Not all swell with Airwave

Nicole SalmeriSouth Western Times

The world’s first inflatable surf reef has suffered a setback after it was damaged during the installation process last week.

Waveco and the installation team successfully towed the structure into the water on Thursday morning, however by Friday, due to prevailing weather conditions, there were difficulties in anchoring the Airwave to the ocean floor.

The change in conditions led to the Airwave becoming damaged.

The instal team will assess the damage to the structure and will evaluate whether it can be repaired or if it is better to replace it with a new structure.

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Airwave founder Troy Bottegal was upbeat despite the setback this week.

“We had a contingency plan if damage was to occur during the first install and the team remain very confident of a positive outcome,” Mr Bottegal said.

“This is just the first lap of the race.”

The Airwave will 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.

City of Bunbury chief executive officer Mal Mr Osborne said he believed the Airwave trial would be successful.

“There has been genuine interest with people standing at the beach watching the progress ... which has been great to see,” Mr Osborne said.

“As a city it’s been an exciting project to be part of and we are confident, like everyone else involved, that this first trial will be successful and a positive for Bunbury in the long term.”

Mr Osborne said the team had been working hard to get the structure into the ocean.

“Troy Bottegal (Airwave founder) and his team have been working extremely hard over the last few days to put an inflatable bladder into the ocean which is no mean feat,” Mr Osborne said.

“This is not just about bringing people into Bunbury, this is as much for our own community to be able to surf and take their kids down after school or work and enjoy.

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