We partner with local stakeholders to preserve coastlines and habitat while creating new economic resources in the form of world class surf breaks.
We do this by efficiently sculpting the seabed to increase marine habitat and native biomass, reduce coastal erosion, and improve surfing opportunities.
By integrating recreation into project designs, the resulting economic development can reduce the need for external philanthropy or government funding.
The goal: holistic ecological and economic stewardship, funded through the creation of world class surf breaks.
* New world class surf breaks
* Improved marine habitat
* Increased recreational opportunities
* Shoreline resilience
* Coastal habitat restoration
* Economic development
We use additive and subtractive methods to benefit surfing conditions, shoreline management, economic development, and habitat restoration.
We partner with local communities, governments and other stakeholders to understand their goals and effectively monitor and manage the coastline over the long term.
To design optimized seabed configurations and to achieve desired outcomes, we collect wind, wave, tidal and other geophysical datasets, assess habitats and determine ecological significance, and undertake high-fidelity computer and scaled physical modeling.
Using this approach, ecologically positive and economically scalable projects are possible for the first time.
Seabed sculpting is the reshaping of the ocean floor’s surface through the removal or addition of material. Reshaping can be designed to create new habitat for native marine life, reduce the intensity of wave impact on ecosystems, reduce coastal erosion, and change the way that waves break to make them viable for recreation and tourism.
With habitat loss in our oceans and sea level rise accelerating, habitat creation and shoreline management are important tools in the fight for native ecosystems. Our projects have habitat improvement and shoreline management as their central features.
Historically, the primary bottleneck in scaling these efforts was funding. We incorporate recreational resource creation into projects, typically in the form of surfing waves, to attract tourism and economic development to a project area. Regional economic growth helps projects pay for themselves, removing the financial bottlenecks around habitat creation and shoreline management.
Our team’s central goal is to have a positive impact on the marine and coastal environment and improve the lives of local residents. We will not perform projects where we believe there is risk for negative long-term impacts.
Therefore, we restrict project sites to those with minimal or no marine life and low biodiversity. When marine life is present, we will only consider projects where there is the ability for native marine life to return and thrive beyond its prior state following sculpting and new habitat creation.
In some countries, the creation of a surfing wave can automatically trigger marine protection of an area area. By incorporating waves into seabed sculpting designs, new marine reserves can be created, further increasing a project’s positive long-term impact.
The construction of artificial structures in the marine environment for ecological enhancement dates back over 5,000 years.
These artificial “reefs” can be made of cement, rocks, or other materials, and their geometries can be specifically designed to provide habitat for fish, oysters or other marine species.
Artificial surf breaks built to date have demonstrated the ability to increase viable habitat and increase native biomass, even when not intended in their design.
Coastal erosion can be mitigated not only through the creation of large, expensive and impactful structures like jetties, but also through the redirection of wave energy.
By using sculpting to achieve a specific seabed profile, waves can be refracted away from vulnerable shorelines. Wave refraction and wave breaking patterns influence local currents can be designed to provide beach resilience and reduce coastal erosion.
The field of natural resource economics has investigated and documented the impact of recreational waves on coastal environments and has found large economic benefit from the presence of surfable waves.
Based on these studies, small areas with high quality waves can see direct economic benefit exceeding $10M per year from surf tourism. Globally, the economic value of good surfing waves is estimated to be ~$50B/year.
Our projects incorporate recreational waves to harness economic development for the funding of marine habitat creation and coastal management.
To achieve the benefits of seabed sculpting while minimizing cost and impact, minimal possible material volumes are moved. These material volumes are typically single-digit percentages of sea floor prominence within the project area.
The inert material removed through subtractive sculpting can be used in many ways, with its best use varying by project. One use in the water is relocation to a suitable area to create stable and complex marine habitat. One use on land is increasing ground heights to combat sea level rise.
In locations where native marine life is at risk from rising ocean temperatures, inert seabed material can be upcycled into reef blocks, populated with native reef species, and placed in deeper, cooler waters to help preserve local ecosystems.
During the project, any sessile (immobile) species identified in baseline ecology surveys will be avoided or transplanted to nearby habitat where they can grow and thrive.
The planet has hundreds of thousands of kilometers of coastline. However, only a small fraction of the coast has surfable waves where three factors combine: swell, favorable winds and a suitable seabed profile.
Swell and wind cannot be changed but the seabed can be modified through sculpting. This can influence both the speed at which a wave peels and the intensity with which it breaks. By shaping the seabed to change these two characteristics, a violently breaking wave zone can be transformed into a gentle surfing wave.
There are numerous examples of popular surf breaks caused by changing the seabed profile, including the Super Bank starting at Snapper Rocks (Qld, Aus.), Sebastian Inlet (Fl, USA), the Wedge (Ca. USA) and Ala Moana Bowls (Hi, USA).
Over the past 25 years these concepts have been demonstrated with the construction of artificial surfing reefs and wave pools, which have used more advanced tools to achieve more precise designs.
Using advanced digital and physical modeling we design new seabed profiles with specific wave breaking patterns, habitat features and shoreline management in mind.
While artificial surf reef projects have succeeded in creating new surf breaks, their success has often been short lived. This is due to the challenges of building new structures in the surf zone and their approach of only adding material to achieve a new seabed profile. Many of these first-generation artificial surfing reefs were made of sand filled geotextile containers, which have limited lifetimes in the marine environment.
Recently, more traditional construction methods using large rock have been used and are being shown to be durable. Seabed sculpting takes this one step further, shaping the rock of the ocean bottom into an optimized shape to achieve even greater longevity.
Our team includes the best group of surf science and shoreline management experts in the world, including doctoral level coastal oceanography scientists. Our team has published the vast majority of literature on physical surf science.
We have decades of experience in state of the art numerical and physical modelling techniques to design and monitor surf breaks and multipurpose reefs and to consider the impacts of development on existing surf breaks.
Our confidential database of over 50 world-class surf breaks contains the bathymetries (seabed shapes), peel angles and breaking intensities of many world class waves. This database gives us the ability to calibrate designs on all wave types from learner to expert.