A lot happened in the realm of surf parks and the future of surfing outside the ocean in 2015.
Now more than ever in the history of our planet there is a very bright light at the end of the tunnel that beckons us with manmade waves looking more and more like the real thing that we as surfers will chase to the ends of the world in search of. From the launch of the first ever commercial Wavegarden facility at Surf Snowdonia to Kelly Slater Wave Co’s recent video release of a 30+ second barreling wave there’s a lot to be excited about for 2016 and beyond.
The industry that is evolving around surf pools, surf parks and manmade waves continues to gain momentum and 2015 has undeniably put surfing outside the ocean on more peoples radars than ever before.
Top 10 Surf Park Stories of 2015
1. Kelly Slater Wave Company – The Best Manmade Wave Ever?
December 18, 2015 will be a day in the history of surfing outside the ocean that no one will soon forget. Much of the world woke up to Kelly Slaters Instagram post and video that spread around the world like wildfire. In terms of quality and performance, the best manmade wave the world has seen yet…
“This is our little secret spot (Lemoore, CA Realistically I’ve been waiting for this moment since 2005 It’s the best man made wave ever made, for sure, no doubt in my mind!” — Kelly Slater, 11x World Surfing Champion) about 110 miles from the coast. This is probably like when I won my first title and it didn’t sink in for quite a long time. Having seen that, I’m 100% confident that our team built the best wave that anyone’s ever made. It’s a freak of technology. Visit Kelly Slater Wave Co’s website here.
2. Surf Snowdonia Opens for Business
August 1, 2015 was the official grand opening of Surf Snowdonia, the world’s first commercial Wavegarden surf park facility open to the public where anyone could book a session and show up to surf. While the wave does not provide nearly the high performance barreling wave as that of KS Wave Co, it certainly does provide a fun surfing experience for nearly any ability level ranging from first time beginners to pros >> (See Red Bull Unleased below).
Unfortunately Surf Snowdonia faced several mechanical faults during their inaugural season and were forced to close 8 weeks early. With repairs and improvements well under way Surf Snowdonia plans to reopen in March of 2016. Visit their site here.
3. Red Bull Unleashed Goes Off in Wales, UK
September 18-19, 2015 was a day for surf park history. Red Bull Unleashed unveiled an entirely new format of competitive surfing on Wavegarden generated manmade waves at Surf Snowdonia in front of a 2,000 strong crowd with a roster full of professional surfers.
Sprayed with champagne on the podium, Albee Layer, who normally shuns events but was lured by the world-first nature of Red Bull Unleashed, beamed with pride. “I didn’t know what to expect coming here,” he said. It has been incredible; surfing so close to so many people; music playing; heaps of energy in the air. To get the win is crazy. If more events were like this, I’d do them!”
4. Surfing Shortlisted for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
September 28, 2015 marked one step closer to surfing in the Olympics as the Tokyo Organizing Committee recommended surfing for inclusion in the 2020 Games. “A year ago, there were a lot of changes in the IOC,” Fernando Aguerre (President of the ISA) says. “They wanted to expand the program so it’d be more relevant to the youth of the world.”
5. Doug Coors Announces Massive NLand Surf Park Plans for Austin, TX
June 1, 2015 the world’s largest surf park planned for Austin, Texas was announced by Doug Coors of the Coors Brewing family.
Set to open for Summer 2016, the NLand Surf Park will feature the world’s largest Wavegarden surfing lagoon. Roughly the size of nine football fields, the surf park’s lagoon will feature 11 surfing areas with four different surfing levels ranging from beginner to pro. The lagoon will have 1, 4, and up to 6-foot waves every 60 seconds—about 300 waves per hour. “We designed the park to tread lightly on the land and all its resources, especially water. Even in the most challenging drought conditions, we will be capable of operating the lagoon with only rainwater,” says NLand Surf Park Founder and CEO Doug Coors. “We partnered with Wavegarden, the Spanish engineering firm that invented the wave technology, because they figured out how to create incredible waves that are super energy efficient.
6. Surf Park Summit 2 Coming to Surf Expo in September 2015
The industry’s second ever Summit to accelerate the future of surfing outside the ocean is coming to Surf Expo in Orlando, Florida on September 7, 2016.
The vision is clear: build authentic, sustainable and profitable surf experiences to grow the surf industry and provide the mental, physical and emotional stoke of surfing to those that do not have access to the ocean. To do this, Surf Park Summit 2 will gather the industry’s top minds including surf park and surf pool developers, investors, operators, suppliers, academics, experts and athletes to discuss the opportunities and challenges related to the development of man-made surf destinations. Request an invitation here.
7. Surfing is Coming to the Canals of Rotterdam
July 8, 2015 the The Rotterdam Mayor and Aldermen reached a positive decision to allow construction of the Rif010 SurfLoch SurfPool installation in the Steigersgracht canal behind the Markthal.
The Netherlands second largest city will soon have perfect waves up to 1.5 metres tall in the purified waters of the River Rotte. The man-made surfing technology by SurfLoch will make it possible to enjoy all kinds of aquatic sports in the heart of the city including surfing, rafting, canoeing and scuba diving. It is expected to be completed in mid-August 2016.
8. Sky Surf Park Coming to Skyplex on Orlando’s I-Drive
October 28, 2015 a surf park in the sky is coming to Orlando as part of the International Drive Skyplex entertainment complex in 2018. The attraction will be 10 stories high and will include a beachside cafe, along with three American Wave Machines SurfStream standing wave surf machines each running different waves from family bodyboarding to barreling waves.
The new surf park is being developed by Josh & David Wallack and will be adjacent to the on-site 350 room hotel and will accompany a massive 570-foot-tall “polercoaster,” a 450-foot SkyFall drop tower and the world’s largest Perkins restaurant. Visit the Skyplex site here.
9. Subiaco Oval Could be Turned into $120m Urban Surf Destination
In a joint venture between MJA Studio and Wave Park Group, Subiaco could become home to Australia’s first surf park, utilizing “Wavegarden” wave generating technology. The Subi Surf Park proposes encompassing a diverse mixed use program accommodating a dedicated market hall and plaza, hospitality and wellness venues, up to 200 dual-aspect apartments, a permanent home for the West Australian Football Hall of Fame and a new elevated public parkland which will afford extensive views over Subiaco, Kings Park and Perth city. This visionary proposal would create an inclusive surfing urban landmark destination for both residents and tourists.
10. The Wave, Bristol Selects SurfLoch as Wave Technology Provider
June 1, 2015 Nick Hounsfield announced that his project, The Wave which is being developed in Bristol, UK will utilize SurfLoch’s SurfPool wave generating system. “For the last 5 years we have been keeping a close eye on all developments in wave-making technology and we were aware of SurfLoch and its long history of wave generation expertise. On further analysis we discovered that its new SurfPool technology could deliver 6-8 waves per minute.”
The plans include sensory gardens, healing gardens, activity areas, peaceful hideaways and kitchen gardens, as well as a natural swimming pool, café, changing facilities, accommodation, education centre and retail experience. The Wave, Bristol will also be home to a High Performance Surf Center to be delivered in collaboration with Surfing Great Britain that will help develop and support surfing athletes.
Ground-breaking and construction on the project is set to begin in 2016.
Have another story you believe should have been a part of the Top 10 Surf Park Stories and Headlines of 2015? If so, feel free to drop us a note and let us know.