SurfLoch has 10 wave pools in the works
Tom Lochtefeld’s SurfLoch design is the ‘It Girl’ of the wave pool space at the moment. It’s hard to follow the #wavepool hashtag and not come across SurfLoch digital eye candy. Especially with daily Insta blasts from the prolific crew at Palm Springs Surf Club.
The pool in the desert might look familiar to some. This is the same Lochtefeld tech we saw several years ago in designs and sketches in the lead to Kelly’s 2015 debut. At one point SurfLoch was to power both The Wave in Bristol and a canal-savvy design in the heart of Rotterdam. Both projects took different paths, but now with the SurfLoch’s working proof-of-concept, company founder Tom Lochtefeld says there are 10 pools at various stages of evolution dotting the globe. The planned SurfLoch locations include Australia, Spain, Germany and the USA. So why the boom now?
“After overcoming many challenges, we finally were able to prove to the world that our tech can create some very special waves,” says Tom. “Plus, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have clients like Cheyne Magnusson and Kalani Robb. Those guys are super talented marketers, hard workers, great ambassadors for the sport of surfing. They really helped to provide the valuable spark we needed.”
One of the reasons SurfLoch is so popular right now is because of the Palm Springs Surf Club’s aggressive social media campaign with YouTube stars like Jamie O’Brien and Casey Neistat hosting shows. Innovative surfers like Mason Ho are also dropping stellar clips like this one.
SurfLoch projects will be the centerpiece of several new developments all over the globe. Among them a project in Torremolinos, Costa Del Sol Spain with residences that will house 13,000 residents and include extra facilities for visiting tourists. His Australia project at Wiseman’s Ferry north of Sydney includes a proposal for a 13,000+ square meter water development complete with a wave pool, spa and amenities. And now in the USA, despite COVID setbacks, more Surf Loch developments are coming up fast.
“There has definitely been a lot of activity in the US. We are working on about five projects in different states ranging from Southern California to the North East. It is tough to forecast the timing of these developments, but they are all moving forward with careful calculation and will be announced at the appropriate time.”
Tom wouldn’t give specific locations, saying it’s the surf park developers’ call when and where to make the big announcements.
One of the reasons SurfLoch is flourishing at the moment is cost. Tom told us he can make smaller pools for under $10million. Of course, that’s contingent on site issues like whether the contractors are digging into rock, dirt, or clay. The timeline for a best-case scenario construction project is nine months. But most likely it’ll run between 12 and 24 months.
“Our tech and designs are extremely versatile. We were even able to customize and build a back yard wave pool for one of our more affluent clientele. The project definitely came with challenges, but we overcame and the system is starting to make its waves as we speak.”
Tom’s technology uses a pneumatic system, which consists of large individual caissons (watertight concrete wave chambers) that use air pressure to manipulate water to create waves. The number of caissons in each pool design is determined by desired wave height, ride duration, operational capacity, and business model. Of course, all this is ultimately controlled by available land size, utility access/rates, and overall development budgets.
According to Skip Taylor of Surf Park Management, one of the benefits to Tom’s system is scalability. “The current one at the Palm Springs Surf Club is just a test facility that is getting a lot of attention from the core surf world,” says Skip. “They are now building the main wave pool next to the small test pool that we see on Instagram. The wave now is six seconds but is supposed to go up to sixteen seconds in the larger facility.”