Does Portugal have a wave pool race? Two spots announced

Óbidos, Portugal is set to become the home of the nation’s first (or second) surf park, a €30 million development complete with a four-star tourist village. The ambitious project, spearheaded by Surfers Cove and backed by major shareholders including Despomar, Alaïa Bay, Admar, and Menlo Capital, is expected to create 50 new jobs and reach an annual turnover of approximately €10 million.

Alaïa Bay has successfully run and managed their surf park in the Swiss Alps which was built on their action experience facilities for ski and skate. The company now appears to be expanding this model.

Construction is scheduled to begin in 2024, with a soft opening planned for December 2025 and a grand opening in March 2026. The development will span five hectares and feature 56 accommodation units, a restaurant, a surf shop, a skate park, beach tennis courts, a surf school, a wellness area, landscaped green spaces, a bicycle track, and facilities for corporate events.

Waves at the park will be powered by Wavegarden’s Cove design. Coves systems are often measured in terms of modules. Melbourne has 46 Modules, South Korea has 56 and the Praia da Gram project in Brazil has 52. The development did not disclose the size of the Wavegarden Cove to be used.

Alaia Bay wave pool in Switzerland shot with film on analog equipment by Geoff Fortune
Alaia Bay plans to apply their surf/skate/snow magic to Portugal. Photo Geoff Fortune.

Ricardo Cunha Vaz, a board member of Menlo and shareholder of Surfers Cove, highlighted the pool’s potential for both beginners and competitive surfers, noting that it will provide a consistent and controlled environment for learning and training.

Press materials also emphasized that the park will cater to all ages and skill levels, contributing to the growth of surfing as a sport in Portugal, which has seen an annual increase of 35%.

The company believes that the Surf Park will bolster the West zone, integrating it with other elite surfing areas in Portugal such as Supertubos beach, Baleal, Pico da Mota, Rei do Cortiço, Ericeira, and Nazaré.

The master plan and architectural design are being handled by Frederico Valsassina. The project has already received approval from the Óbidos City Council and Turismo de Portugal for its architectural plans, with the final licensing phase pending.

In November of last year Surf City Lisbon aired images of their new development featuring an Endless Surf pneumatic wave pool. The project will be in Seixal, just across the water from downtown Lisbon and feature 700 homes, an urban park and will be equipped with a variety of facilities such as surf schools, high-performance training centers, a hotel, a beach club, a medical center, shops, cultural spaces, leisure areas, restaurants and pubs.

Endless Surf 2023A