Podcast: The Edinburgh odyssey with Andy Hadden

Wavegarden Scotland is on the crest of breaking ground and Andy lets us in on all the trials and tribulations that have taken him this far. But he isn’t done yet. The construction phase could well be the most challenging.

Andy Hadden has singlehandedly taken on this monster to bring a new surf spot to Edinburgh: one that sits in an old quarry and just so happens to form a perfect gladiatorial amphitheater.

Perfect waves in a quarry.
Wavegarden Scotland artist rendering

Establishing personal context:

  • Back in your youth, how did your sporting influence begin?
  • Did that morph into surfing and could you give us an overview of the Scottish surfing scene?
  • It looks like your academic career was designed specifically for Wave Pool Development… a degree in Sports Science and a Masters in Property Development.
  • You worked at Collier’s, did you bump into Sean Young from Wavegarden over there? (How did you first become interested in wave pools…)

Wavegarden Scotland

  • What was the spark that ignited your desire to build a wave pool in Edinburgh?
    • Andy mentions Fernando Odriozola who is the driving commercial mind behind Wavegarden.
  • Tell us the process of how you started and are proceeding with Wavegarden Scotland. Could you step us through it?
  • Could you outline the story of how you found your land for the surf lagoon? It’s perfectly located near highways and the airport.
  • Wasn’t there an issue with the composition of the soil in the mine?
    • It’s an old quarry with reclaimed land, which was always factored into the plan.
  • You must have visualized your perfect outcome for the project. Take me, as a first time customer, through the gates of Edinburgh’s first surf park as it is in your mind’s eye.
  • Let’s drill down into the accommodation, have you gone into great detail with that yet? I’ve seen some cool looking pods…
    • Wide range of accommodation from good value to luxury units, and a mountain biking skills track.
  • Naturally, you considered all the different options for Wavegarden Scotland: shopping centre, residential real estate, high rise – what scenario did you settle on and why?
Marketing image for Solia Madrid's Wavegarden cove
Solia Shopping Madrid

Wave Park Development

  • Many wave park developers around the world have challenges with filling and maintaining the levels of water. How are you going to do it in Edinburgh? Would the Scottish rain cover it?
    • Boreholes, canal and rainwater form a large part of the water collection.
  • Challenges also arise with energy and the sustainability question around that. How are you dealing with the large electricity requirement of a full-sized wave garden cove?
  • If American Wave Machines, Surf Loch, Webber Wave Pools or Surf Lakes came to you right now with a vastly superior wave technology would you consider it?
  • I consider the “Freshwater Pro” at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in Lemoore rather boring to watch. Do you think there is a sweet spot for wave pool competitions? How do you feel they could be improved?
  • How are you going to market the Wave Pool?

The Future of Surfing

  • It is said that there are 17-35 million surfers (let’s call it 20m) in the world today and we’re growing at roughly 20% per year. Do you agree with those figures and will the surfing population increase directly because of wave pools?
  • There are currently 2 wave pools open in the UK with another 4 at least in development. Would you enjoy a future where wave pools are as prevalent as football stadiums?
    • Snowdonia, Bristol, Edinburgh, London, Birmingham (all Wavegardens) and a Surf Lakes facility in Bournemouth. See our surf planner for more.
  • A lot has been said about surfing’s inclusion in the Olympics in 2020. What kind of real impact do you feel it will bring to the sport?
Architectural master plan for Wavegarden Scotland
Wavegarden Scotland near Ratho, Edinburgh.