I wrote a post at Treehugger a while back about a new green surfing magazine in the UK, and made a not-so-subtle crack about the name of the environmental organization Surfers Against Sewage (and, hey, it is kind of funny — the organization itself clearly has a sense of humor, though). Regardless, SAS, a British organization, has announced its support of the Wave Hub project, which will harness wave and tidal power off of England’s southwestern coast. Some surfers are concerned about the effect of wave energy devices on the quality of waves for surfing, but SAS assures its members that effects will be minimal:
In response to the environmental impact assessment section concerning the impact on surfing waves the model results show worst case scenario shows up to a 13% reduction in wave height along a small section of the north coast, with more likely scenarios showing up to around a 5% reduction in wave height. SAS helped ensure this study was carried out and believes any project like this should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Any effect on the sediment transport regime looks like it will be unnoticeable against the background of sediment flux that occurs naturally due to the ever-changing wave conditions.
This suggests that the wave hub will not result in a catastrophic loss of surfable wave resource.
Under most conditions, it is doubtful that the effect will be noticeable by surfers at all, given the small magnitude of the height reductions in question and the fact that wave height is only one factor in determining the quality of a surfable wave.
The occasional larger reduction in wave height at some locations of up to 13% (i.e. worst case scenario), would still be viewed by us as being within acceptable limits, considering the nature of the proposed project.
While I have no idea whether SAS’s support is germane to the project (probably not), it is good to see the organization recognizes the big picture, and is willing to support the idea that this is a win-win for surfers (and others, of course). So, hang ten, dude… and thanks for sharing the waves…
Via Eco Street