Airwave trial on hold following unexpected damage

Monday, 16 December 2019 

The installation of the Airwave – the world’s first inflatable surf reef – began on Wednesday 11 December at Bunbury’s Back Beach. 

Waveco and the install 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. 

Unfortunately the change in conditions led to the Airwave becoming damaged.  

The Airwave is designed to be installed in calmer conditions than was experienced last week and once anchored to the ocean floor can withstand strong swell and inclement weather. 

The install team is currently assessing 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.  

City of Bunbury CEO Mal Osborne said based on evidence and the effect of wave movement on Friday with the structure partially inflated Waveco and the City of Bunbury are confident of a successful first trial. 

“Troy Bottegal 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.  

“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.” 

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.” 

A repair or replacement of the Airwave will be at no cost to the City of Bunbury. 

The trial site remains an exclusion zone and the community are advised to avoid the area while the Airwave remains in place.