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Top 5 chlorine wave pools for surfing

Wanting to go wave pool surfing but still waiting for an invitation to Kelly Slater’s pool? Don’t hold your breath. But know that waterparks and hotels have built some pretty sweet pools for decades now.

Typically this first generation of wave pools were chlorinated monstrosities designed to undulate tourists between mai tais and $15 smoothies. In short, they were designed for floaties not floaters.

Occasionally during construction or design, the financer or marketing department would say “Make it bigger! Better!” Typically this was followed by the engineers just scaling everything up and producing one very expensive and very spectacular closeout.

But, a few first generation wave pools got it right. Siam Waterpark, Seagaia, Typhoon Lagoon, Sunway and Wadi Adventures raised the bar for surfing in chlorine wave pools.

These wave pool surfing locations sparked our collective imaginations and fostered the dream that someday there’d be a place nearby where you could schedule a surf session.

So we tapped the data in our WavePoolMag Surf Planner to bring you this comprehensive list of the Top 5 Chlorine Wave Pools. Hopefully, this will tide you over until Kelly sends that invite.

5 Wave pool surfing options of the Chlorine kind

Wadi Adventure – United Arab Emirates

Sure the wave pool surfing world is focused on Lemoore and the upcoming Surf Ranch Pro, but way back when the most rad wave pool on the planet (next to the extinct Ocean Dome in Japan – but more on that later) was Wadi Adventure in Dubai.

This is the wave made famous in Dion Agius’ “Electric Blue Heaven” clip. It’s a steep right or left off a wall that weakens a bit as it spreads out to the center of the pool.

Dion and Globe hired models to frolic in the shallows during the shoot. But for most of us, a simple iPhone slow-mo will suffice. It’s a great wave and it’s plenty rip-able.

 


The Lowdown:
The wave made famous in Dion Agius’ “Electric Blue Heaven” clip is accessible and surf-able now. It’s a steep right or left off a wall that weakens a bit as it spreads out to centre pool.

WavePool Construction Progress: Completed
Accessibility: Reservation Process
Type of wave(s): Unknown
Wave Generating Technology: Murphy’s Waves
Wave’s Technical Information: Fast right and left off a steep wall that backs off before a dumping closeout on the shallows.
Hours of operation/Seasonal Hours: By reservation
Price Breakdown: $18 park entry then $48 for each one-hour surf session.
 Six surfers maximum per session. Each surfer gets about six waves in the 60 minute session that is split with half rights and half lefts.
 V.I.P. style – the wave pool is open only for you and your friends $460
 Private rental of the pool including personalised wave settings $400. Semi Private – private access to the advanced wave but not the near shore beginner waves $275.
Pool Structure: Concrete Pool – Resort
Waves per hour: Unknown
Atmosphere: Family waterpark, but also raving nightclub for private parties
Apparel: Spring suit, Bikini, Boardshorts

More info at the Wadi Adventure website

TripAdvisor review said: Even though this wonderful picturesque oasis in the desert has a zip line, world class kayaking, I was there to ride the incredibly perfect man-made generated waves. The waves are 2 meters high and perfect, either a right break or a left break. The session is for up to 6 surfers at a time and lasts for 55 minutes. The wave does not tube, but it is consistently perfect each time.

 

The Wave Palace at Siam Waterpark – Canary Islands

Boldly boasting “the biggest artificial waves in the world!” on their website, The Wave Palace at Siam Waterpark claims it can generate surf up to 9-feet high. There are heaps of wave pool surfing clips out there capturing some really fun looking sessions. To get some surf here you will need to email and suss out the details: rp@siampark.net or call 902 06 00 00.

The pool has starred in a few surf videos, most notably a Volcom session with groms and rising UK star Lucy Campbell. But the most comprehensive clip that gives a real feel for the place is a Spanish bro-fest. The guys rented the pool and walk viewers through ten minutes of the Siam Park experience complete with high-fives and hoots.

 

The Lowdown on Siam Wavepark

The wave has been an Atlantic ocean secret spot hidden on an island of great natural surf. But it’s a solid destination for European wave pool hunters looking for something exotic in an already exotic location – the Canary Islands.

WavePool Construction Progress: Completed
Accessibility: Reservation Process rp@siampark.net or call 902 06 00 00
Wave Generating Technology: Murphy’s Waves
Wave’s Technical Information: Fast right and left off a steep wall that backs off before a dumping closeout on the shallows.
Hours of operation/Seasonal Hours: By reservation
Price Breakdown: For surfing after regular business hours, must call or email: rp@siampark.net or call 902 06 00 00. Prices estimated between $52.00-$880.00 – Kids under 6 free, special pricing kids 6-11, but not sure if that applies to surfing.
Pool Structure: Concrete Pool – Resort
Waves per hour: Unknown
Atmosphere: Family waterpark, but also a raving nightclub for private parties
Apparel: Spring suit, Bikini, Boardshorts

More info on the Siam website

A Volcom marketing manager recounted the grom experience: “The place is like a forgotten land somewhere in the jungle, a neverland that does not exist. But it does!!! As you arrive to the pool, the quality and color of water remind me of the best exotic surf locations like Polynesia and Mentawis…Except that it is flat! All of the sudden a gong, then another one warn that the wave is coming…”

 

Honorable mention: Seagaia Ocean Dome – Miyazaki Japan

This first generation wave pool had some great wave pool surfing potential when the controllers cranked the nobs up to 11. A mid-2000s clip of then super groms Owen Wright and Julian Wilson became somewhat mythical in status.

It was the world’s first glimpse into good surf in a wave pool. The wave itself resembles the wedges of the BSR Surf Ranch in Waco. Because this chlorinated wave pool was not designed specifically for surfing, recorded sessions are rare.

Opened in 1993, this indoor waterpark in Miyazaki was part of a sprawling Sheraton resort. The waterpark peaked in popularity in the nineties and was scuttled in 2007 to make way for renovations. The roof above the Hawaiian themed beach and pool was retractable but mostly remained closed to maintain water and air temps in the mid-80s.

Status: Closed
Season: Still Totally Closed and now we’re sad
Contact: Closed! No. No. Damn! We Miss Ocean Dome!
Prices: Still Closed. But we’ll pay anything for a chance to surf Ocean Dome!

 

Typhoon Lagoon – Florida USA

Perhaps the most well-known wave pool surfing facility (pre-Kelly Slater Surf Ranch). This spot is a longstanding venue for VIP parties during Orlando’s Surf Expo. Typhoon Lagoon has also hosted several US amateur training programs and even a Quiksilver King of the Groms event in 2010.

Built in 1989 the park’s wave machine produces a fast right or left on takeoff followed by a mushy shoulder that backs off until the wave closes out on the inside bar. In short, it’s like 95 percent of real world beach breaks.

But the wave’s potential is there. Small and light-footed surfers with higher volumed boards (like Quiksilver’s groms) will get the most use here. You’ll need to rent the park before or after standard operating hours if you want to surf.


The Lowdown on Typhoon Lagoon

The pool generates roughly one 6-foot-wave every 90 seconds, a burgery right and left off the deep end that rushes into a closeout on the inside bar. (Be careful many reviewers complained of getting scraped on the pool bottom.) Typhoon Lagoon offers Surf School lessons and the water park can be rented out for private surfing.

WavePool Construction Progress: Completed in 1989
Accessibility: Open to paying public
Type of wave(s): Lefts and rights, fast on the takeoff with a sloping shoulder and an inside closeout.
Wave Generating Technology: Murphy’s Waves
Technical Information: 2.5 acres in size with 3 million gallons of water.
Hours of operation/Seasonal Hours: Open year round 10am-5pm but no surfing during those hours.
Price Breakdown: $165 for lessons. No price listed for free surf. Park admission is $65 for 1-day pass. There are surf lessons before the park opens and after it closes. Space is extremely limited but you can make surfing reservations online at the link below. Each 3-hour session comes with 100 waves – broken into sets of 25. The renter gets to choose the wave settings.
Pool Structure: Beware of the surface of the pool bottom which has a textured, almost abrasive surface and acts like a chees grater if you scrape along the bottom (they recommend water shoes for visitors.)
Waves per hour: New wave every 90 seconds, or 40 waves per hour
Atmosphere: Family, Disney environment
Apparel: Spring suit, Bikini, Boardshorts

Check the Typhoon Lagoon surf page

Snowboard legend Todd Richards says this about the wave: The first wave is the cleanest because there is no backwash. It’s pretty fun. It takes a little bit to get used to. The way the wave breaks you really have to know where it’s going to give you the push. The energy it does have is really narrowed into one spot so you have to know where that one spot is.

Sunway Lagoon – Kuala Lumpur

The best wave pool surfing in Malaysia (and possibly Asia) is here. The park opened in 1993 and added the wave pool, known as Surf Beach in 1997. It has hosted several specialty surf events including the Quiksilver Revolution Tour in 2006 and 2008 which featured both surf and skate team riders putting on a show.

Julian Wilson, Dane Reynolds and Ry Craike (all no longer with Quik) surfed to live bands while the skate team lit up the halfpipe. Due to the wave’s slow nature, the event employed a jet ski to whip the surfers into the waves for extra aerial boost.

It’s still a fun wave for surfing, a burger left and right with a fast end section suited for boosting, with or without the jet ski assist. Now it’s also Nickelodeon-themed, therefore if you love Spongebob you’re in luck.

The Lowdown on Sunway Lagoon

Park caters to surfing with special evening hour session once the swimmers have packed up and left but doesn’t have a landing page or contact for reserving a session.

WavePool Construction Progress: Completed
Accessibility: Open to the public, all-ages
Type of wave(s): Combination lefts and rights in a slow crumbly fashion that pick up speed as they near the closeout in the shallows.
Wave Generating Technology: Murphy’s Waves
Wave’s Technical Information: Wave height: 2-6 ft, Both left and right breaks, length of wave: under 30 yards/meters
Hours of operation/Seasonal Hours: Wave pool is open to surfing from 6pm-7pm weekends and holidays only.
Price Breakdown: Maximum 12 persons, minimum 5 persons. Prices unspecified. Email for details: ask_lagoon@sunway.com.my
Pool Structure: Concrete Pool – Resort
Waves per hour: 11-1000 waves per hour
Atmosphere: Party like it’s 1999

 

The Roaring Lagoon at Sun City – South Africa

Sun City’s water park is family-focused with surfing kept at a distance that uses Murphy’s Waves technology to produce a quick right or left with a closeout in the shallows. The pool is smaller than some of the other Murphy’s designs around the world coming in at 6,500 square meters.

Well-suited to diminutive surfers due to its size, the wave pool, like others, is open to surfing during rental windows. Best option is to find some other chlorine-curious brus and hire the pool after swimming hours.

The Lowdown on Roaring Lagoon Sun City

Another beautiful Murphy’s Waves setup with rip-able rights and lefts. Clear rates and ccess to the park for surfing are a bit dubious.

WavePool Construction Progress: Completed
Accessibility: Open to the public, All-ages, Beginning surfer, Intermediate surfer, Advanced surfer
Type of wave(s): Combination
Wave Generating Technology: Murphy’s Waves
Wave’s Technical Information: Wave height: 2-4 ft, Both Left and Right Breaks, Length of Wave: under 30 yards/meters
Hours of operation/Seasonal Hours: Summer: 09h00 – 18h00 Summer (September to April) Gates open at 09h00 and close at 17h00. Water features shut down at 17h30. Winter: 10h00 – 17h00 Winter (May to August) Gates open at 10h00 and close at 16h00. Water features shut down at 16h30. The Valley of Waves closes for a month between May and July for annual maintenance. The Valley of Waves may be closed or close early due to private functions on an ad-hoc basis.
Price Breakdown: Sun City Resort residents: Free. Adults R120 R160, Children (Ages 4–12 yrs) R70 R85, Senior Citizens R60 R65. No specific surfing information is available, but all the clips and Insta posts suggest the pool, like other wave pools worldwide, can be rented before and after swimmer hours.
Pool Structure: Concrete pool, resort
Waves per hour: Hydraulic Murphy’s system that generates 6-foot-high waves every 90 seconds
Atmosphere: Family environment
Apparel: Spring suit, Bikini, Boardshorts

Sun City Roaring Lagoon website


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