Geraldton’s surf community is combining forces to push a proposal to construct an artificial reef at Back Beach to enhance wave breaks. A new Facebook group promoting the proposal has gained more than 600 members. Geraldton Multi-Purpose Reef Project was established to call for the development of an artificial reef that will transform poor quality, naturally breaking waves to consistent, high-performance waves off Geraldton’s Back Beach. As well as creating a quality surf break year-round for all types of surfers, including foil, kite, wind and body surfers, the reef would also benefit divers and fishers when the weather permitted, as well as young families using the beach because the reef would form a sheltered lagoon. The community has been calling for the reef for years, with feasibility studies undertaken in 2004 and 2019, however a designated group has formed to raise awareness and address any negative views on the project. Organiser Ian Robertson said Geraldton’s Back Beach was a unicorn location for the construction of a reef and it would create tourism opportunities for the city. “We believe that from an economic perspective, with the extra money coming to the region from tourism, and Geraldton going on the map with what we believe to be the most exciting project on the Western Australian coastline, there will be a significant financial boost to the town which is going to benefit every business in the region,” he said. Plans consist of a 140x140x140m triangular shaped limestone rock structure located 240m from the beach, which can be seen from the Chris Mainwaring lookout hut. Mr Robertson said the low-maintenance reef would involve no ongoing costs once established, and estimated the project would cost about $10 million. “We would like to put in place our own incorporated body, independent of all other groups so that we can apply for our own grants in our own right,” he said. “Because of the nature of Back Beach, we’ve got very straight sandbanks and a lot of closed out waves. If we had a dollar for every time a surfer sat up on that lookout and thought ‘wow, if only we had a reef out there’, we would have enough money to fund the project.” City of Greater Geraldton mayor Jerry Clune said he was aware there were calls for an artificial reef for years and it was another great, community-led project. “Quite often the engineering and everything behind a lot of these things are very involved,” he said. “They’re not just chuck a few rocks in the water and she’ll be right, there’s a lot of science behind how they actually go in place.” He encouraged the passionate community to establish a formalised group. “I‘d like to see Facebook pages become a little bit more formalised into a group so they actually put some skin in the game,” he said. To lend support, join the group at facebook.com.