More surf in the UK: The Wave secures funding for future wave parks

The Wave has completed a significant investment deal with Sullivan Street Partners this week. The Bristol surf spot said the partnership will enable the company to push forward with its ambitious roll-out plans.

The initial funding platform of c.£27 million will support the expansion phase of the business, enabling the securing of sites and planning, and further debt finances for the next 3 to 4 Wave Parks, including its London site which has already been secured in Enfield. The agreement with Sullivan Street also comes with a commitment to fund the construction phases of future projects.  

This deal follows on from the exclusive partnership agreement that The Wave signed in January this year with wave-making technology provider, Wavegarden, to deliver many more developments across the UK and Ireland. Discussions are currently underway regarding a number of potential sites in the UK and the team is also looking internationally, as the surf park sector takes off globally.  

The investment deal sees Sullivan Street take a controlling stake in the business, with Jar Capital remaining as a significant investment partner. Founding partners, Layton Tamberlin and Richard Sanders, and the rest of the Sullivan Street team, bring both funding and expertise, adding real value to the Wave as it moves to the next stage of maturity. 

The leisure and hospitality industries are reeling from the effects of the pandemic with many businesses struggling for survival. However, one area that experienced growth in 2021 has been outdoor leisure. This, combined with surging interest in health and wellbeing, and continued growth in experiential leisure and staycations, makes The Wave’s inland surf destination model very appealing. 

“We are excited to play an instrumental role in the next stage of The Wave’s development,” said Sullivan Street founding partner Layton Tamberlin. “What the team has achieved would have been incredible without the pandemic, but to be at the forefront of this new, consumer-driven, market sector at such a time is remarkable. We see excellent current performance at the Bristol site, which was maybe invisible to others due to Covid and the recency of the development, but the opportunity to develop beyond this is enormous – meaning an excellent investment for Sullivan Street and a wider reach of wellness and health benefits to people across the country.” 

The Wave Bristol to reopen next week

The Wave in Bristol was the first inland surfing lake using the innovative Wavegarden Cove technology to open in the world. Despite the pandemic, further sites using the Wavegarden tech opened in 2020 and 2021 in South Korea and Brazil, as this exciting new leisure sector continues to expand globally. Spurred by growth in surfing – and the Olympic effect – this burgeoning sector is definitely on the up. Predictions indicate there could even be up to 100 surf parks operating globally in the next 20 years – The Wave intends to be a leading international player in this market. 

“Working with Sullivan Street will allow us to move forward with our strategy to develop up to 5 more Wave sites in the next 5 years,” said CEO of The Wave Craig Stoddart. “This further cements us as a leading developer in the surf park sector – a leisure category that is set to boom.” 

The Wave added that they are founded on a clear purpose to share the positive well-being benefits of water and waves with people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. The company assesses its impact on the planet and people, as well as the financial implications of decisions, and that it was essential that any investment partner supports this approach.