Pratte's Reef, California


Product:         Geotube® Marine Structures Technology

Application:   Breakwaters

Location:       Pratte's Reef, El Segundo, California

Installation:   1999


The Challenge:

Following the controversial construction of a protective rock jetty for a Chevron marine terminal and underwater oil pipelines, the surf quality at Dockweiler Beach in the Santa Monica Bay was adversely affected.  As part of a wave mitigation agreement, an artificial surfing reef was to be built to restore what was lost -- surfable waves.

The Solution:

Geotube® marine containment technology was selected to build the first artificial surfing reef in the United States.  A total of 200 Geobag® containers were used to build a V-shaped breakwater 100 yards offshore from Dockweiler State Beach.  The units were filled with eight cubic yards of sand on shore, and then transported by barge to the project site [photo 2].  Each Geobag® container was lifted and placed on the sea floor by a barge-mounted crane using a specially designed lifting harness [photos 3-5].  Two layers of bags were placed in 12 to 15 feet of water to form the new reef. 

The Results:

The man-made reef did produce rideable waves in the area.  However, the breakwater structure did not reach the goal of mitigating the degraded surf.  As of early 2006, the artificial surfing reef failed to improve surf quality or create the intended waves. 

According to an official at the Surfrider Foundation, the reef was not large enough to focus the swells into nicely breaking waves.  The artificial reef could not replace what nature had originally designed in Santa Monica Bay.