Morning all. Ok a decent take on this thing from someone who can see it from his house, worked in fundraising, has used it & snorkelled all over the thing.
1st up, at this stage it's not as good as you think. Almost all of the web based info you'll see is generated from either ASR who are very good at self promotion because they are off chasing huge contracts offshore for wave pools etc and they're trying to maintain credability. And secondly the web site above is partially targeted at further sponsors in the attempt to get more money to finish the current project and pay for monitoring work when done.
The project was very mis-managed from the start, I guess the lesson learned with this for us all is if you do get a large group of enthuastic & excited surfers together & start fund raising for a reef is to employ a proper project manager - one who does not surf, who is not emotionally involved with the end result and with an engineering background. Sure you'll have to pay them a salary while they work on it...but you'll get a proper, well-resolved plan of installation that'll not waste a fortune. In our case I thing we wasted about, maybe 100k or more.
They started laying the thing about this time last year & only got one side down in the water, the bags were pumped about 70 % full on the left hand side of the arrowhead and then a series of gear failures & inclement weather (the cyclone season begins here bout Nov) basically caused endless trips out to pump with nothing happening...meanwhile the divers & staff (bout 12 at a time) all have to be paid...I call this bad project management & wasted a fleshin fortune. If they'd done it all March-May they'd have got the thing done in one go & fully complete.
Anyway, the above stalled the project for almost a year due to running out of money.
Next up several local organisations funded the rest of the money, and when they went out to lay the second side of the reef (the right) on the seabed in September the whole bathymertry of the seabed had changed (due to the currents & eddies caused by the half build reef on the other side) and there was work to be done there to re-expose the sea anchors to hold the nylon lattice to the sea floor.
Luckily they did get several weeks of almost totally calm conditions & got the whole thing laid & almost pumped full. There is only some minor work to do on the right at the head of the thing, and the semi covered with sand left hand side needs a grunty swell to clear off sand so they can completely fill that side....but I can't see this happening anytime soon as cyclone season starts soon & all the goodwill they had with using a particular local company for their divers & hardware has almost gone due to stuffing them around & exhausting their divers working 12 days straight doing long hours in the water.
Anyway - so what's it like.
Well, it's a reef. It's an arrowhead shape facing out to sea, it's at lowest astronomical tide about 16 inches under the water and is made from what looks like huge sewn carpet sausages tied to a nylon webbing secured to the sea floor pumped full of sand. floating over it with a mask & snorkel it looks like huge pork sausages. The cool thing is sea life is all over it, within days of the second side being laid shellfish were adhering to it. There is crayfish & all sorts in the crevases & fish too.
It does work for surfing although in truth at the moment it's such a critical takeoff & fast wave that most cannot surf it properly at this stage, perhaps when the head of the thing is fully pumped and sand builds up on the seaward side of it it'll mellow out the takeoff. It's a good lid wave however. At this stage we've not had any serious swell on it to really see this engineering masterpeice in action, that'll come in a month or so.
I'll fill you all in when things start happening....
Meanwhile I remain open minded on the whole thing. It was a perfectly good & somewhat shifty beachbreak before...and as Roy commented this thing has changed the whole bathymetry of the coast nearby. And not for the better. We'll see.