Where will the new Wavegarden Cove wave pools be?

We’ve put together a comprehensive Wavegarden Cove guide along with everything we know about the Cove wave pool tech

The first public Wavegarden Cove wave pools are currently under construction on opposite sides of the globe. Ground has broken in both Melbourne and Bristol and the company has plans for 16 additional locations. You’re stoked if you live near Coachella, Lacanau, Sao Paulo, Santiago and many other international cities. It’s a great time to delve a little deeper into this technology born from deep in the Basque Country.

Wavegarden Cove facilities are planned for:

Coachella, California
Virginia Beach, USA
Edinburgh, Scotland
Bristol, England
London, England
Sevran (Paris), France
Lacanau, France
Valais, Switzerland
Barcelona, Spain
Madrid, Spain
Malaga, Spain
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Garopaba, Brazil
Melbourne, Australia
Sydney, Australia
Perth, Australia
Seoul, South Korea
South Florida, USA
Santiago, Chile


The wave pool landscape is totally new. There are heaps of people scrambling to create the best tech, secure investors, construct a wave pool and develop a viable commercial model. It’s constantly changing.

“Space Race” is tossed around quite a bit. But the term doesn’t quite work with wave pools. The Space Race involved two countries (USA and Russia) building and racing to launch their own rockets.

In the wave pool world, there are two separate components spread out across multiple players. You have half a dozen wave pool designers (like Wavegarden, Webber and Surf Lakes) who must conceive of and in some cases build the pools. After that there are the resorts pursuing their own dream, places like NLand.

The pool designers have to woo developers to pony up the cash to license and in some cases construct the pool. In this piece, we’ll look at the most prolific design in the wave pool maket today – the Cove by Wavegarden.


Early Wavegarden disc design

 Early Wavegarden tests used a giant disc. Subsequent designs have evolved into the Cove tech we see today.

First to jump into the wave pools

The team at Wavegarden are trailblazers. First large test pool. First video clips. First public pool (Surf Snowdonia). They have created the template for pool builders to follow. In terms of wave pool marketing, Wavegarden invented that too: Build facility, release clips of pros riding facility. Repeat process.

However, between the clip launches and media candy, what real information do we have about the Wavegarden Cove technology?

How it Works: One thousand tiny unicorns pulling levers

While the engineering specifics are a closely-guarded secret, Wavegarden goes on record to say that the wave-generating system is controlled by “sophisticated software.”

The software settings at the Cove generate everything from slabs to easy beginner rollers. Wavegarden states that “at the push of a button, the size, shape, power and frequency of the waves can be adjusted to suit all user groups.”

They boast further that the software can transform conditions in an instant. Knee-high dribblers can be replaced with Cove slabs capable of hitting a max height of 2.4 meters (7 feet,10 inches.)


1000 waves per hour don’t add up

“With the frequency on the highest setting, two waves are created every 8 seconds in a staggered formation on either side of the pier,” Wavegarden says despite a 100-wave deficit after the math is done.

Two waves every eight seconds (equal to one wave every four seconds) is 15 waves per minute. 60 minutes multiplied by 15 waves for each of those minutes equals 900 waves per hour, not 1000.

We reached out to Wavegarden to address this issue. The company said they can change the setting to 7 seconds, adding that they were also talking about the production of swells and that in a commercial facility each swell breaks in multiple areas. So yes despite our conspiracy theories, the Cove produces 1000+ waves per hour.





wavegarden cove surfing areas


Surf zones in the Cove

The right and left Reefs are expert zones and it’s these adjustable waves that we see in all the video clips. When the machine spits out waves a right and a left peel away from adjacent walls toward a central pier. The footage we see is all from the small Wavegarden test pool. In the largest pools, the waves from this Reef section will peel for a much greater distance.

The corresponding Bays is the area designed for beginners and newbies. These waves are the remnants of the Reef waves. And it’s these sections of the Wavegarden Cove that offer the sloping open-face reforms that make perfecting your surf skills easier.




Goldilocks and the customizable outline

The Cove wave pools come in small, medium and large options, depending on the size and expense of the project. For scale, the Wavegarden clips we see are done at their R&D facility which is the one half of the smallest size pool available. The project that broke ground in Melbourne is a large-scale facility (all the upcoming projects mentioned in this article are full-scale).

“The wave’s length is determined by the number of modules (extensions to each pool),” the company says. “To extend the length of ride additional modules can be installed. Even in small facilities, the wave-riding experience can last around 10-15 seconds.”

For comparison, American Wave Machines’ PerfectSwell tech at BSR Surf Resort offers 10-second rides. Kelly’s wave pool hits the 45-second mark. So it’s easy to extrapolate that a full-size Cove will near that length of ride.

Wavegarden adds that the extensions can be customized to match whatever shape the project demands. The Cove design can fit into square spaces or round spaces. Anything really. As a result, a small triangular urban footprint can host waves as well as a large, open rural field. It will just be a smaller pool.


proposed london wave pool

 Design plans for the Wavegarden Cove facility in London

Wavegarden Cove projects breaking ground

Melbourne, Australia

Australia’s cafe capital, Melbourne, has broken ground as URBNSURF gets underway on a full-size Wavegarden Cove facility. Located near the airport, the new Melbourne park is being built with a north-south lagoon orientation to suit prevailing winds so one side of the lagoon will deliver offshore wind. We have to wait to see if it’s the goofyfoots or the regularfoots who score the prime pool real estate.

URBNSURF also announced LED lagoon lighting for night surfs, which is an option at all the upcoming Cove pools. Once the dirt’s put back in place after the projects, the landscaping will reflect the Victorian coastal habitats nearby. All future Cove projects in Oz will be done by URBNSURF as they are the proud licensees of the new technology.


Bristol, England

A few years ago Bristol and Surf Snowdonia were in a race to build the world’s first commercial surfing wave pool. As Bristol put on the brakes, Surf Snowdonia steamed on and earned the “first to market” claim. Now, The Wave Bristol is breaking ground in a field just outside of town.
This week they announced that the diggers are done and the construction crew is ready to get on with phase two.

“We are full steam ahead with the build in Bristol,” the company said. “The earthworks team have finished digging out the lagoon area and have been building the levels on site.”

When completed, the Cove at the Bristol site will act as a high-performance center for Surfing England with an eye on boosting British surfing performances for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

small, medium and large cove facilities
 The waves we see in the Wavegarden video clips is half of the smallest Cove offering (on the left.) All current projects are full-sized Cove wave pools (far right with both rights and lefts)


Cove locations, heaps of promise (and cool artist drawings!)

The crew at The Wave Bristol also announced plans for a London facility this week. In all, 18 locations dot the “projects under development” map for Wavegarden.

Representatives from Wavegarden have confirmed full-size pools are planned for Coachella California, Virginia Beach, Edinburgh, London, Paris, Lacanau, Valais Switzerland, Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Sao Paulo, Garopab Brazil, Sydney, Perth, Seoul, Santiago and a mystery south Florida location.

With two projects being built, and so many in the planning stages, it means that Wavegarden’s Cove technology will be the most prevalent wave pool technology in the world.

And while Wavegarden Cove, American Wave Machines, Surf Lakes and Kelly Slater Wave Company all look amazing and fun, we still haven’t heard from Greg Webber or Tom Lochtfeld. What will they introduce in 2019? Exciting times.

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