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Olympic Fever and a Surf Park for Paris – a closer look at La Vague Grand Paris

With the 2024 Olympics quickly approaching, Parisian businesses continue to prepare for an influx of visitors attending the summer games. La Vague Grand Paris, a surf park and redevelopment project located in Seine-St-Denis (within 30 minutes of Paris city center), is laying the groundwork to provide a surfable inland wave for Parisians stoked by the inclusion of an Olympic surfing event.

For this landmark project, the La Vague Grand Paris team selected Endless Surf as their wave technology of choice. Though a highly complex decision, Endless Surf’s assertions that they can create perfect waves in a footprint one-third smaller than competing technologies, and using one-third less water, surely played a role. Read more about Endless Surf here.

Pneumatic systems
Pneumatic systems mimic how swell is created in the ocean

In terms of the project itself, Seine-Saint-Denis is home to a demographic made up of over 28% percent of persons who migrated to the area, according to most recent census data, pointing to a diverse and unique target market for this new facility.

Though the 2024 Olympic surfing competition will be hosted in Tahiti, a French-Polynesian island located just shy of 10,000 miles away from France, La Vague Grand Paris hopes to draw surf-starved Parisians to their world-class wave pool.

The urban location of La Vague Grand Paris will serve the Parisian surf community well. Though Paris is home to the largest number of French surfers, residents are forced to travel hours to access popular surf destinations that include Normandy, Biarritz, and Hossegor. La Vague Grand Paris will offer an alternative to hours of travel for the devoted surfers that made up the Parisian community.

La Vague Grand Paris
La Vague Grand Paris
Surf Park Central reached out to project manager Baptiste Caulonque, CEO of ALKA, for a project update.

Surf Park Central: Hi Baptiste, thanks for taking the time. How was this particular site selected?
Baptiste Caulonque: The location, Seine-Saint-Denis (less than 20 miles from the Eiffel Tower), is part of the Grand Paris area. In 2016, it launched many tenders for large-size urban projects mostly across northern Paris. The area was looking for a hybrid urban project mixing housing (about 1000 units), services, retail, a natural park, and a leisure park. Linkcity, a subsidiary of France’s giant construction company Bouygues, replied and eventually won the tender.

Surf Park Central: What are some unique elements about this site?
Baptiste Caulonque: Though Seine-Saint-Denis is actually outside of Paris, it is part of the Grand Paris area. So from Paris’ city center to the site, it is nonstop urbanization. This tip of the Paris area (between Paris and its international airport Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle) is the most inhabited area in France. The land is surrounded by schools, houses, office buildings, retail space, and sports equipment. These surroundings and location make it kind of unique because it is located within an urban area a megalopolis (i.e. Paris) and, as such, acts both as an open-space water destination for all 12 million inhabitants of Grand Paris and a local sports equipment for the Seine-Saint-Denis population and schools.

Surf Park Central: What sort of construction timeline are you looking at for this project?
Baptiste Caulonque: The permitting paperwork will be submitted to the developer, namely Linkcity, to the local government during Summer 2021. From there, construction of the site should begin by the third quarter of 2022. Our hope is to have a grand opening in summer 2024 in time for the Paris Olympics, as skateboarding and surfing are on the program for the 2024 games.

Surf Park Central: What can you tell us about the surrounding surfing and residential communities?
Baptiste Caulonque: Paris has the largest surfing population. Yet surfers have to go to Normandy when surfing at the closest beaches which are a three-hour drive away. Going to Hossegor or Biarritz is an hour by plane, four hours by train and seven hours by car. La Vague Grand Paris will offer an amazing surf experience with 100% guaranteed world-class waves in pristine conditions within 30 minutes of Paris city center using public transportation. You just can’t beat that.

Surf Park Central: What else can we expect to see with La Vague Grand Paris?
Baptiste Caulonque: La Vague Grand Paris is partnering with sports associations representing surfing, skateboarding, and other sports to offer the best and safest, and best experience for everyone. Our idea is to welcome everyone, active participants and accompanying folks alike. We have key brands knocking on our door too, but we’ll address that in due course.

To learn more about this project, and others like them please visit Endless Surf’s Directory Page on Surf Park Central or directly at www.endlesssurf.com 

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