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."