Surf-crazed Australians hungry for man-made rides | County Chief of St George and Sutherland
In a country with some of the best beaches in the world, investors are raising a ton of money in man-made surf parks.
If all of the projects currently on the drawing board stand up, Australia may soon have more than half a dozen man-made breaks and a whole new string to its tourist bow.
Some of the projects are breathtakingly large.
In January last year, Urbnsurf opened the country’s first surf park 20 km from the coast, near Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport. It cost $ 43 million and is the size of the MCG.
Later this year, he plans to begin construction of another roughly the same size at Sydney Olympic Park, at a cost of $ 50 million.
Perth and Brisbane will be next, said Urbnsurf CEO Damon Tudor, with discussions already well under way on a potential site for the Queensland park.
North of Brisbane, the man known as the greatest surfer of all time has attached his name to what is marketed as the Surf Ranch Sunshine Coast.
The Kelly Slater Wave Company – now owned by the professional governing body World Surf League – has teamed up with a developer and builder who is planning a massive new development in Coolum, a mile from the beach.
The $ 100 million wave park will be at the heart of a $ 1.2 billion resort-style project on 510 acres of sugarcane surrounded by a hotel, villas, apartments, green spaces and even a new school.
Don O’Rorke is the CEO of developer, Consolidated Properties Group, and sees vast potential for the place to become a hub for professional surfing and surf tourism in Australia.
It highlights the success of Slater’s prototype surf ranch in Lemoore, Calif., Home of the Freshwater Pro, one of the WSL’s championship tournaments attracting the world’s best riders. Before the pandemic hit, it was running at full capacity.
âThere is only one major tourist attraction on the Sunshine Coast, which is the Australia Zoo, and we think it will be a very good complementary asset,â he says.
âWe also think it’s a very good asset for the Olympic Games, whether as a training or competition center, with the state now finalizing its candidacy (for the 2032 Games).
“The Olympics will probably be in August and it’s not a great month for surfing in Australia.”
Elsewhere across the country, investors are pushing for other wave park proposals.
On the Gold Coast, 6 miles from Surfers Paradise Beach, Parkwood Village intends to build the Glitter Strip’s first dedicated surf park, adding to its golf, mini-golf, recreation and restoration.
At Wisemans Ferry, north of Sydney, the Wisemans Surf Lodge is due to open in 2022, with a wave pool four football fields in length, capable of generating 2.5-meter peaks of multiple shapes every 10 seconds. about.
You see the picture. Investors think surf parks are a sure thing in a land of beaches and they say there are several reasons for this.
The main ones are safety and security. Waves are guaranteed whatever the weather, and can range from kid-friendly Waikiki-style ripples to two-meter waves that will satisfy the most experienced surfers.
In addition, you will not be eaten by a shark or swept away by the sea.
Tudor, of Urbnsurf, says not all parks in the pipeline might come true, but it’s clear the foundations for a new industry are being laid and there is money to be found. to win.
Tullamarine Park opened 11 weeks before Australia’s first covid lockdown and lost a total of seven full months of business last year. The lockdown of international tourists forced it to pivot, quickly, to focus on domestic tourism and that was a huge success.
Tudor says the park attracts everyone from experienced surfers who want a guaranteed ride, to kids who are learning and less experienced riders who don’t like the sometimes intimidating experience of trying to get a wave on crowded breaks. .
Since its opening, 65,000 unique visitors have passed through the doors. He believes there is enough appetite in a surf-mad nation for his business to thrive and sees the eventual return of international tourists as a bonus.
“We have created a much more accessible environment for people who surf a lot but also for people who don’t.”
Australian Associated Press