PODCAST: Wavegarden’s Sean Young on what it takes to make the long haul

“Wavegarden”, the sound of that name evokes a zen-like space where waves roll endlessly through green spaces pulsing with lush natural life. As if you didn’t know, it’s actually a company created way back in 2005, that sits deep in a northern Spanish valley. It’s a richly forested and abundant area ravaged by harsh Atlantic winters and pounded by massive waves during the cold, rainy months. It is from this secret hideaway that Sean Young chats to us all about the history of Wavegarden, how he came to join the exclusive firm and how they came to be operating in all four corners of the planet.

His role in the company is to assist potential partners in the extensive preliminary planning work that needs to be conducted before the first digger breaks ground.

Seán Young and Tom Carroll at the Wavegarden HQ
Seán Young and Tom Carroll at the Wavegarden HQ

Listen to Seán Young’s story

He started back in the counties of Ireland and gravitated over to the UK, before joining some of the top companies in the destination management space. Eventually, Seán landed in the Basque country at Wavegarden.

Wavegarden show notes

  • Moving to Boil near Sligo
  • Windsurfing, snorkelling and kayaking and in Donegal, Ireland
  • University and a masters course in Loughborough, UK. Seán moved into the “leisure sector” thereafter.
  • How wave parks moved into Seán’s field of view.
  • The state of Wavegarden around 2012/2014
  • Adventure Park Snowdonia, the start of second-generation wave parks.
  • A short history of their research and development process and the launch of the Wavegarden Cove in September 2016.
  • Cove vs Lagoon technology and how The Wave in Bristol switched from Wave Loch to the Cove wave system.
  • Upcoming Wavegarden projects around the world: Korea, Switzerland, Brazil and Scotland with California coming in hot on their heels. Another 26 contractually agreed projects in the pipeline.
  • When do you go public with a wave pool project?
  • Seán discusses the permitting process and finding the correct piece of land.
  • How do you separate the tyre kickers from the serious partners?
  • Let’s look at the future, how many dedicated wave pools do you think will be open by 2025?
  • Can wave pools decrease the pressure on the ocean when it comes to surfing tuition?
  • Is Wavegarden researching the creation of bigger waves?
  • Some people in the core surf community naturally don’t want surfing to grow as they’d like to protect the finite wave resources of the planet. What do you say to them?