The British are frothing. Well, some of those who enjoy surfing artificial waves and live in the south coast town of Bournemouth are, anyway, following the announcement of a new surf resort called “Lagoon Project”. Lagoon Project’s details are scarce, but as with all these artificial surf parks popping up around the world, there are plenty of renderings. And by the looks of the one above, a square-shaped wave machine sits in the midst of traditional water park attractions, camp sites and a hotel.
The BBC reported that the $45 million dollar project is “based on the success of the Surf Snowdonia artificial surfing lake in Wales.” The company planning the project estimates that it will attract 500,000 visitors annually. Construction is expected to start later this year and there’s a tentative opening date in the summer of 2020.
Bournemouth is no stranger to man’s meddling with waves. In 2009, the infamous Boscombe Surf Reef was sunk off its shore. The Boscombe Surf Reef was an artificial reef made up of 55 giant sandbags. The $4 million project was expected to enhance the town’s waves in hopes to create a British surfing hub that would restore the local tourism economy–which peaked in the Victorian era (1837-1901). The plan failed. At its best, the Boscombe Surf Reef produced a fickle 2-foot wave that was practically unsurfable. The hotels remained vacant.
Boscombe Surf Reef was eventually damaged by a boat propellor, declared “unsafe” in 2011 and left to ruin 750 feet out to sea. A section of it washed ashore in 2017. British paper, The Times, called the bizarre fiasco “The $4 Million Wipeout” and officially declared Bournemouth’s surf dream dead.
Hopefully, the Lagoon Project will resurrect Bournemouth’s surf dream and have a much happier ending this time around, at least for those willing to pay for waves.
Watch a short documentary about the Boscombe Surf Reef below.
Read more from the BBC here.