Here’s a slick little shelter concept that’s aimed at protecting beachgoers from the vicissitudes of an English summer.

Designer Emma Harris of Wakefield, U.K., says the Surf Shelter, found on Behance, was inspired by crashing waves and seashells. The exterior of the shelter, which looks like the segmented carapace of a pill bug or potato bug, is made of a lightweight composite fabric. Overlaying that is a single segment of solar fabric. Two other netted segments capture cool breezes to make sultry days bearable. The entire bottom of the shelter forms a wind tunnel of sorts which captures the kinetic energy of wind and redirects it to the handheld electronics charging station in the carapace hinge.

Surf Shelter
image via Emma Harris/Behance

Harris, a member of the HJC Design group, styled the Surf Shelter to stand out from the usual welter of beach umbrellas and other windbreaks, and to funnel blowing beach sand away from the inhabitants. The solar and wind power is aimed at keeping communications (cell phones) active, the tunes coming and the beer cold. In addition, the Surf Shelter folds up easily, even on windy days, thanks to the fan-type mechanisms on each side.

While the Surf Shelter is nowhere near as luxurious (or as rigid) as the Leav, another vacation shelter, or as durable as the U.S. Army’s TEMPER fly, a 16-by-20-foot solar tent which generates a full 800 watts of solar power via thin-film photovoltaics, the Surf Shelter is distinctive, with a configuration that allows unfolding only a few segments or unfolding the entire carapace. Definitely an A+ for ingenuity, if only a B for color choice; the green that looks pretty on shade grass or budding leaves is jarring in the context of a blue-gray ocean and white or tan beach sands. I vote for a more neutral color, because the Surf Shelter is so striking it will stand out even if it is the same color as the sand.

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