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NEW REEF: Work may begin by
February on Opunake's $1.1m artificial surf reef,
which will be inside the headland
Surf reef decision has Opunake buzzing at tourism
prospects 11 June 2004
Opunake was buzzing yesterday with news that its
$1.1 million artificial surf reef dream had become a financial
The South Taranaki District Council's
decision to fund the reef project, which most residents of the
revitalised coastal town expect to become a major tourist
attraction, was the main topic of conversation, said surf
board manufacturer Craig Dingle.
"Everyone is talking about it, it will be
a huge boost for the town," he said.
Mr Dingle said he expected the reef would
create a focus that would bring even more surfers and tourists
into the district.
He said the decision would give
confidence to businesses being developed to cater for a
growing number of visitors.
Surf Inn proprietor Phil Brown said the
news was excellent and had brought a real "feel good" feeling
to everyone he had spoken to.
"We always knew it would go, somehow and
sometime, but this is what we have all been waiting for," he
Opunake Artificial Reef Committee
chairman David Lusk said the reef plan had already attracted
considerable international attention and had made it on to the
pages of world-wide surfing magazines.
"People at a recent symposium were asking
Kerry (Dr Kerry Black, the reef's designer) where is this
Opunake and how do you get there," he said.
Mr Lusk said installation of the reef
would be dictated by the time taken to achieve consents, the
tender process and weather conditions, but could possibly
begin in February.
The reef would be made of sand filled
geotextile bags standing between 1.5-2 metres high and
covering an area around 90m long and 20m wide.
A slight hook in the shape of the reef
would create the wave curl, and contouring of the reef with a
slope on the inside allowed the wave to disperse. The reef
would be under water at all times, he said.
"There have been all sorts of stories
about the bags but the material is nothing like plastic bags,
more like a piece of carpet 12-14mm thick,"
The fawn-coloured textured surface of the
bags allows sand and marine growth to adhere to them.
Mr Lusk said although the process would
be determined by the contractor, it was expected divers would
anchor the bags in place. The bags would be filled with sand
pumped as a slurry from a stockpile on shore.
"Depending on weather conditions and the
preparation work being done it could take about two months to
install," he said.
He said hollow concrete "reef balls"
which could be manufactured cheaply and locally, could be
installed in the calmer water inside the reef to benefit
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