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Surf Park Summit 2022 Sets New Attendance Record

Another successful Surf Park Summit is in the books. This year’s event was our largest ever, bringing together hundreds of executives, investors, developers, park operators and wave technology leaders, all focused on learning more about the surf park industry and making connections to progress the development of surf pools and parks around the world. 

The year’s Summit focused on new topics and challenges the industry faces as the world of surf parks and wave pools continues to boom. Billions of dollars are now invested in the future of surfing, and with that comes modern growing pains that were the focus of many discussions.

Make Waves with Networking

The annual event is held at the Scripps Seaside Forum in San Diego. Guests came from as close as down the road in California, to around the world, from Australia, Europe and more. A shining moment of Surf Park Summit is the focus on networking and bringing together this growing group of people focused on creating controlled waves.

Summit once again helped many attendees get deals done to help further their surf park and wave pool projects. The event is designed for leaders, developers and investors in the world of surf parks looking to move their projects forward or expand their client lists.

“There’s a really good energy here and a lot of people who have developed relationships over the years and are here in physical person. So that’s really cool,” said Bryan Dickerson, editor and founder of WavePoolMag.

Others reacted through social media with the impact the in-person event had on their businesses.

Good times at the Surf Park Summit this week,” posted Chris Gallardo with the Inland Surf Company. “This was my third time attending the event and each year it proves to be a worthy investment towards my surf park vision and project. As a dreamer/doer and entrepreneur the ability to stay current on the latest trends and technologies, opportunity to learn from surf park developers and operators, and to be able to network with an incredibly talented and passionate group of individuals is priceless.”

Alex Bergman with Beach Street Development, had a similar experience and said, “such an awesome experience and privilege to present HTX Surf Club on behalf of Beach Street Surf at the 2022 Surf Park Summit. Thank you Surf Park Central for an incredibly worthwhile event this year in San Diego.”

Focused on the Industry Today and Tomorrow

The official day one of the event started Monday with a keynote from Surf Park Central’s Jess Ponting, PhD, a leading sustainable surf tourism researcher and consultant at San Diego State University. Ponting discussed recent struggles new parks have faced with public concerns over water usage. Still, he did note that the industry has an opportunity to control this narrative and design with sustainability in mind.

“Negative press around water has thrown a significant curveball. It’s a testament of the need to get way out ahead of these issues and have water and carbon neutrality baked into plans. As well as a solid, authentic narrative of how it will be achieved,” said Ponting. “Meanwhile, here at Surf Park Central, we’ve continued to produce B2B content, grow our insiders’ community, forge new partnerships and connect industry stakeholders.”

Sustainability remained an important topic with a panel later that day that featured both environmental groups like Sustainable Surf and STOKE and developers and architecture firms like BAR Architects and AO, who have focused on sustainability from the first draft of blueprints. 

Other popular conversations discussed evaluating surf park investments, planning and designing surf parks, lessons learned in daily operations, and how innovation paves the way for the next generation of surfers.

At this year’s Surf Park Summit, there were new opportunities to learn about the latest wave technology with their first-ever lightning round. Day one of the lightning round focused on dynamic waves and featured companies Endless Surf, Wavegarden, Surf Lakes, Surfloch, Westlake, Swell MFG and Olas Surfing Technology. Day two highlighted standing waves with brands such as EpicSurf, FlowSurf, YourWave, Ka’ana Wave Co. and UNIT Surf Pool. The conversations focused not only on replicating the ocean or river waves but also creating some of the best waves for surfers. 

“You want to come here to connect with suppliers, investors and other developers, and that is exactly what happened,” said Aaron Trevis, the founder & CEO of Surf Lakes, on the company’s success with the surf park community. “We’ve been really pleased with the connections we’ve made. We’ve got now a number of projects and licensees in America so they’ve come along as well, and they’re really pleased with the whole thing.” 

Surfing Legends Share Their Insight

While Surf Park Summit focuses heavily on the business side of creating human-made waves, no surf event would be complete without a long list of surfing legends sharing their feedback. 

VIPs had the first chance to meet with other executives and surf leaders at the Sunday event at San Diego’s famous Bird’s Surf Shed. Surfing legend Shaun Tomson spoke at the event and shared his insight on surfing and life ahead of signing copies of his new book, The Surfer and the Sage.

Other big-name surfers such as Shane Beschen, Ian Cairns, Damien Hobgood, CJ Hobgood and Kolohe Andino spoke to a crowd during the yearly Breakfast of Surfing Legends.

Chris Cote hosted the breakfast and spoke to the surfers about the importance of bringing surfing to new places and how that’s creating opportunities for surfers that once never existed.

“With more surf parks opening, with more of these wave pools building around, you can imagine a kid in Montana seeing the flyer [that say’s] Kolohe Andino is coming to our local park,” said Cote. “I’ve seen the level of progression increase so much just by seeing that in person. So, with any surfer coming to your local town, that you can see them in person, that’s how you’re supposed to do it.”

Winners of the 2022 Surf Park Awards

Highlighting Making a Difference

Summit continued the tradition of concluding the event with the Surf Park Awards. This year three separate “Waves of Innovation” awards were presented to winners who showcased essential topics that included progression and innovation, impact in sustainability and democratizing access to waves.

Winners and finalists include: 

Sustainability

  • 1st place UNIT Surf Pool
  • 2nd place Endless Surf

Progression and Innovation

  • 1st place Wavegarden
  • 2nd place URBNSURF

Democratizing Access

  • 1st place ADG/EpicSurf
  • 2nd place Alaia Group, Alaia Bay

Planning for Surf Park Summit 2023 is already in the works. Be sure to register for the Surf Park Central newsletter or become an INSIDERS member to stay updated.

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