French high country eyes latest floating atoll wave

Okahina Wave system has been tapped for a new floating wave in France. The latest surf spot will be at Lac du Bourget in the French Alpine city of Aix-les-Bains 1.5 hours east of Lyon and 2.5 hours west and down-mountain of Alaia Bay in Sion.

The wave pool announcement for Aix-les-Bains comes on the heels of two very fruitful years, with the company naming projects all over France.

Vaires-Torcy outside of Paris will get an Okahina system deployed at Lac de Vaires-sur-Marne, a recreational lake adjacent to a train station with Libourne outside Bordeaux (and adjacent to the famous Mascaret tidal bore) coming online around the same time. Both are planned for 2023 completion.

The most publicized Futuroscope theme park location is eyeing a summer 2022 finish date according to L’Equipe.

okahina libourne
Aerial photo/artist illustration of lac des Dagueys in Libourne.

France has struggled with wave pools. The Surfrider Foundation released a statement against building any new waves, while many agricultural groups have stated they are against developing any open lands.

None of the planned Okahina Wave designs require building a body of water. The system works via a floating disc that spins, churning out surf-able rights or lefts depending on which direction it’s turning.

“The Okahina Wave system is not a ‘pool’ as it consists of a floating atoll that is placed in pre-existing bodies of water, without land artificialisation,” founder Laurent Héquily told WavePoolMag. “The system is set up on existing bodies of water, but it’s not permanent. On the contrary, it is easily removable. That is the great difference with other existing artificial waves projects that we define as actual wave pools.”

The company boasts 30-second rides on waves up to 6-feet-high and a pier allows spectators to get close to the action. The system generates one wave every 15 seconds. The design is currently being tested in the Aquitaine region of Southwest France at a secret location.

Endless Surf 2023A