Environmental group issues statement that France project is dead

It’s very difficult to confirm if a surf park development is dead. Tenacious project developers never issue a press release that their project was tanked, and there is always hope that the tide will turn in favor of the wave pool. As one insider told us, the duration of bringing a wave pool project to light is often longer than local election cycles. As such, when a new Mayor and city council are sworn in, prior project rulings can flip swiftly. In either direction.

Surfrider France issued a press release this week stating that developers had withdrawn from the Wavelandes project.

The proposed wave pool just north of Hossegor was championed early on as the new premier training facility for the French team. The French Surfing Federation spoke highly of the future of wave pools as a great training ground for their athletes in preparation for the Paris 2024 games.

“French surfers compete at the elite international level,” said Charles Bride, General Secretary of the French Surfing Federation. “For this reason, this project is indispensable to the success of French surfing and our chances of winning medals.”

The park at one time also signed an agreement with the National Association, HandiSurf.

“The number one asset beneficial to the athletes with disabilities is the safety factor in this type of body of water, and the control of the conditions in and around the basin,” the group said in a press release (translated from French.)

While Surfrider Australia and their American counterpart have no formal position on wave pools, Surfrider Europe has been vocal in their opposition to wave pools. The group released a blanket statement in 2020 condemning all surf parks due to their use of resources.

The most recent Surfrider EU release addressed the Castets project specifically.

“There are dangers involved in this project, planned to accommodate 300,000 people a year, wedged between 3 high-threshold SEVESO companies (refineries, petrochemical plants, chemical plants, oil depots) a highway, and a Natura 2000 area,” said Surfrider. “From the beginning, we have denounced this project and qualified it as a GPI2 (*Grand Imposed Useless Project).”

Castets is relatively remote, located in an area known as Les Landes which extends south from Bordeaux to just north of Bayonne. It was once a marshy area until Napoleon III planted pine trees to stabilize the terrain and provide timber. Covering roughly one million hectares, it is the largest artificial forest in Western Europe. The pine forest buts up against the famous beach breaks of the Hossegor area.