There's more news from the East Coast front of the ongoing wave pool wars. With reports that Virginia Beach is entertaining proposals to add a version of the Basque Country artificial wave technology, Wavegarden, to a new oceanfront development project, it appears that the storied, surf-rich right coast enclave has seen Palm Beach's Kelly Slater Wave Pool, and even raised the stakes with some of its own homegrown star-power.
The Virginia-Pilot reports that Virginia Beach native and hip-hop heavyweight turned infectious pop super-producer Pharrell Williams has joined a proposal to develop a nearly 10-acre plot of land in the heart of VB.
"We are excited he will bring his amazing network, contacts, and marketing and branding ideas to the table," Donna MacMillan-Whitaker, a managing partner of development company, Venture Realty Group, told the Pilot. "He is a very talented person."
Venture is currently negotiating with the city on the specifics of the proposal, which includes plans for retail and restaurants, apartments, a 4,000 seat entertainment venue and a surf park capable of producing up to a 1,000 waves per hour utilizing Wavegarden's technology. The addition of a VB wave park will make it one of more than 20 Wavegarden projects in different stages of development, with Surf Snowdonia in North Wales and Austin's NLand Surf Park each already bringing in more than 150,000 visitors per year.
Early indications are that the prospects for the Venture-Williams proposal moving forward are promising–wave pool and all–as it's the only proposal the city of VB is currently considering for the site in question.
There’s currently no timetable for the completion of the project. With Slater's Palm Beach pool on track for a 2019 unveiling, VB isn't likely to be the first right-coast locale with a premier artificial wave available for public consumption. However, with two big-name-backed, consistent, and rippable wave pools in the works, it does beg the question: come 2020-ish, will the East Coast have the best surf in the country?