Washington State wave pool on track

In Washington State, Yakima County officials approved the Barreled Surf Park project following a long and contentious approval process last spring. This week more details came to light as developer Joey Lawrence spoke with a local Rotary Club.

Barreled Surf Park will be located two hours from Seattle and three hours from Portland. The rural farming community is known as the Hop Capital of the U.S.A., with three-quarters of America’s crop produced there. Hops of course, those small bulbs that resemble tiny green pinecones, produce beer.

Joey told the Yakima Herald that he is constantly asked how a facility hours away from the Pacific coast can be economically viable. He pointed out that there are 220,000 surfers in the Pacific Northwest region who make 1.3 million visits to the coast. Barreled will work if only 6.3% of the existing market visits them. Joey said this figure does not include the new surfers who will pop up around the pool – much like in Waco, Texas.

“There is a gap in the market for family outdoor recreation here, and we’re trying to fill it,” Joey said. “I think there is no reason (the Yakima Valley) should not be the central hub for outdoor recreation in our region.”

Many residents spoke out against the project earlier this year on topics ranging from light pollution to traffic congestion. The surf park was approved only if it meets 29 conditions set out by the county.

“The name of our park, Barreled, is as much an ode to the local craft beverage industry as it is to the surfing maneuver we all dream to achieve,” said project partner Joey Lawrence. “The main reason for our site selection is Yakima’s less popular nickname among locals, “The Palm Springs of Washington”. 

The valley claims 300 days of sunshine annually and a high desert climate that hits the 80s and 90s (25-30 Celsius) in the off-winter months. Lows in February hover around freezing.

Lawrence said their goal was to create an environment where people from all over the Pacific Northwest will be able to surf in boardshorts during summer and light wetsuits in the transition seasons of late spring and early fall.

Once completed (estimated Spring 2025) Barreled would be open April through October. It will become the second wave pool in the state after the rapid wave at Lakeside Surf in Chelan three hours away.