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SurfPlanner Update: The world’s five newest wave pools

Welcome to our latest edition of the Surf Planner update. This month saw a flurry of activity globally with more wave pools planned for England, Texas and France. The bulk of the technology at the moment firmly rests with the folks at Wavegarden Cove.

Central England confirms Wavegarden Cove, sealing England’s title as “Wave Pool Capital of the World.” Texas comes in second with the announcement of a new development near Dallas. Once NLand is retrofitted with Kelly Slater Wave Co tech and open, Texas will have three surf-specific wave pools.

South Carolina also announced its official partnership with Wavegarden. A new Cove will go into the tourist popular Myrtle Beach area as part of a project by American Surf Parks. Combined with other wave pools going in around the south courtesy of the GroundSwell group.

In France, two new projects are underway with varying degrees of success. In Saint-Pere-En-Retz and American Wave Machines pool is planned, but various groups are protesting the location. Local farmers support the pool, and protesters wanting France to remain agricultural have camped out on the proposed pool site. The townspeople are divided in their support.

Castets, just northeast of Hossegor should see a Wavegarden Cove project come to fruition. With the support of the French Surfing Federation and a fat government budget to secure Olympic gold medals for the French, the project looks all but assured. Read on for a full rundown on the world’s latest wave pools.

Emerge Surf Birmingham


The English city of Birmingham will host a £25 million ($30USmillion) Wavegarden Cove facility. The park will be named Emerge Surf Birmingham and will house the usual facilities, a surf school, surf shop, café and restaurant, fitness studio, as well as a physio and massage room.

South Africa’s big wave legend Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker will be signing on as an ambassador as well as British pros Peony Knight and Luke Dillon. Their roles will be similar to what Occy and Barton Lynch are doing with Surf Lakes in Yeppoon – surfing, sessioning and talking to media.

The planning application is for a 15-acre site in Coleshill, approximately seven miles to the east of Birmingham’s city center. The plan includes the 5.4-acre surf lagoon, an outdoor heated swimming pool, a perimeter track for Onewheel self-balancing electric skateboards and a 1,600 sq meter hub building.

  • The Lowdown: The latest Wavegarden Cove facility to light up England boasts it is “the UK’s most inland wave pool.” The location is close enough to attract urbanites from Birmingham central and the country’s hard-core east and west coast surf set. Initial plans, subject to planning approval, show construction commencing late this year and the park opening in spring 2021.
  • WavePool Construction Progress: Planning stages, but the license is secured
  • Accessibility: Open to the public, All-ages
  • Type of wave(s): Combination
  • Wave Generating Technology: Wavegarden Cove
  • Wave’s Technical Information: Wave height: 2-6 ft, Both left and right breaks, length of wave: 30-60 yards/meters
  • Hours of operation/Seasonal Hours:
  • Price Breakdown: Stay tuned
  • Pool Structure: Full-size Wavegarden Cove
  • Waves per hour: 900-1000 waves per hour


Developers launched renderings for a wave pool at a new massive commercial development christened Sapphire Bay. The non-specific technology will be the centerpiece for the Rowlett North Texas project.

The $39million deal includes approximately 117 acres of land and a deep-water marina. Accommodations for the project include a 500-room resort hotel, along with amenities like a spa and approximately1.4 million square feet of commercial lease space.

VenuBlue’s press release stated their surf and beach club would feature a one-of-a-kind, competition-quality surfing venue. In artist’s renderings, the pool appears as a rectangular with breaking waves in the center. Speculation is that it will be the first SurfLoch open to the public.

  • The Lowdown: Tom Lochtefeld’s company Wave Loch uses pneumatic caissons to push out waves. They have announced a few projects over the years, but none have broken ground just yet. That said, neither the Rowlett project nor Surf Loch has confirmed a partnership for this project. It is purely speculation at this point. However, artist renderings look very much like Lochtefeld’s tech.
  • WavePool Construction Progress: planning stagesd
  • Accessibility: Open to the public, All-ages
  • Type of wave(s): Surf Loch test tanks show waves either all going left or all going right in a model that resembles a square version of the Wavegarden Cove
  • Wave Generating Technology: Unknown, but speculation is Surf Loch
  • Wave’s Technical Information: Performance wave with rights and lefts suited to all ability levels
  • Price Breakdown: Stay tuned
  • Pool Structure: Rectangular Concrete Pool
  • Waves per hour: unknown
Myrtle Beach wave pool plan


American Surf Parks LLC will break ground as part of a development project to inject quality surf into an area plagued by lackluster breaks. The new wave pool hopes to see completion by 2021. The Myrtle Beach City Council approved a letter of intent to build the full-size Wavegarden Cove and amphitheater on land owned by the city. With the Council’s agreement, the project is on its way.

“We’ve been working on bringing Wavegarden Cove to Myrtle Beach since October of 2016,” said Phil Dixon at American Surf Parks. “It’s taken some time to find the right piece of land for this development. We think we’ve hit a home run with this location.”

The max-sized Wavegarden Cove will cover 5 acres (about the size of 6 football fields) in a 12-acre development. It will be comparable in size to the Wavegarden Coves opening in Bristol and Melbourne. The tech will generate 1,000 waves per hour across four different skill zones. The project will include a surf school, adventure park, hotel, restaurant and a surf shop.

“Many of these visitors book surf lessons during their stay, but unfortunately, there’s only an 11% chance of surfable waves during peak summer months,” continued American Surf Park. “Even when the waves are good, it’s typically due to strong winds. These conditions are not favorable for beginner surfers and can significantly limit their progression. A surf park, powered by Wavegarden, will offer perfect waves all day, every day. Our facility will be the ideal place for learning to surf and progressing rapidly.”

  • The Lowdown: Stretch of sand informally known as “America’s Favorite Beach Destination” will host a full-size Cove. While visitors to Myrtle Beach love all things sea and sand, the surf is pretty dismal in the area due to a shallow shelf extending out to sea and limited swell window. American Surf Parks has the blessing of the city to build a park they expect to finish by 2021.
  • WavePool Construction Progress: Approved by the city. No ground has broken yet
  • Accessibility: Open to the public, All-ages
  • Type of wave(s): Combination
  • Wave Generating Technology: Wavegarden Cove
  • Wave’s Technical Information: Wave height: 2-6 ft, Both left and right breaks, rides up to 50 yards/meters
  • Hours of operation/Seasonal Hours:
  • Price Breakdown: Stay tuned
  • Pool Structure: Concrete pool and surrounding development
  • Waves per hour: 900 waves per hour
wave pool plan for Castets


The small town of Castets, 40 minutes northeast of the famed sandbanks of Hossegor, will be home to France’s newest wave pool. The project, dubbed Wavelandes Atlantic, secured 32 acres of land from the town for roughly $850,000. Officials said they will be using Wavegarden’s Cove technology.

Computer sketch-ups in the Presslib article announcing the project show a system that, while it resembles a Cove, lacks the main wave-generating engine component mounted on their central pier. Other inconsistencies are statements that the tech will produce 900 waves per hour, every press release mentioning Cove technology boasts 1,000 waves per hour. The Wavegarden project location map does not show a location in Castets.

Still, officials are claiming a Cove for the project which will cover the equivalent of almost four football fields and have room for 90 surfers at a time in six different surf zones. As it’s a larger Cove the waves can be cranked up to six-feet high.

The founder of the project is business visionary Norbert Ducrot, a former heavy from within the Airbus group. Plans also call for yoga, cross-fit, climbing walls, a skatepark and other activities. Wavelandes hopes to attract 180,000 visitors per year and create nearly 200 jobs.

  • The Lowdown: A Wavegarden Cove set to break ground in the wave-rich forests of Les Landes, the area just north of Hossegor. French news reports state the facility is being built to service the French Olympians. The team will use the pool to train for the Paris 2024 event which will run in the ocean, not in a wave pool. Securing government backing as opposed to slippery investors, the project looks to be completed by 2022..
  • WavePool Construction Progress: Just a drawing at this point
  • Accessibility: Training facility for French Olympic team, then open to the public, All-ages
  • Type of wave(s): Combination
  • Wave Generating Technology: Wavegarden Cove
  • Wave’s Technical Information: Wave height: 2-6 ft, Both left and right breaks, length of wave: under 30 yards/meters
  • Price Breakdown: Stay tuned
  • Pool Structure: Concrete Pool – Resort
  • Waves per hour: 900-1000 waves per hour


A proposed American Wave Machines-powered wave pool in the west of France is on its way with the land approved and secured for a wave pool. However, the project is receiving pushback from a French activist group and some local residents.

At issue is La Bergerie (field for sheep in French) Surf Camp, a six-hectare project planned for an agricultural area 30 minutes west of France’s sixth-largest city, Nantes.

The PerfectSwell wave pool is projected to be larger than its sister technology at BSR in Waco, Texas offering longer rides and a lower per-wave fee. The Saint-Pere-En-Retz site expects to accommodate up to 100 surfers in the water at a time and charge roughly $30-$50 depending on the session.

Activist group Terre Communes, a group working to preserve agricultural land in France, launched “ZAP la Vague.” Their main point of action has been to occupy the wave pool site long before diggers could start the build. A local farmers group stated they support the wave pool project and say the protest group is setting a dangerous precedent by occupying agricultural zones in France.

  • The Lowdown: Club-oriented access-for-all wave pool using American Wave Machines technology within 25 minutes of a major French metropolis. The project would resemble a larger BSR Surf Resort with similar frequency of waves, but longer rides.
  • WavePool Construction Progress: Planning stages
  • Accessibility: Will be open to the public, All-ages
  • Wave Generating Technology: American Wave Machines’ PerfectSwell tech
  • Wave’s Technical Information: Both Left and Right Breaks, Length of Wave: Minimum 30 yards/meters, but more likely 60 yards as it’s a bigger pool than Waco’s, Semi-hollow to hollow and performance-oriented. 120 -160 waves per hour come in three-wave sets at between 1:10-1:30 apart. Waves are waist to head-high
  • Hours of operation/Seasonal Hours:
  • Price Breakdown: The developers say they want to keep the price structure down. Latest venture is 30-40€ per hour, about half as much as comparable wave pools
  • Pool Structure: Concrete Pool – Resort
  • Waves per hour: 120-160 waves per hour

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