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Fresh call to bring surf reef to resort

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: March 17, 2010

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RENEWED calls have been made to revive plans for an artificial surf reef in Newquay.

Business and surfing communities are backing the move, claiming it would bring year-round benefits, boosting tourist footfall and the local economy.

The calls come as Newquay's official £130 million regeneration plan, incorporating a town centre revamp, appear to have stalled.

Plans for a surf reef were first mooted in 2001, when a £6 million scheme was suggested off Tolcarne Beach.

However, after four years of fruitless negotiations, nothing materialised.


But Stuart Keough, who runs Newquay Surf Centre said the project is just what Newquay needs.

"The best thing we can do to move the town forward is to reignite the surf reef project. This could bring substantial benefits.

"We need to push this forward, as it could really stimulate economic growth in Newquay."

Bournemouth officially opened its surf reef – the first in Europe – in November last year, to great acclaim.

The south coast city has boasted a change in fortune since the reef opened, with the Boscombe area undergoing mass regeneration with a new shopping precinct, pier, and revamped public spaces and gardens.

The project also attracted £850,000 of private investment.

Mr Keough says Newquay can emulate this.

"The Bournemouth reef has been a success, not necessarily in terms of actually improving surfing conditions, but with regards the regeneration of the area and the economic benefits it has brought.

"Because we already have the groundswell here, a surf reef would work very well – it would be fantastic."

Rob Barber, director of the Rip Curl ESF Surf School, Rob Barber Bodyboarding School and editor of ThreeSixty bodyboarding magazine also backed the project.

"Professor Kerry Black, who is the leading expert on artificial surfing reefs, claims that from his initial tests, Newquay bay is the best site he has investigated for an artificial surf reef.


"The prevailing south westerly wind blows offshore, it is thumped with swell all winter; the one thing lacking is a decent sand bank or reef to focus the swell and make it peel rather than close out.

"The economic impact on the town would be incredibly positive. The coverage of the moderate success of Bourne- mouth's reef has been massive. The Newquay reef would be a huge success, I have no doubt."

Prior to the grand opening at Bournemouth, tourism chiefs said they were aiming to steal Newquay's surfing crown.

Roger Brown, service director for leisure at Bourenmouth Borough Council said this week: "This major regeneration scheme, including the artificial surf reef, has turned an under-utilised site into a modern multi-purpose leisure amenity located on one of Britain's best beaches.

"Anyone who has visited Boscombe seafront in the last six months will know that it now has its own unique feel, and a very evident, water sport theme."

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    BmthNewshound, Bournemouth  |  March 20 2010, 1:43PM

    Don't believe the hype from Bournemouth Council. The surf reef doesn't work and has done nothing to boost regeneration. There is growing public anger in the town that £3.5m has been wasted which hasn't been helped by the Councils refusal to make a public a report into the reefs performance.

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    Seaslave, Yorkshire  |  March 19 2010, 2:16PM

    Doesnt the reef plan cover Newquay Bay including Tolcarne. I'm sure if you look at the original, It doesnt include Fistral, but includes Towan, Tolcarne and Gt Western. I have come to Newquay for the past 14 years and have seen massive changes, not least to say the teenage/drink/drug culture. These kids dont come to surf, and its these that are the major fault of the town. If the reef is installed, people will not come if the town is not cleaned up. I hate that the hotels n guest houses are being torn down year after year to put up apartments n studios for these kids. I love that the beaches are fukll with young people thru tha day, theymake for sone interesting entertainmean, its just when evening drawers in, thats when the trouble starts and everything gets out of hand. Put the reef in by all means, it might bring better waves into the bay, but sort the problems out first. PS. Oh and I do not take drugs!!!

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    Russ, bournemouth  |  March 19 2010, 1:56PM

    Good luck, make sure the one in bournemouth works properly before committing. Quite why our brightspark council bigwigs built a reef on possibly the most swell starved piece of beach in England is beyond me. Sorry guys, it won't stop me from travelling down and clogging your breaks along with my swell starved south coast buddies!

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    john, newquay  |  March 19 2010, 1:45PM

    Rob barber blah blah blah blah.

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    Calmer Waters, The Duchy Of Cornwall  |  March 19 2010, 10:21AM

    Tolcarne - Surfer Free Zone. Now there's an attractive proposition! Leave the sea bed alone - NO SANDBAG TAMPERING IN NEWQUAY BAY!

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    nick, Newquay, Cornwall  |  March 18 2010, 3:44PM

    Why not build an artificial reef at Tolcarne beach? Its not the best surfing beach in the area but it could be good with a little help. The side affects of this would be a year round growth in the tourism industry and also helping out the building trades and local business and if were really lucky some of the empty apartments might get sold! And as for the drug problem in Newquay!? what problem!? I think you might be mistaken and forgot about the drug problem in the WORLD!!! And blaming it on surfers, most surfers wouldn't waste there money on that sort of c!@£ our hard earned pounds go on rent,food,drink,boards and chasing the surf around the world.

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    nick, Newquay, Cornwall  |  March 18 2010, 3:28PM

    Why not build an artificial reef at Tolcarne beach? it closes out most of the time and that makes it a pretty rubbish surfing beach! So build the reef and take advantage of the fact that it will boost the local economy providing year round business for the tourism industry and also the building trades. And along the way we might even sell some of the empty apartments that are kicking about around the town doing nothing! The drug problem in Newquay, what problem? dont you mean the drug problem in the world! and as for blaming surfers, I think you'll find that most surfers dont have much money let alone waste what they do have on drugs. Most of the money we earn goes on rent,food,drink,surfboards and saving to travel to surf destinations around the world following what we love doing..

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    dirk, newquay  |  March 18 2010, 10:03AM

    If Newquay has a drug problem BECAUSE of the surfing why are you suggesting developing another site? surely then that place would have a "drug problem". Stupid comment im sure everyone will agree. Newquay is on its ar** at the moment - bring us a reef, bring the publicity that come with it. Whats the problem with wanting to develop the economy? Money buys my food, mortgage and keeps me in corwwall. Reef will be 110% positive for the whole of Cornwall guaranteed

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    Edward, Falmouth  |  March 18 2010, 9:49AM

    Gary, I'm pretty sure that Newquay's drug problem is not down to surfing. Surfers (just ask one) don't really need to do drugs. We enjoy a drink and a party, but, as cheesey as it sounds, our highs come from surfing. Of course, there will be a few smackheads that surf (and are lawyers, teachers, council workers, bar staff), but to blame surfers for the state of Newquay's drug problem is ridiculous. Who's fault is it that Penzance has heroin problems? Fishermen because there is a lot of them? Or because it is at the end of the train line?

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    Gary, Saltash  |  March 17 2010, 2:28PM

    Why Newquay it already has the best natural surfing in the uk? And a very nasty drug problem because of this, why not develop another site, not like we only have one beach in Cornwall