. The reef is phase 2 of the Palm Beach Shoreline Project which saw a large nourishment of sand at the beach in 2017.

So what’s actually this artificial reef made up of you ask? “The reef will be constructed of large rock boulders quarried in South East Queensland and transported to site using barges. The boulders range from smaller ‘core’ rock to as large as 8 tonnes each, and will be strategically and carefully placed to form a structure 160 metres long and 80 metres wide. Once constructed, the reef will be 1.5 metres below the average water level at its highest point.” - Beachesgoldcoast.com

This has board riders around the area and Australia in two minds: either cautiously optimistic or downright pessimistic. Although the primary purpose of the reef is to protect the beach from threatening erosion, The City of Gold Coast has in fact taken wave riders into consideration. There is potential for something great to come of this, although past efforts such as the artificial reef at Narrowneck have locals biting their nails. The City of Gold Coast has stated however:

 
Under certain swell conditions there is predicted to be waves breaking on the reef suitable for intermediate surfers.
— The City Of Gold Coast
 
Is it too good to be true?. Image courtesy of beachesgoldcoast.com

Is it too good to be true?. Image courtesy of beachesgoldcoast.com

The reef is set to be 270 metres offshore, 160 metres long and 80 metres wide and has the primary purpose of increasing sand off Palm Beach which will act as a buffer for erosion. Is the Goldy about to be blessed with another Gem of a surf spot? Or is it too good to be true?

We decided to ask a few Gold Coast natives this question, the first being to Joe Clarke.

“I’m a bit pessimistic about it because I have not seen an artificial reef work yet anywhere… but excited that there’s a possibility of it working.”

Joe wasn’t 100% sold on the potential of a good wave forming on the reef.

 
I’m gonna say if anything it’ll bend around the reef and cross up the swell and make peaks on the beachie inside it
— Joe Clarke
 
Joe on the GC. Shot by Lance Morgan

Joe on the GC. Shot by Lance Morgan

His final sentiments were:

Hopefully the people in charge of the project have some sort of idea but I also have noticed the reef has been put on an angle that would only suit a south swell direction and only break right which we already have an abundance of on the Gold Coast. Most of our large swells are from the East generally so it doesn’t look too promising for a consistent quality reef break.

Joe did however have one optimistic opinion regarding Palm Beaches new artificial reef however, stating;

 
It’ll be good for fishing and make a good beachie in front of it... that’s my call
— Joe Clarke
 
Joe Clarke sitting pretty. Shot by Lance Morgan

Joe Clarke sitting pretty. Shot by Lance Morgan

Next off the blocks was DK legend Matt Lackey:

“I haven’t had a good look into the whole project but I’m sure it will be a good thing, mix the swell up on a generally pretty straight part of the coast. Take some of the strain off the rest of the crowded Gold Coast spots, so I see it as a positive thing for sure.”

In terms of what sort of wave the man-made reef will produce, Lackey had this to say;

 
I’m guessing they will go the safer option, so hopefully something goes horribly wrong and it turns into a below sea-level slab
— Matt Lackey
 

Find more info at beachesgoldcoast.com