Yakima County could have a surf park by 2024
Surfers could ride the waves while looking at the hills, orchards
MOXEE, Washington – People could ride the waves in the hot desert sun of Yakima County in the spring of 2024 – while admiring rolling fields, hills and orchards.
“We are on the site – hopefully on the future site – of Barrel surf parkSaid Joey Lawrence, founder of Northwest Surf Parks and the driving force behind the project. “This will be Washington State’s first big wave surf technology outdoor attraction.”
The man-made surf park in the “Palm Springs of Washington” will have waves as high as eight feet, lasting up to 20 seconds each, and can be customized for beginner or professional surfers.
“There is a lot of excitement in offering a whole new outdoor recreation activity that – until now – was really out of reach,” Lawrence said. “We’re trying to provide an experience that would typically require someone to get on a plane and go to Hawaii.”
Lawrence works at Bale Breaker Brewing Co.’s taproom and said they are very supportive of the project, which he has been working on for almost six years. He said the name of the Barreled Surf Park came from both a surfing movement called “barrel roll” and the barrels used by the craft brewing industry prevalent in the Yakima Valley.
According to website, “The open-air park will enhance the pristine agricultural environment, while offering a unique, family-friendly recreational experience, so far beyond the reach of the region.”
The equipment comes from Wavegarden, an engineering company based in Spain dedicated to the creation of wave generation systems and surf lagoons.
“We have partnered with them to conduct a feasibility study of the area to make sure this place can support one of their projects, which we have been successful with,” said Lawrence.
Lawrence said that a surf park is not like a water park or an amusement park, but rather like a climbing hall or a summer ski resort; rather than just focusing on entertainment, it will be a place for potential and professional surfers to train, practice and hone their craft.
“We’re not going to have big bright lights or a carnival,” Lawrence said. “We feel that we have found the right location and we want to be as good neighbors as possible.”
The surf park will include a Wavegarden Cove, a surf shop, a surf school and changing rooms, a bar and food court, lounge pools, beach volleyball, a dog park, a playground and a skate track – all with a rural theme. The entrance will be a barn, the restaurant will be a roadside fruit stand and the surf school will be a tractor shed.
“We think the rural community is worth showing off and we want to embrace it,” Lawrence said. “The reason we’re here is to bring out these aspects of the Yakima Valley, not to interfere with them.”
The surf park will also offer overnight accommodations, including 21 RV sites, 21 campsites and 23 small cabins. Lawrence said he chose to build it in Yakima County because of its hot weather, its already established tourism industry, and its continued enthusiasm for outdoor recreation.
“We just love this small town and think Yakima has a lot to offer,” Lawrence said. “And then, of course, it’s located between the three major population centers of Portland, Seattle, and Spokane.”
Lawrence said the surf park is expected to have a positive impact on the tourism industry and economy in Yakima County, as well as the creation of permanent, temporary and seasonal jobs.
“The Yakima County Development Association has done an economic impact study, so we’re looking directly at creating 10 year-round jobs and 100 seasonal jobs,” Lawrence said. “And then, to build it, there will be 115 jobs in the construction sector, then the economic ripple effect will create 65 additional jobs.”
Lawrence said the surf park is also expected to bring in around $ 1.5 million in state and local tax revenue each year. He said they had previously applied for the land use permit for the property, which is located in rural Moxee, near Roy Farms.
The remote location was deliberate; Lawrence said he wanted surfers to be able to learn, train and have fun while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Yakima Valley.
“The goal was to provide as pristine an environment as possible for our customers,” said Lawrence.
Roy Farms has provided the property and will divert some of its water to the park. To do this, the surf park must obtain permission from local and state authorities to change water use from agriculture to recreation.
Although they were able to get approval for water use from the Yakima County Water Conservancy Board, they are still working to get approval from the State Department of Ecology. Lawrence said state officials initially refused to approve their request due to insufficient information, a decision they were working to appeal.
“Overall, we hope to have the permitting processes completed by the end of the summer, and then hopefully launch next spring, which puts us on track to be open in the spring.” 2024, ”said Lawrence.
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