Dead In The Water

The Orlando Sentinel reported today that the much-hyped Ron Jon Surfpark in Orlando's 1.1 million square foot Festival Bay Mall has reached what looks to be a major flat spell in wavepool history. On top of exhausting a buku $9 million budget for research, design and construction because of setbacks and snafus, Ron Jon Surf Shop has officially pulled it's name from the project.

Jamie Meiselman, who is the founder of Surfparks LLC (the brains behind the project), last spoke with Surfing Magazine in May of 2005. "It's hard to believe we're finally making the dream happen," Meiselman had said on that day of celebration, referring to Surfparks LLC receiving full funding to kick off what was to be the world's most dynamic, and realistic, 6-wave-per-minute wavepool. In addition, the park would boast a remote-controlled bottom to alter wave-types from 3-foot beachies to 6-8 foot spitting slabs.

The dream however, did not reach fruition. "We had some flaws in the technology and invested quite a bit of money in fixing that," Meiselman is quoted as saying in today's Orlando Sentinel online article. (Surfing Magazine was unable to contact Meiselman). "The good news is we were able to solve the problems; the bad news is it came at a cost."

Though the Surfpark is not a dead idea, it looks like Festival Bay can and will not wait around for Surfparks LLC to work out the kinks and raise the funds needed to launch. So, what is left is a vacant {{{100}}},000 square foot gap at the end of the mall in which Festival Bay is now searching to fill and an even larger void in surfing's fringe exploration of wavepool technology. Not to mention, a major blow to the theory that one day we will be riding legitimate waves in land-locked shopping malls across the globe.

Read SURFING Associate Photo Editor {{{Jimmy}}} Wilson’s “That’s Bullsh*t!” opinion piece on why the Ron Jon Surf Park Failed HERE