Wavegarden UK is a revolutionary plan to bring surfing inland and create quality waves on tap.
Britain has a long history in its attempts to rule the commercial waves. In the ‘70s, leisure centres upped their attendance by pumping out lumps of frothy waves across exotic plastic plant lined swimming pools. More recently static wave machines fire a jet of chlorinated water over a foam mound to produce a fun barreling wave for the more discerning surf-aware clientele. Then came the adventurous Bournemouth Reef. The plan was to give the infrequent South coast waves a multimillion lift with miles of tubular sandbags looped and bolted onto the seabed to replicate a world class reef to jack-up the waves. The PR and press coverage went worldwide but the class of wave was a sad ripple of a dream, a large odorous bubble pumped into the salty bath.
The first Wavegarden appeared last year in Spain. A manmade freshwater lake set in a forest that produces a conveyor of world class 1.5 meter high waves; a classic lefthander. Surf filmmaker Keith Malloy was invited to Wavegarden last summer; “It’s perfect, clean, I just wanted it go for a mile” said Malloy. Footage on Youtube has recently been posted of him riding the left; “I think it’s amazing,” he says with surprise. ”With the technology, you can make the perfect wave. So instead of flying to Indonesia, you can stay at home and surf this wave”
Bristol isn’t quite the Bali of Malloys dreams but plans to build Wavegarden UK have already been submitted to Bristol City Council. Osteopath Nick Hounsfield’s and corporate marketing director Tobin Coles both share an addiction to surfing that has seen them clocking up miles of travel down to Devon and Cornwall. They met via their kids attending the same school and entered into the partnership to build Wavegarden UK and bring the Sueño Latino, Spain’s dream wave on tap to Avon Gorge.
For every surfing hour you are lucky to get 10 waves that last 5 to 10 seconds. With Wavegarden you can surf the wave for 55 seconds
But why Bristol? It is estimated Bristol has around 4,500 surfers who drive 1+ hours to surf. Nick and Tobin’s dream is to open the lake to the public and create perfect surfing waves, up to 1.6 meters high on a 450 meter man-made lake close to the city centre. The pros can enjoy a 55 second long ride, whilst beginners can be kept out the way on less demanding waves. In a recent article, This is Bristol gave full support for the project; ‘This £5 MILLION development would make Bristol the world’s first city to offer inland surfing’.
Once open there are plans for trips to the surf park to rehabilitate soldiers with physical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder managed by the charity Surf Action.
The Benefits of Wavegarden UK
1 No more staring at flat wave reports
2 For every surfing hour you are lucky to get 10 waves that last 5 to 10 seconds. With Wavegarden you can surf the wave for 55 seconds
3 Surfers can surf both ways down the lake – less chance of missing a wave
4 No need to drive hundreds of miles each weekend to surf (if you live in Bristol)
5 The queuing system means less chance someone dropping in on your wave
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