Surfing in Regensdorf is about to be a thing

Sebastian Bosson is building a surf spot for 50,000 Swiss surfers by summer 2020. Which wave pool tech will they use? The project is still shopping.

While the surf industry has always been written by characters on the fringe, with the current wave pool boom we are now moving into a new, slick era of movers and shakers.

It could be a by-product of the LinkedIn, TedTalk positivity-can-do era, or simply a reflection that wave pools are expensive and require massive investor trust. And while we’ll miss the kinetic energy of the Michael Tomsons and Maurice Coles, we welcome this era of professionalism.

Why? It takes a boat-load of measured business planning to pull off a wave pool. Yes the surf industry was built on fringe marketing around characters like Occy and Mason Ho, but now wave pool development has become the grown up cousin to the surf industry.

Case in point is Sebastian Bosson. The co-founder of Waveup is the business mind behind a major project to bring waves to land-locked Switzerland.

Sebastian’s core passions are sport and sustainability. He is designing, developing, building and managing all components of a sustainable wave pool project which they plan to open in 2020.

We wanted to talk with Sebastian and find out how the wave pool project is going…

Artist rendering of Swiss wave pool

For a landlocked country, Swiss surf culture is thriving. Why is that?
Swiss People are passionate about a wide range of different sports. However, the boardsport culture, in general, is huge; skateboarding, snowboarding, wind and kitesurfing are very popular and possible to do in Switzerland. Also, when compared to a classic Australian surfer, a Swiss surfer is usually not just surfing – as we are landlocked without any real chance to surf waves (yet) – we practice a wide range of other sports such as biking, swimming, hiking in the mountains and much more. Swiss people love to travel around the world to experience new cultures and lifestyles. Almost everybody gets sucked into this loving vibe when they surf green waves by the first time. It is like a drug which you don’t want to give. After a while, landlocked people discovered river surfing which became a big thing and nowadays we have a couple of spots in Switzerland. Bungee surfing is another kind of surf-feeling where a rope is pulling you up the river. Furthermore, the Swiss people are attracted to new sports. This is illustrated by the popularity of the two existing Citywave facilities in Zurich-City as well as in Lucerne which have a large amount of visitors. In addition, the Swiss Surfing Association is counting about 50,000 active Swiss surfers!

Luke Davis in the tube
Regensdorf hasn’t decided on the wave pool tech yet. So, it could be from any one of several wave pool makers, like American Wave Machines.

Tell us a little about the projects, where will they be located and will you appeal to locals or tourists?
Two crucial challenges for were first – finding the necessary size land and second – having it easily accessible from all directions and by different transport services. Switzerland is a tiny country where open land gets more and more difficult to find at an affordable price. But we have been lucky – for two years now we are working closely with the municipality of Regensdorf, which is located 15 min from Zurich-City and roughly the same travel time from Zurich International Airport. It is the perfect spot for such a project. The surrounding area of Zurich counts an agglomeration of 1.5 million, which is the largest number of inhabitants in Switzerland and is close to neighbor countries Germany, France, and Austria.
With our concept of Sports, Education and Nature we are not only welcoming surfers but also a wide range of people of all kind of ages and interests. Of course, the surfing lagoon will be the main attraction and therefore we are looking forward to offering programs for local people and definitely as well for tourists. I think that a great feature will be that tourists are going to discover a unique surf vibe because the park and surf lagoon are embedded in Swiss nature without invasive species. So no palm trees or other exotic plants – only pure Swiss and regional plants and trees. To make this happen, we are very happy to collaborate with the famous garden and landscape architecture – Enzo Enea – in order to design one of the most beautiful outdoor parks in Switzerland in the future. Overall, sustainability and the care about the environment are very important and we are focusing on the best experience a visitor can get.

wavegarden cove
It is unknown whether the project at Regensdorf will use Wavegarden’s Cove tech or not.

You have the benefit of seeing other wave pools that have already opened around the world. Do you want your wave pools modelled after a waterpark, like Typhoon Lagoon? More of an adventure park, like Snowdonia? Or more like a core wake-surf-drink-beer facility like BSR Surf Ranch?
We prefer to say «Leisure – and Surfpark». We would like to invite all kinds of sport and leisure people as we have more than just the surf pool. We believe in diversity and therefore are providing different sports in our park; Beach-Volley Ball, a Skate Bowl, a Pumptrack and a couple of boulder rocks. Everything has to do with surfing and can help as a warm-up or training venue. Moreover, with the educational program, we are going to provide a base for schools, kids and even for adults a base in order to learn about sustainability, sports and a lot of other interesting fields which we can show and present in a practical method rather only in theory. Lastly, the nature park will invite our guests to discover experiential paths, botanical gardens, hills to sit on for a wide open view over the facility, big trees to lie under and just relax or a bigger green space to bronze in the sun or to enjoy the street workout.

You are in the final process of deciding on which technology to go with. We expect an announcement once that happens. But for now can you tell us what you are looking for in wave pool technology?

More important to say is that we are in the final process to get the confirmation of the land in the demanded zone to continue the construction process. This will be handled by a public vote in the municipality of Regensdorf by March 25th 2019. Speaking of the technology we expected from day one, that the market of wave providers will grow rapidly in the next few years. Today, five years later, we can see amazing prototypes all around the world and the potential projects out there. It is a very exciting time for the surfing industry! However, we wanted to be patient enough in order to implement the best possible wave pool for our future visitors. The technology needs to be effective in terms of waves per hour, the variety of types of waves, energy consumption, construction method and also to run at an affordable price range for all surfing guests.

Sebastian Bosson

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