ASR Ltd. is a global company that is pioneering environmentally sensitive and innovative solutions for coastal protection and artificial reef construction.
At least that’s what the ASR website has to say about themselves.
We first came across this company while reviewing a few videos on Vimeo and thought,
- what a fantastic job they’ve done for India
- When can they start putting these reefs in elsewhere?
As we looked into it a little further we could see that there was many stories about the good work the ASR team had done. Surfer Mag has a feature about the Indian wave in Kovalam. They talk about the reef built in El Sugundo in California being a flop, but that Narrowneck, Australia’s human-born reef, a great triumph becore going on to say ASR had completed another successful reef in Bournemouth.
Those last two comments got me thinking that these articles may not be right on the money.
Firstly, Narrowneck has had some mixed reports since project was started and completed. Surfing Ramps writes quite a good overall review of Narrowneck, so I won’t worry about going over something that’s already done.
Secondly, I was in Bournemouth the other week and while the swell wasn’t enormous, what was there was certainly not benefiting the surfers here.
After asking a few of the locals around Bournemouth it was clear, at least from the surfing community, that the Bournemouth ASR project is deemed a massive failure.
I went on to read another article from Surfer Magazine which again had the Kovalam Indian Reef in high regard, but taking a closer look at the comments from the people affected provided a different story.
Of course these are just comments on a story, however comments are the voice of the people in the real world and are often a good showing of the real feeling in the community.
Some of the comments included,
Some points of clarification: 1) This particular beach at Kovalam does not have an erosion problem. The reef is for surfing. 2) Both the Narrowneck and Bournemouth reefs are failures – they dont produce good waves as promised – read the surfer forums not the ASR propaganda. 3) Opunake and Mt Maunganui Reefs in NZ dont provide quality surf waves either and most of the locals want them removed. 4) ASR reef bags are made from woven plastic, and the NZ reef bags are now tearing and generally breaking up. There is a marine pollution hazard looming. 5) If you placed old car bodies in the ocean you would get way more than 200 species colonising them. By comparison the plastic bag reefs are homogeneous and just create an ugly monoculture, hardly the ecological enhancement that ASR promote. 6)ASR’s reefs have been oversold and they just dont work
but is then immediately questioned by someone who is for the reef.
clarifying the clarifier: 1)Kovalam Beach does have an erosion problem. The Kovalam Reef is primarily a shore protection structure. 2)ASR did not build Narrowneck. ASR designed Narrowneck and the reef was never built to full design specifications due primarily to the construction method used. The Narrowneck issue is complicated by the hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of sand fill that was also placed on that beach. Narrowneck is primarily an erosion control and beach stabilization structure and it has performed well in that capacity. Search the scientific literature on that, it exists. 3)As for The Mount Reef, contractors were unable to build to the design specified by ASR. That is the primary reason that it does not work as good as it should. However it does work at time and it is ridden when it does. 4)The geotextile containers used for most marine applications, including submerged reefs and breakwaters is a non-woven material. A woven material was used on Pratte’s Reef and it disinte
4) (continued) No containers on the Mount, Boscombe or Narrowneck have split or are otherwise breaking up. Go have a look for yourself. 5) Do you have any supporting evidence that rusting car bodies underwater will support more than 200 new species? The colonization aspect is a fortunate by product of this particular type of construction. Other designs can optimize this aspect if desired, i.e. ReefBalls, which are way better than rusty cars. 6)Reefs work better with larger volumes and sizes. The reefs that have been built so far have been approximately 1/10 the size of traditional coastal structures such as jetties, groynes or other breakwaters. When one is permitted and funded at a different size and scale, the results will be much better.
We came across the Multi-Purpose Surf Reef Feasibility Study Report which was created by Coastal Tech as an independent unbiased body.
I think the final review of Indias reef is best covered by Pan K and SteveF plus a bunch of other comments from interested parties in Surfer Mags other review of India First Artifical Reef…Works (although apparently it doesn’t)
What is your opinion? Should we be building artificial reefs and help waves or stop erosion? Should the focus be on improving marine life? Should we all just leave the Ocean to it’s own devices, and if a perfect wave decides to move 100km down the coast and leave the hotels built around it behind then why should be try and stop it?
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