A helicopter’s view of wave pool projects today
We have an amazing page on our website over on www.wavepoolmag.com called the surf planner. It details all the projects in the space that we’ve written about and there are potentially quite a few others under wraps.
In this chat Bryan and I head through all the projects we’re aware of and proceed from the point of view of the companies who provide the technology:
- Kelly Slater Wave Co.
- American Wave Machines
- Surf Lakes
- Surf Loch
- White Water
We also mention the other smaller companies like: Wave Prizm, Swellspot, Swell MFG, Wave SEG, Ola wave pool, Webber Pools, Okahina. Additionally we discuss sheet waves vs RAPID waves (TM – just kidding) and the companies involved in that space.
It’s the perfect primer on wave pools for 2021!
The concept of Endless Surf
Andrew Thatcher grew up surfing in the warm waters off Durban, South Africa and came to live in my home town, much further south before leaving for the USA back in 2000.
The happiest coincidence occurred when a family connection to Tom Lochtefeld landed him a job at the legendary wave maker’s Surf Loch and Wave Loch company. Tom had created the Flowrider and Andrew helped to spread the piece of joy all around the world. Flowriders are in a wide range of places, from cruise liners, to restaurants, to water parks and as stand alone venues.
We talk a lot about Endless Surf, White Water’s “new” product. It’s essentially not new as they have been making waves for over 30 years when they built Typhoon Lagoon in Disney World and more than 400 other pools around the world.
It’s a fascinating company, with equally absorbing products. You’ll enjoy this one.
Ryder Thomas and the Punta Cana project
Ryder Thomas is a fun, engaging character, and while he was sitting in a cold grey day in New York, I jumped on a call with him from my base down here in Portugal.
We had a long and super interesting conversation all about the inception story of his company Pegasus Lodges, his relation to the Paris wave pool project and then his project down in the Caribbean at Punta Cana. Get this, it has not one but TWO pools to surf.
We talk about how Swell International evolved out of this and another exciting project which is going down in the Azores, Portugal. Listen up, it’s a good one!
The imminent opening of Switzerland’s new pool
Adam Bonvin had a dream a long time ago and worked diligently to create it. His story is an inspiring one, where someone with a completely different background to that of a big time property developer and armed with a passion for the sport envisaged a completely new tourism offer.
He is on the road to opening that dream in April 2021 and not even Covid can stop him! Good luck for the launch Adam, it was very motivating to hear your story.
Surf coaching in a pool with Surf Simply
Rupert Hill set up “Surf Simply” from scratch over in Costa Rica. He has made a remarkable success of it, going from zero to hero in over 10 years. It’s been a long hard slog but he is on top of his game now, offering surf weeks for over $6,000 per person and boasting a two year waiting list. That’s an incredible achievement. Well done, Surf Simply!
Nick picks Ru’s brain about surfing and how the coaching aspects changes when you eliminate nature’s whims from the equation. Learning to surf and improving your surfing in a pool becomes a whole lot more effective… or does it?
What do you think?
More surf in the desert – Mesa Arizona!
Matt Gunn became disillusioned with the total lack of waves after moving out to Arizona from his native California. Being starved of surf certainly drives you crazy, but would you be crazy enough to build a wave machine AND a wave park?
Matt’s certainly not crazy, but he’s really committed in a quiet, dedicated kind of way. Backed by a big hitters like Shane Beschen and others… well, he’s bound to succeed!
Good luck, Matt, it was good fun chatting to you and I’ll see you at the launch!
Surfing in the heart of Paris!
The Paris project has been a fascinating combination of public and private co-operation and Baptiste has been working as a consultant in the thick of all the agencies working hard on the project.
The promise of perfect machine made waves in the middle of a large capital city hasn’t been realized yet – will Paris be the first to market? These large undertakings are notoriously riddled with problems, let’s get under the skin of this one with Baptiste.
Interestingly “Le Vague Grand Paris” has chosen their wave technology and after initially working with one of the leaders in the industry, they switched to a newcomer. We discuss how that went down.
Thanks for listening to www.wavepoolmag.com/podcast !
We’ll be back in two weeks,
Surf Park Management with Skip Taylor
We discuss Skips background, the wave pool industry as a whole and how he started Surf Park management. Probably the best story was when he flew down to some country in Central Americat to the location of a proposed surf park and was shocked to find a sex store and a gun shop neighbouring the property. Location is pretty important!
We dig into his Turtle Bay Hotel project on the North Shore of Hawaii after he did the turnaround there: ramping up mountain biking trails, helping Hans Hedeman to uplift his surf school, he brought in the APP Stand Up world tour, created restaurants and bar venues with lifestyle programming. His business partner, Kate and him met and then went to the 2017 Snowdonia Surf Park Summit. They presented their new concept of 3rd party management and consulting within wave pools and it was well received by the industry.
We also discuss:
- Coral Mountain with Kelly’s Wave and private residential projects
- Surf training and a fully enhanced progression program.
- A deep insight into the wave park creation process and a how to for people who want to get into the space and who to call.
- Diversity of new technologies that are coming in to the market: wave in your backyard…
How hard is it to bring a wave pool to Berlin? Find out.
In 2014 Berlin was set to plant a Wavegarden Lagoon plow system at an old airstrip outside of town. When the plan was axed by the local council Eirik Randow got all frothy and took it upon himself to do something. In 2016 he kicked off a program to bring the new Wavegarden Cove technology to Berlin. “In the beginning of projects like that you don’t have a very good understanding of what you’re getting into,” he tells us. Find out how the phrase “When in doubt, paddle out” has kept him redlining these past four years on a project with many unknowns. Nick Robinson finds out what it will ultimately take to bring waves to Berlin.
Shane Beschen on his career, City Wave, DSRTSURF and wave pools
Check out www.wavepoolmag.com/podcast for the show notes.
New York! Smoking a barrel on Long Island
Brett grew up surfing in Long Island, New York and I caught up with him online to talk about the project he has been working on for over four and a half years. Apologies for the audio quality, (it’s tough when you’re doing these things over the web), however, you can hear him pretty clearly. Let us know on our Instagram if you have any questions about the park and we’ll ask him on to answer them.
Hang on for the end of the podcast where I discuss the “state of the industry” – 5 parks open, 1 imminent and 7 under construction plus another 30 or so in the planning process.
Sophie Everard ventures into The Wave (Bristol)
Sophie Everard is a journalist, passionate snowboarder and surfer who has worked extensively within action sports media for more than ten years and is a published writer for industry-leading snowboard titles. She has also set up a brand called “Mad to Live” through which she promotes a positive, modern message of female empowerment with original content. Attached to the content brand is a series of wildly successful women-only retreats in various places like Portugal, Morocco, Costa Rica, Bali and England.
Read more on www.wavepoolmag.com/podcast
Andy Hadden’s journey towards a wave garden in Scotland
We get the full story on Andy Hadden’s seven year journey in creating another jewel in the Wave Garden crown. By the time this surf park is constructed it could well be the seventh wave garden in operation around the world.
Andy relates the story leading up to where he is at now – a massive journey already but still far from over. Exciting times for the wave pool industry!
Chas Smith: Surf blogging’s bad boy weighs in on wave pools
Chas Smith is a smart guy. Originally from California, he moved to Oregon and commenced his surfing career at age 10. He earned a bachelor’s degree in intercultural studies (1998) and a master’s degree in linguistics (2001) from Southern California’s Biola University; Smith’s studies included semesters spent studying Arabic in Egypt and English at Oxford University.
That short bio is taken from Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surf, check it out: https://eos.surf/entries/smith-chas/
Chas and I discuss a wealth of interesting subjects surrounding his life and wave pools. Here are some of my questions, listen up for his answers:
Establishing personal context:
- Which surf media publications have you worked for. How was it?
- Can we dig DEEP into the story of Beach Grit. How did you involvement start, was it with a call from a friend and then an office meeting, or a few whiskies in a shady bar.
- You wrote a book about Hawaii. Have you ever returned to the North Shore afterwards?
- You were a war reporter? Have you seen your Wikipedia page or did you edit that yourself?
- Do you aspire to be William Finnegan, surfer and war reporter (author of Barbarian Days)?
- Let’s get into serious detail here: Chas Smith, Kelly Slater and a dislocated shoulder? What did you experience as you arrived at the gate of Kelly’s Surf Ranch before those wooden gates opened?
- Signing the NDA at Kelly’s. What’s the point of inviting press over and getting them to sign an NDA?
- I heard a rumour that you have a wild card for the reality TV series: The Ultimate Surfer. Is this true?
- Have you been to BSR? Planned a trip to Jersey?
- What’s your take on Urbnsurf down under?
- Here’s the deal, imagine some billionaire wires you 50m US for you to construct your dream wave park. Give me a helicopter tour. Would it be next to an airport like Urbnsurf, in a field with camping tents like Bristol, in a mall like Madrid is planned to be? What would your dream park be?
- What’s the wave tech and why?
The Future of Surfing
- The growth of surfing is like a double edged sword. On the one hand, you have more opportunities for people to work passionately in the space that they love, on the other hand you have more kooks polluting the breaks. How do you feel about the growth of surfing?
- How will wave pools play a role in that growth?
- A lot has been said about surfing’s inclusion in the Olympics in 2020. What kind of real impact do you feel it will bring to the sport?
- Do you feel that Tokyo should be in a pool?
- If you achieve your hell bent mission on destroying the WSL, what will the BEACH GRIT LEAGUE look like? Would you employ Elo to do the content and Chris Coté to commentate?
Why Greg Webber has been in the wave pool industry for over 15 years
Has Greg Webber been at this game longer than anyone else? Maybe not, but he sure has a ton of fascinating insights and excellent ideas surrounding the wave pool space. You can check him out on www.webberwavepools.com Before we kicked off the interview Greg inferred to me that he had no problem in my drilling him about the fact that he essentially broadcasts the fact that his wave pools are the best in the world but none have been built. Well, hold your horses, hopefully, a Webber wave pool is taking shape in Orlando, Florida right now and a V-reef is under development near Perth, Australia.
Webber Wave Pools show notes
- We kick off with some light banter about girls and waves.
- Smacking into a German near Currumbin, Australia at 10 years of age.
- Right-hand rip banks at Bondi on a coolite surfboard.
- Dead friends and absence of control when he was a kid and surfing at South Head, Sydney.
- Surf trips to Bali, Hawaii and getting Malaria in Indonesia.
- 11:30 Webber Wave Pools
- Thinking about wave machines and a video from a U.S. University kicked off the idea of getting a patent for his creations.
- Greg talks about patents and patent law and hints at his tussle with Kelly Slater.
- Webber Wave Pool’s three different wave solutions: wave system, v-reef, v-wall.
- Greg quickly mentions Penrith Wave Pool.
- Ocean Sports Development (Anthony Brown) is discussed in more detail. They have three projects, one of which is in Orlando, Florida hopefully breaking ground in January 2020.
- 40 wave pools from all wave tech makers by 2025.
- He talks about conical tubes and the foam ball itself.
- Cheaper wave pools will make them much more accessible and expand the sport a lot more.
- Webber wave pools create a Kelvin wake similar to the wave behind a boat.
- V-Reefs at Triggs Beach near Perth, Australia and the benefits of V-reefs.
- An aside about Beach Grit and the state of modern surf journalism. We mention Nick Carrols “New Sarcasm” article.
- Back to V-reefs and how they fit into the bigger picture of floating cities which is a real thing. Check out what the United Nations says about it. Oceanix is spearheading the drive.
- The profit involved for developers in V-reefs and how they impact the property price of beachfront developments.
- An oversupply of waves…
- Greg mentions Tom Blake
Las Vegas gets a wave pool!
We interview Tim Curry, known as TC, who is setting out on the arduous venture to create an oasis of surf in the parched desert surrounding Las Vegas. I am sure the Las Vegas population will be STOKED to hear this and the millions of visitors to the city will be able to practice their cutbacks alongside the locals.
Many of you out there may be dreaming about creating your own wave pool in your area. Hopefully, this relaxed chat with TC will put it into perspective for you and feed you with a few insights. If you’re unsure of where to start on your journey get in touch with Wave Pool Mag. We’ll be able to help you out.
- Growing up in Newport / Huntington Beach and Vooli.
- TC jetted into Vegas in 2004 – he tells us why…
- Land acquisition, rezoning and the “Fun Agents“.
- How TC first heard about wave pools – we talk about Kelly Slater’s original video which is fast becoming the starting point for many people’s interest in the wave pool space.
- TC explains his concept of a beach in Las Vegas and we discuss the appeal of surfing to aspirational surfers.
- How TC fully realized that he wanted to create a beach in Las Vegas with surfable waves and the current lack of opportunity in the city.
- What stage he is at with “The Beach Las Vegas”.
- We go off on a tangent about wave pool competitions and compare them to skateboarding.
- Going public with the project and not being fearful of public lash back, like in France in mid-2019.
- Procuring the land for “The Beach Las Vegas” and discussing various elements like Crystal Lagoons, dog beaches and the challenges of setting up such a large development. We chat about the 3D renderings from the SURFLAND project in Brazil and Sheraton’s history in wave pools with their project at Oceandome in Japan.
- What’s the process when you’re engaging ambassadors in the business?
- What’s the timeline for the Las Vegas beach? 3 years…
- Why surf is growing so radically at the moment and what will the effect of wave pools actually be?
- We compare skateboarding, wakeboarding, flow riding and snowboarding to surfing in a pool.
- We talk about residential development on the beach at Las Vegas.
Wavegarden: Creating an idyllic garden filled with waves
“Wavegarden”, the sound of that name evokes a zen-like space where waves roll endlessly through green spaces pulsing with lush natural life. As if you didn’t know, it’s actually a company created way back in 2005, that sits deep in a northern Spanish valley. It’s a richly forested and abundant area ravaged by harsh Atlantic winters and pounded by massive waves during the cold, rainy months. It is from this secret hideaway that Sean Young chats to us all about the history of Wavegarden, how he came to join the exclusive firm and how they came to be operating in all four corners of the planet.
Immersed in surf: URBNSURF Melbourne
Hey guys, it’s Nick coming to you from a warm and autumnal Algarve in Portugal. The swell is picking up down here and I managed a great session where these glassy beauties where peeling off a hard sand spit. Stoked again after along break! The other day I called up Australia and got to chat to Andrew Ross. It was a great conversation, not just because he’s such a down to earth relaxed professional but because he’s opening one of the first two Wavegarden Cove’s in the world. It’s quite tense watching both Bristol and Melbourne (as I do), releasing tidbits about the boxes they’re ticking and the milestones they’re hitting and gliding by. It certainly isn’t always smooth sailing but lets dig deep into Andrew Ross’ life and find out how URBNSURF came to be.
In deep with Aaron Trevis, founder of Surf Lakes
Find out how the Surf lakes technology was born from the founder himself. Aaron Trevis talks candidly of how the idea came to him, how he pulled a team of incredible people together and built a wave wonderland in Yeppoon, Australia.
Looking at the explosive wheezing of a mad max style contraption may appear intriguing but when perfect waves barrel out onto the five reefs, one is hooked! There is a heap of sheer determination that has been ploughed into this project, we uncover it all in this episode.
The first dedicated surf park in the world!
Andy Ainscough relates the story of how Adventure Park Snowdonia (originally launched in 2015 as Surf Snowdonia) was conceived, built and run. Many pitfalls lurk in a wave pool developers timeline and Andy was lucky enough to overcome them all and now surfs regularly in his creation. The beauty of it is, tons of surfers join him every day in this rustic Welsh valley. It’s an iconic place to surf, I know its definitely on my list.
How Wave Pool Mag started
Welcome to our first episode! We start with Bryan Dickerson who founded www.wavepoolmag.com in 2018 and has experienced rapid growth on the platform. During the half-hour chat we learn about Bryan’s surf journalism background and how he created the site. We talk about the state and history of the surf industry and how the “wave pool space” came about. It’s a pretty big business right now with a lot of money being spent on many projects around the world.
We hope you enjoy the idea of the podcast!
Wave Pool Mag Trailer
Nick welcomes you to the podcast and explains who we will interview, when we will release a new episode, how long they will be and why he is doing this.
“I’m really stoked to be at the forefront of sharing wave pool news and views from many of the global players in the surf lagoon industry. It’s a fascinating alternative property development to traditional golf courses and there are so many big issues to discuss. In the words of the WSL CEO, surfing is now at a major inflection point. Why? Due to the proliferation of cool surf images on social media, inclusion of surfing in the 2020 Olympic Games and because of the rise of the machine driven wave pool.
I really hope you enjoy all the hard work Bryan, myself and our team are putting into this.”
Algarve, Portugal September 2019