Wednesday, 30 October 2019
The world’s first inflatable surf reef is on track for installation later next month with the design and construction of the prototype now complete.
The Airwave is a two-metre high, dome-shaped bladder which is twelve metres in diameter and weighs in excess of 1.2 tonnes in its current form.
It will soon be air-freighted to Australia and installed by Waveco (the company behind the Airwave technology) and a team of local and Perth specialists at Bunbury’s Back Beach.
Filled with a combination of sand, water and air, the Airwave will be installed by the dive team operating from a barge and the first install will record data including the effects of sand movement to monitor success.
The design has been shaped to mimic a surf reef’s shallow leading edge, lifting, peaking and hollowing the swell to create a concave tapered wall of water or wave that peels across the inshore shallow water near to the beach.
It has been constructed from an environmentally safe compound in order to have minimal adverse effects on the surrounding environment.
Airwave founder Mr Troy Bottegal who has been working on the concept for more than 10 years was excited about putting the planning and preparation into practice next month.
“As the first prototype of its kind there is much to learn logistically from the first installation and this will continue right up until the day, he said.
“As with all first time ventures there are many nervous moments along the way, however the team are 100% committed to the success of the project.
“I believe a successful installation will add another significant tourism and recreation asset to the Bunbury region.”
Mr Bottegal has recently purchased a house in Bunbury near the test site so he can oversee the first ever installation.
Mayor Gary Brennan was also confident the Airwave would bring great benefit to Bunbury if successful.
“This is a unique and exciting initiative for Bunbury Council to be involved with and a successful first installation will give even more reason to visit our great city,” Mr Brennan said.
Bunbury City Council is supporting the Airwave through a sponsorship agreement to the value of $75,000.
The City is currently installing a camera at the Back Beach location to capture a 24/7 high definition feed of the Airwave which will be streamed here
The beach area will be closed off during the installation period for public safety however regular updates will be provided.
The concept has attracted significant interest from far and wide including state and national surfing bodies and international marine studies students.