How cool is your pool? Discover water temps for all the world’s wave pools
We surfed 3°C (36°F) Alaia Bay for the Winter Cup, but we’ve also heard reports of 30°C (92F°) water in Japan. Curious about the extremes of wave pool temperatures, we reached out to the surf tanks of the world to ask them directly about the warmth of their waters. Here’s what we found…
The Wave – Bristol, U.K
This Wavegarden Cove installation is currently not heated and, as with all unheated pools, the water temperature is usually not far off that of the air. With summer highs of up to 27°C (85°F) in the pool, comfortably surfing in boardshorts is now possible in the UK (though average is 17-24°C (64°F-80°F) for this time of the year). Winter can see water as cold as 5°C (42°F), but warm wetsuits and hot showers are provided on site. There are no plans to introduce heating systems at this location due to the environmental cost of the required energy production. However, the team behind The Wave tell us that they’re investigating geothermal heating options and are factoring this in when assessing the viability of future sites.
The first commercially operating Wavegarden facility in the world, the pool at Adventure Parc Snowdonia sees similar water temperatures to The Wave, with summer averages around 20°C (72°F) and single-digit figures during winter. Situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Adventure Parc take their impact on the environment very seriously, so no power-hungry heating systems here—just the warmth provided by the sun’s rays. Side note: They use 100% rainwater to fill the surf lake. The rainwater travels from the Snowdonia mountain reservoirs to power a nearby hydroelectric plant before reaching the lagoon. The same water that creates the surf also helps to power 20,000 households in Wales.
To the far east now, where PerfectSwell Shizunami (Surf Stadium Japan) sees a huge swing in temperature from summer to winter. Highs of over 30°C (92°F) are common in July and August, bombing down to a very chilly 5°C (42°F) in winter. The pool is currently unheated, however options are being investigated to make those winter months a little more bearable… Stay tuned for updates on these developments.
Unsurprisingly for forward thinking South Korea, the largest Wavegarden Cove installation to date is also one of the rare wave pools that is in fact heated. And what’s more, it’s heated by garbage. During the winter months, steam is piped 2.6km from the Siheung Green Center, a waste-to-energy facility that also produces the electricity to power the park’s 56 wave-making modules. This steam maintains the water at a balmy 20°C (72°F) in winter and the local environment raises this figure to the high twenties in summer.
No need for heating here on Queensland’s central coast. Summertime pool temperatures sit around 25°C (82°F), with winter lows of a comfortable 17°C (66°F). It’s summer suits all year and that’s a fact. Surf Lakes being Surf Lakes, of course they can’t leave the Mad Max theme behind and are looking into dome-covered, climate-controlled options for future sites – the thunder in these domes courtesy of unloading slabs.
Cooler than subtropical Yeppoon, URBNSURF enjoy summertime water temperatures of 20-24°C (72°F-80°F) with winters dipping to 10-12°C (52°F-56°F). While this is cooler than the waters of tropical Yeppoon, the team at URBNSURF have focused on making the pre- and post-surf experience as cozy as possible. You can whoop your pals in the surf from the poolside hot tubs and their cabanas are all centrally heated. In a drive for sustainability they have also optimized the hot water usage in their showers and have introduced a range of alternative heating options around the park.
Waco Surf water averages 30°C+ (90°F+) from July to September. Last winter the facility shut down for the coldest months of the year, but still saw operational temperatures of around 10°C (52°F) immediately before and after closure.
You know this one’s gonna be cold. So much so they had to close early in December due to ice forming in the pool, despite agitating the water with wavelets overnight. Rather than fight the cold, the crew at Alaia embrace it as a truly unique surfing experience. Last year they held their inaugural “Winter Cup”, which saw surfers competing against a backdrop of fresh snow and ice capped mountains in water temperatures of just 3°C (38°F). Average for winter is a little warmer than that, around 6-10°C (44°F-52°F), with summer temps hitting a very pleasant 27°C (86°F) at peak. There are no plans to heat the pool as the team at Alaia Bay are firm believers that, with the right equipment, the pool can be enjoyed year round. You could be surfing either in a 6mm winter suit, gloves, boots and hood or in boardshorts and bikinis, depending on when you visit.
Now we head from the coldest wave pool to the warmest. Buried deep in the heart of New Jersey’s American Dream mall is the compact, PerfectSwell-powered SkudinSurfAD. As the only indoor traveling wave surf park in the world, SkudinSurfAD offers the luxury of 30°C (92°F) air and water year round. Local surfers rejoice in respite from NJ’s frigid winter oceans. After your tropical surf session you can visit the adjoining “Big Snow” indoor ski slope and shred to your heart’s content in a giant freezer cooled to -2°C (28°F). What a time to be alive.