Kelly Slater Wave Co. Included In San Diego Bayfront Proposal

Could arrive as early as mid-2020s


An artist’s rendition of the proposed pool, apparently between sets.

The first public proposal to build one of Kelly Slater’s über waves in a major city was unveiled yesterday, along with five other proposals for the redevelopment of San Diego’s Seaport Village, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. The reimagined look of the 36-year-old tourist trap covers over 70 acres of bayfront property, and at least one team — McWhinney, a real estate management company based out of Colorado — sees Kelly’s Wave as a potential primary attraction along the Embarcadero Marina Park North, along with three new hotels, a seafood marketplace, and a new cultural performance venue.

“The McWhinney + DJM [Capital Partners] Team is incredibly excited about the potential for collaborating with the District to transform the site into a unique place that contributes significantly to the District's long term goals for the waterfront, to the robustness of San Diego life, and to the overall financial health of both the District and the City,” wrote McWhinney Senior Vice President Dan Cohen in a letter to the San Diego Unified Port District dated on May 2nd.

The economic prize of a complete renovation to Seaport Village is lucrative; the center could reportedly earn up to 10 times what it does now. It could also cost up to $1.4 billion in development (These values range, as four out of the six proposals offer a complete overhaul of the area, while the other two focus on particular sections). The proposed renovation in the wave-pool plan would cover over 1.2 million square feet.

McWhinney’s Dan Cohen and KSWC General Manager Noah Grimmet were unavailable for comment.

A redevelopment open house will take place at the San Diego convention center on Monday, June 13th, and on Tuesday, June 14th, from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM, where developer representatives will answer questions from the public about the six unique proposals. The Union-Tribune reports that written comments from attendees will be collected and summarized by port staff for later discussions. On July 13th, the port board will evaluate 20-minute presentations by each team and will then determine further steps in the redevelopment process. Should Port Chairman Marshall Merrifield and his staff select McWhinney’s plan, and should that plan receive eventual approval from the California Coastal Commission, construction could begin as early as 2019.

To see the complete Seaport Village proposal from McWhinney, click here. Below is a letter from Noah Grimmet on behalf of Kelly’s Wave Company, dated April 27th, 2016:

Kelly Slater Wave Company is very pleased to exclusively be part of the McWhinney + DJM team’s vision for the redevelopment of the Seaport Village site in San Diego. As surfers, we are aware of San Diego and its long rich history with the sport of surfing.

Kelly Slater Wave Company is an innovative wave technology company, the first company to develop a formula that combines cutting edge science, engineering and design. KSWC has created the longest, open-barrel wave that mimics the sought after surfing experiences found in nature. These high-performance training centers can host top athletes, where they can perfect their talent on the best man-made wave. KSWC also partners with developers to create a unique experience for amateur surfers, adventure enthusiasts and families to discover the joy of board sports in a recreational destination that embodies an active outdoor lifestyle that emphasizes exercise and play.

We look forward to participating in a project that engages the community and creates an environment where people can interact and better understand waves and the ocean.


Noah Grimmet

General Manager