Celebrating the latest round of wave pool project superstars
Our Surf Planner is Dead Wrong. Sorry. We have created the most comprehensive wave pool map on the planet with more than 100 projects listed. But it’s not accurate. Some listings are a decade old and spawned by nothing more than a $100 spend on renderings from a Fiverr art student then paired with empty investment return promises. It’s a fairly easy process to fake a surf park (ask us and we’ll show you sometime.) Thankfully most of these fly-by-night characters have switched to meme-themed cryptocurrency and NFT trading. Once you remove the smoke and mirror projects, what’s left are the developments backed by individuals working tirelessly to bring their surf park vision to light.
And now you can say, “but without these hallucinatory projects, that means there aren’t really 100+ wave pools in the Surf Planner snarky-WavePoolMag-editor-person.” And we reply that “yes, you are right.” But we did a little digging and, yes, the numbers don’t add up to 100. Our queries show that they now add up to somewhere between 150 and 200 wave pool projects globally. So, yeah, heaps more. Why?
Unofficially, separately and off-the-record, wave pool technology companies have confided in us that there are many, many more pools planned than what appears on our Surf Planner. These many, many pools have chosen to keep quiet and not send out press releases. They are moving forward without public fanfare. Media attention is a double-edged sword, it can help attract investment for a park, but it can also activate neighbors to oppose a project. The hidden slam-dunk wave pools around the world don’t need or want visibility until the gates are open and it’s time to attract customers.
True, maybe the wave tech companies are puffing themselves up to appear to be the biggest fish in the pond. But I don’t believe so. Our weird little corner of the world with machine-made waves will continue to grow and is likely on track with these estimates. Why? Because surfing is fun. People love surfing and will continue to pursue ways to surf. The better the waves are, the easier it is to learn, progress and immerse yourself in this tragically fabulous pursuit. That part’s pretty simple. The other reason is that projects like Urbnsurf, The Wave, Alaia Bay and BSR Surf Resort have created profitable models in this new landscape. For new projects, it’s easier to copy/paste than it is to invent.
This week, to counter those projects tethered to no more than a concept and artist renderings, we’ve decided to focus on a handful of heavy hitters (Lucky 13 to be exact.) These are surf parks with a solid foundation and are either in construction or have received local council approval. Translation: these are the wave pools that you will be surfing in the next couple of years.
The Lowdown: Surftown MUC will be located near the Munich airport which already hosts a rapid wave pool. The wave tank hopes to draw a crowd from Germany’s estimated 2,500,000 surfers and has already broken ground on an Endless Surf ES34 system (34 pneumatic chambers) last September. The Bavarian pool project hopes to open its doors in 2023. Adjacent to the surf park, project developer Rock Capital Group is planning a 29,000 square meter multifunctional hybrid building with offices, catering, and retail under the name “Hybrid One”. The goal is a unique work-life and leisure quarter instead of typical office space. You can read our interview with one of the brains behind this surf park, Michi Mohr.
The Lowdown: The Palm Springs Surf Club is making progress on a $50million US project featuring a three million-gallon state-of-the-art Surf Loch technology wave pool at the former Wet N’ Wild water park on Gene Autry Trail in Palm Springs. In 2021 the developers transformed the existing Wet N’ Wild pool into a surf tank and Instagram was treated to clip after clip of fun-in-the-sun pool surfing. The group then destroyed that test pool and is now constructing the larger public-facing one in its place. Other planned amenities include a lazy river, restaurant and several non-disclosed “fun” activities. Palm Springs Surf Club will be open to the public in 2022.
The Lowdown: Knokke-Heist, Belgium is the country’s frothing surf town. While there’s no lack of stoke there is a lack of surf. This planned wave pool will be located next to LakeParadise, a full-service cable facility by Belgian surf legend Frank Vanleenhove. SurferParadise will piggyback onto its neighbor’s infrastructure – think of BSR Surf Resort and BSR Cable Park and you get the idea. The project has the support of Knokke-Heist council and community and will use technology from AllWaves, a new wavemaking company with headquarters and an R&D facility just 5 kilometers away.
The Lowdown: Swell MFG announced that the local council approved their upcoming project in Mesa, Arizona. The company confirmed that its first full-size wave pool and Revel Surf Park will be located within the Cannon Beach lifestyle destination venue. The development in the East Valley of Phoenix has a work, surf, eat, stay, and entertainment focus under a heavy surf culture influence.
The Lowdown: 14 kilometres west of Sydney’s downtown and one kilometre from the central train station, the park will use Wavegarden Cove technology. Of interest, it will be built with a north-south lagoon orientation to suit prevailing wind conditions. LED lagoon lighting means night and day surf options. The Urbnsurf group is going full steam ahead and hopes to open in early 2023. The park will sate Sydney’s surf-hungry population while enhancing the Olympic Park area just outside of downtown.
The Lowdown: Demo center for new Surf Lakes technology that has seen a flurry of new licensing around the world. One of the largest and most ambitious wave pool projects to date. The surf park recently received the green light from the local Yeppoon council and will begin its transition from demo center to public facility shortly. No date was given as to when the public can expect to surf the famous plunger wave, but it should happen fairly soon.
The Lowdown: New Endless Surf wave pool planned for eco-resort 10 kilometres from Port Douglass in the Northern Territory of Queensland. The 100-acre property will be kitted out with SUP lagoons, an aqua park, wellness center, conference center as well as surf cabins and a 160-room high-tech hotel. At the center will be an Endless Surf ES400 wave pool measuring 280 meters (925.2ft) by 85 meters and offering 26-second rides. The local community supports the project as does the powers that be. Digging should kick off this year.
The Lowdown: KSWC technology will be the centerpiece of another desert project, this one in Los Cabos at an undisclosed location. While Coral Mountain received approval but is still navigating community pushback, this pool looks good to go. Announced by Michael Schwab of Big Sky Wave Developments he has the financial know-how to get this built and is banking on homeowners and weekenders choosing Kelly’s brand of wave in addition to the area’s scattered points and beach breaks.
The Lowdown: DSRT Surf Resort is an 18-acre luxury resort destination in Palm Desert with a 5.5-acre Wavegarden Cove at its center. The project is set within the Desert Willow Golf Resort and will include residences and the usual surf park development surroundings. Amenities include a boutique hotel, retail, a recovery center and spa, various restaurants on-site, exercise and yoga classes, a skate park, bike pump track and trails, pickleball as well as access to the two championship Desert Willow golf courses. After receiving final council approval, DSRT Surf Resort is projecting a grand opening for 2023.
The Lowdown: Wai Kai will feature the Wai Kai Wave and water activities on the adjacent 52-acre Wai Kai Lagoon. The Wai Kai Wave will be 100 feet wide and able to generate variable waves from 4-6 feet high. Powered by citywave®, the technology allows the use of standard surfboards with fins. The venue will be able to run as one channel of 100 feet wide, two channels of 35 or 60 feet, or three channels of 30 feet each. The Lagoon also has a sheltered area for stand-up paddling, kayaks, guided outrigger canoes, and piloted electric boat cruises. The LineUp will also feature a full range of beginner lessons such as Learn-to-Kayak or Learn-to-SUP as well as more advanced group clinics on paddle stroke or racing techniques, plus private instruction. The project plans to hold major surf and waterman competitions for the Wai Kai Wave and Wai Kai Lagoon. They’ve broken ground so all is going ahead as scheduled.
The Lowdown: Stretch of sand informally known as “America’s Favorite Beach Destination” will host a full-size Cove. While visitors to Myrtle Beach love all things sea and sand, the surf is pretty dismal in the area due to a shallow shelf extending out to sea and a limited swell window. American Surf Parks has the blessing of the city to build a park so it’s all systems GO. They expect to finish by 2023.
The Lowdown: Aventuur, spearheaded by Andrew Ross who helped build Urbnsurf Melbourne, won rights to build a Wavegarden Cove just outside Central Perth. Since the City of Perth has approached Aventuur for the full+ size Cove design and Aventuur are developers with access to heaps of cash, this pool will go up quickly once all the paperwork is filed. Good to see Perth finally get a wave pool after Andrew had tried to build at another location under the Urbnsurf name, but was derailed by a small but influential, group of homeowners. Hasn’t broken ground but expect it to happen fast.
The Lowdown: Actventure is a $65 million water park along with the Invigorate family resort on Steve Irwin Way in Glenview. The site will feature retail shops, food and drink along with water slides and other pools. Glenview is 20 minutes from Shelly Beach and a 10-minute drive from Australia Zoo in Beerwah, which was founded by Steve Irwin’s family. Sanad Capital said the project will first deliver the Actventure Waterpark that will boast 20+ integrated waterslides, a swim-up bar and food kiosks and cabanas for hire. Next is the Invigorate Resort which will have 160 units as part of a 4-star resort targeted to families primarily from Queensland. Developers are planning associated retail to support resort and waterpark patrons.