A new destination for surfing, or at least some form of it, may hit the southwestern coast of the United Kingdom by spring 2013. In Bristol, England, plans are under review for the installation of the first licensed Wavegarden prototype and public surfing facility.
The designs tout some very bold claims: this Wavegarden will create perfect 5-foot waves breaking at 90 second intervals on a quarter-mile long lake, which the reps say skilled surfers will be able to milk for a 55-second-long ride. It sounds unrealistic, but if it even operates at half that capacity, it would be, in a faux, freshwater way, comparable to a solid day at Malibu.
They've outlined their vision for the facility, and it sounds like a familiar formula. As the press release states, they hope to "provide a healthy, educational, sensory experience. This means children can play, learn and have fun, grown-ups can relax and there will be easy access for people of all abilities." So they're building a beach, and with that, why not some waves?
In order for this project to move forward, however, a weighty investment is required: 13 acres of untouched land and roughly $7.74 million. The allocation of so many resources to an artificial wave has fired up a good number of the locals around Bristol, yet the team behind the plan sees it as a high-risk, high-reward scenario.
"It's ambitious, but attainable," said Nick Hounsfield, co-founder of Wavegarden UK. "We instinctively know that being in or around water is good for people, and that is something we want to share."
The project is in its early stages, still awaiting policy approval and assembling investors, but it marks an interesting point in wave-pool development. The technology exists, and it's now a matter of application. What this means for the sport of surfing and its potential proliferation is another discussion entirely.
Meanwhile, construction has begun on a new public-use surfing facility in the Basque Country, at the same location of the original Wavegarden. The company claims to additionally have commitments for licensed facilities in the Middle East, Europe and America.Recent footage from the original Wavegarden in the Basque Country of Spain.