We all know that man made structures, such as jetties, inlets, and sea walls, can create and destroy surf breaks. In Volusia County, Florida they are proposing an artificial reef that could not only offer a great surfing spot, but also minimize beach erosion and provide a healthy habitat for sea life.
This is not a new idea, and in fact artificial reefs for surfing have already been built in Australia and New Zealand. According to the Orlando Sentinel, this proposal for Volusia is in its early stages of being discussed. The Sentinel reports that there is some optimism among local surfers as there has been early interest among the advisory board.
The debate on such issues of ocean engineering really comes down to cost benefit. Can we create structure that not only saves money, but provides an area of recreational value? Many beach towns along the east coast spend millions and millions of dollars to keep their beaches wide to maintain the migration of tourism that drives the local economy. Hopefully, artificial reefs can be a win win for everyone.