Albany surf reef feasibility study

Progress Report (October 2003):

International Coastal Management [ICM] have been commissioned by Southern Ocean Surfers (SOS) with funding from the Western Australian Tourist Commission (WATC), to determine the feasibility, costs, benefits and impacts of constructing an artificial surfing reef at Middleton Beach.

Whilst there are a number of high quality surfing areas in the vicinity of Albany, these are generally at least 40 minutes drive from town and conditions are usually appropriate only for experienced surfers. Thus, Middleton Beach provides a convenient location for locals and a safer surf break for inexperienced surfers. At present, good surfing conditions are dependent on the occurrence of both a favourable wave climate and appropriate bar formations. At Middleton Beach, an artificial reef has the potential to provide a permanent bathymetry ideal for creating a higher quality ‘surfable’ break on a more frequent basis. Additionally, there is the possibility to combine coastal protection and environmental enhancement with improved surfing.

The study investigated a number of options and found that:

  • A surfing reef at Middleton Beach, Albany was practical and would have an economic benefit..
  • In the long term, a number of reefs could be implemented progressively, and Middleton Beach promoted as a surfing precinct with a range of surf reefs exhibiting different characteristics.