Norway project continues European push for “natural” wave pools

A project slated for Norway’s Jølster embraces a new frontier in nature style wave pool facilities. Set for the Jølstraholmen Camping development, the wave pool will be green powered and enjoy the dramatic Kvamsfossen River valley as a backdrop.

Norway’s nature tourism is big business. Norweigan Cruise Lines’ Aurora Borealis journeys book out early while World Heritage Sites like Geirangerfjord are standard bucket list entries. The wave pool will be a stone’s throw from fabled Skogstad Mountain.

Dubbed the Sunnfjord Waves project, the wave pool plans resemble Switzerland’s Regensdorf setup. Both have skate facilities, restaurant, bar, training area and classrooms. Setting Sunnfjord apart is its access to a hydropower plant and ability to tap into geothermal and solar power.

Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch made headlines in its early days by committing to using only green energy from supplier PG&E. While the utility giant uses natural gas, hydro and fossil fuels, customers have the option to pay a little more for their electricity to ensure it comes from solar and wind technologies.

Jolster Norway wave pool location

Sunnfjord Waves wants to do something similar, but with a Norwegian angle.

“Since Norway is one of world’s best when it comes to green technology, I want to everything built as a self-sufficient system,” said founder Daniel Lira. “That would allow us to be a role model for other facilities as well as reducing, quite considerably, the operational costs associated with powering a wave pool.”

Lira, a Brazilian who has called Norway home for the past nine years is working with Global Wave Parks to fine tune the Sunnfjord project.

“I believe our pool, surrounded by great nature, can become a huge draw for local and international visitors as a tourist attraction. The main goal of the facility is to offer surfing, but also other water activities. We also want to offer tours of the Norwegian nature and also to meet the locals – a combo of experiences all in one spot.”

And while Norway’s natural beauty is a given, Norway as a surf destination was rather dubious until recent years. But online clips from pros like Mick Fanning along with the stellar photography of Chris Burkard, opened everyone’s eyes Norway’s black metal magic.

“Norway is known already for its amazing and unique surf spots,” added Lira. “I traveled through almost the whole country’s seaside last summer and was surprised at the number of people with boards on top of their cars. Even during the winter, there are many visitors. Our wave pool location is just around three hours away from one of the best-known spots in the country, Hoddevika.

Lira added that the wave tech for his pool is still undecided at this point. But with new technology popping up all the time, he’s in a good position to be able to choose wisely. The main issue is a backlog of work. Wave pool makers like Wavegarden and American Wave Machines are struggling to keep up with worldwide interest.

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