Australia’s Gold Coast can be a real bitch if you hate crowds. The fantastic waves are nearly always slammed with surfers, and a whole lot of them are really, really good. It’s horrible and wonderful at the same time. The crowds, though, are quickly becoming a real problem–the dangers of surfing are severely compounded when there are a million other people in the water, all vying for the same waves. But Australia has a plan to fix it: they’re going to make more waves.
A few days ago, the Gold Coast city council met to discuss creating five new artificial reefs expressly for surfing. Under the Gold Coast Surf Management plan, at least one is already in the works. The reef will supposedly be built in Palm Beach, and will cost an estimated $17 million. If all goes as planned, the reef will created a left and a right that, under the right conditions, peels for nearly 1000 feet in either direction.
According to reports, the Narrow Neck artificial reef–originally planned to prevent beach erosion, may be revamped to create a new wave. Brad Farmer, the founder of National Surfing Reserves, told the Gold Coast Bulletin that it’s been a long battle to make the city seriously consider building the reefs. “I am pushing for five artificial surfing reefs to meet the growing popularity of surfing,” he said, “and lead by example that surfers can, and need to, call the shots to governments.”
Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew agreed with Farmer. “There are some serious problems just over the horizon unless new breaks are introduced,” he said. “The problems are happening now and the projections are that surfing is going to get more and more popular. Unless more breaks are introduced, people will just turn off the Gold Coast.”
According to the Gold Coast Bulletin, the surf industry will add over $3 billion to the economy in coming years, and surfers on the Gold Coast spend over $230 million each year on surfing.