Drunken bachelorettes threaten Scottish wave pool, well, sort of

While Wavegarden Scotland hasn’t had to post a “no blow-up dolls in the wave pool” policy, the stigma attached to pre-marital parties lit up the Edinburgh press this week.

A neighbor fearing Wavegarden Scotland will be overrun with wild stag and hen parties (or bachelor and bachelorette parties for our American readers) has caused a minor sensation in Scotland. The unhappy resident also accused Wavegarden Scotland of juicing the public conversation, claiming that the wave pool put out a plea on social media for followers to flood the local council with positive messaging in support of the project.

A quick tour of Wavegarden Scotland’s Insta feed shows 2K followers but no mention of the issue – their last post was October 2019. The company’s Facebook and Twitter feeds (which you can follow here and here) also showed no requests for action.

The upset resident also told the news outlet that the developers were trying to create a holiday park in an unsuitable location and that he feared it would attract large groups, including the mentioned stag and hen parties.

Artist rendering of Wavegarden Scotland with glamping pods and other structures.

Wavegarden Scotland got a green light to move forward at Craigpark Quarry, recently submitting a planning application on March 17 (you can check the documents here) that includes accommodation detail and habitat proposed. The company says the design will encourage wildlife to repopulate the area and will also add an additional 600 new trees to the area.

The group behind the development, Tartan Leisure Limited, stated the facility will also offer training to the Scottish surf team and local sports clubs while providing surf opportunities and sport activity to the public. The site, the Craigpark Quarry near Ratho already hosts the world-famous Edinburgh International Climbing Arena.

In response to the fear of too much noise Wavegarden Scotland said, “We will not tolerate any noise or disturbance made by individuals or large groups and will not be allowing hen/stag parties overnight.” Founder Andy Hadden added that Wavegarden Scotland “will be a family-friendly leisure destination and we will respect all our neighbors.”

“With world-class surfing waves at its heart, and surrounded by acres of lush country park, we’ll light the flame of adventure in all who stop by, regardless of age, ability or demographic,” the company says on their website. “Wellness and inclusivity underpin everything we’ve planned for, from the sporting to the cultural, from the food to the retail, and from our accommodation to our ancillary activities.”

Google Earth imagery of the area surrounding Wavegarden Scotland.

Wave pools in the Coachella Valley have met with resistance with a handful of desert community neighbors sighting light pollution, water use and economic inequality as key reasons wave pool plans should be scuttled. Urbnsurf had the rug pulled out from under them after the council in Perth bent to the demands of wealthy homeowners who didn’t increase traffic. Up until that moment, Lands Minister Ben Wyatt had supported the project.

In France, a country paralyzed by Yellow Vest protests and massive strikes against a change in retirement age, a planned American Waves Machine park is in the thick of it. In Nantes, the plan is opposed by a group that says it depletes area farmland. The Activist group Terre Communes launched ZAP la Vague. Their main point of action has been to occupy the wave pool site long before diggers could start the build. The local farmers’ group stated they support the wave pool project and say the protest group is setting a dangerous precedent by using squatter’s rights on agricultural zones in France.

The Wavegarden Scotland will be similar to The Wave in Bristol. Check the WavePoolMag review of the Advanced wave setting with Editor-in-chief Bryan Dickerson

Many wave pools once completed, like The Wave in Bristol, offer special rates and discounts to people who live in the area. Urbnsurf in Melbourne support local Victorian surfers with contest and club events.

While pub crawls and stag and hen parties are one specific area of entertainment, one would assume that paying to surf in a wave pool while drunk would severely hamstring participants. We’ve yet to hear of anyone’s surfing being enhanced by the consumption of excessive alcohol.

Andy Hadden told WavePoolMag in an interview last year that “if you treat the project like a very long and challenging game of chess, treating each opponent and hurdle with respect, but have the courage in your convictions and diligence, then eventually a checkmate can be reached.”

No word on whether Wavegarden Scotland will institute a ban on strippers and jello shots.

Nick Robinson did a podcast with founder Andy Hadden. You can check that out here.