New Wavepool Teased Amid Local Protests

Wavepools are surfing’s current belle of the ball. Everyone’s fighting for a dance with the artificial waveriding attractions, from cash-driven city planners to the World Surf League to pros and Joes. But before the lights dim and the final slow dance begins, the awkward, gazing-from-afar buildup must play out – i.e. the technology must be perfected.

And whispers of the latest in modern wavepool tech are coming from WaveGarden and their planned facilities in Australia. In partnership with URBNSurf, the Spain-based wave-makers are developing a new design for their Perth location. Called ‘The Cove,’ the updated layout features an A-Frame breaking wave through a pool shaped like a baseball diamond.According to the official URBNSurf Perth website, the wave will produce 2 meter (6.5 feet) barreling waves for high-performance surfing and 0.6 meter (2 feet) walls of rolling whitewater for beginners. The design is a departure from the previous iterations featuring simultaneous peeling waves towards a central pier – see NLand Surf Park in Austin, Texas.

Plans for ‘The Cove’ are also slated for Melbourne and Sydney, although the public can’t expect an opening until late 2017 or early 2018. In the meantime, a select group of Australian pros – Julian Wilson, Josh Kerr, and Ryan Callinan – traveled to the WaveGarden test facility in Spain to try the new technology. Accompanying them was Australia’s national surf coach, Andy King, who sees ‘The Cove’ as a valuable training tool for the coming 2020 Olympics.

“You can get the repetition and practice that you need for training in a really short amount of time without the surfers turning kind of robotic — you get training done in three or four days that would take you three or four months in the ocean,” King told The Australian.

However, not everyone’s onboard with WaveGarden – aside from the obvious surf purists. A group called the Alfred Cove Action Group has vocally expressed environmental concern about the surf lagoon planned for Perth. In fact, URBNSurf and the group had a delightfully passive-aggressive debate over it on Facebook (see here). “It will be an environmental disaster, all 4 hectares (44,065 sqm) of it,” wrote an advocate from the group. “It’s so close to the river you can throw an empty Coke can from it into the river.”

For their part, URBNSurf has started an online campaign in favor of the Perth project. (To support the campaign, click here).

In spite of all the controversy, it seems like wavepools are here to stay. After Kelly Slater released video of his Frankenstein creation a little over a year ago, the following few months was like a wavepool premature ejaculation. Proposals began erupting all over the place. And everybody’s hungry for a spin on the artificial dancefloor – but for now, they’ll have to stand idly by as the budding industry matures.

Because why dance if you can’t improvise? Or at least step on your partners’ toes a little bit.

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More stories by Dashel Pierson:

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Noah Hill Snaps Femur on Rull-Rotation Air
Who Is Lucas Godfrey?
Could Trestles Close to the Public?
I Tried (and Failed) to Surf Like a Pro…And So Can You!

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