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From the very beginning, Wavegarden’s vision was founded on sharing the exhilarating feeling of surfing perfect waves with everyone, everywhere. With 4 commercial surfing facilities delivered, another 4 set to open in 2020/21 (Siheung, next to Seoul and Incheon International Airport, South Korea; Valais, Switzerland; Praia da Grama & Garopaba, Brazil), plus another 30+ projects financially contracted and in development across 5 continents, the company’s commitment to this aspiration is materializing.
At Wavegarden’s private test center in northern Spain, the in-house development team continues to expand, now comprising 60 full time staff – all specialists in their respective fields of fluid dynamics, mechanical, civil and electrical engineering, software development, water treatment, architecture, business development and operations. In response to increasing market demand for the groundbreaking Wavegarden Cove technology, the founders continue working on ambitious expansion plans.
“In recent years, we have mastered all aspects of our technology, including an innovative water treatment system, and expanded our business development services to provide clients with a seamless experience from project concept through to opening and beyond,” explained Josema Odriozola, Wavegarden’s founder and CEO. “Today, we can even go one step further by providing expert assistance across all aspects of commercial operations”.
The recent opening of two Wavegarden Cove facilities – URBNSURF Melbourne, Australia and THE WAVE Bristol, England – demonstrates our ability to deliver world-class and financially viable surf parks. “We’ve had an exciting start to the business with strong session occupancy since opening in January,” said Damon Tudor, CEO of URBNSURF. “The quality of the wave and capacity in the lagoon has delivered an amazing experience for our members and guests, which is key for the viability of the park. It’s a special feeling to watch surfers come out of the water with smiles on their faces every time. We can’t wait to get onto our next project.”
There are a range of characteristics that make the patented Wavegarden Cove technology categorically superior to other wave generating systems popping up in the fast growing sector of man-made surf parks. First and foremost, the technology is proven to work. Years of meticulous testing and refinement at the demo center, which to date, has created almost 5 million waves, has ensured that commercial lagoons around the planet run seamlessly.
Additionally, economic and environmental sustainability are leading factors. The mechanical system employed by the Wavegarden Cove consumes less than 1Khw per wave – very little energy is lost in the transmission of forces and even part of the energy is recovered and reused. Comparability studies reveal that Wavegarden’s technology uses 10 times less energy than other pneumatic wave generation systems in the market today. Based on average electricity prices, this can amount to savings in excess of 1 million euros per year.
Since opening in January, URBNSURF Melbourne has received 65k visitors, collectively catching a total of 3.6 million rides. On any given day of the week, some of the world’s top pros, passionate amateurs and complete newcomers to the sport, have been seen riding waves just minutes away from Melbourne’s airport. A full scale facility, like URBNSURF, can host over 80 surfers simultaneously, with each surfer catching between 10-15 waves per session.
In February top Australian professional surfer Owen Wright surfed URBNSURF Melbourne for almost 5 hours straight, remarkably describing it as one of the best days of his life. “It’s the ultimate training facility,” said Owen. “My surfing started to improve after just 5 rides. I was able to perform 4-5 turns on each wave, which really helped me fine-tune my technique. It would take me months in the ocean to achieve what I picked up from surfing in one day in the Wavegarden Cove”.
For experienced surfers like Owen, the Wavegarden Cove delivers a variety of long open-faced turn waves and fast peeling barrels. The waves can range from 50cm to nearly 2 meters high, and break right and left depending on which side of the central pier you are on – a facet that allows surfers to hone both their forehand and backhand skills. However, for intermediates, the machinery can be dialed down with the push of a button to produce softer waves with less power.
“We can create an infinite variety of waves,” said Josema Odriozola. “The user-friendly software is highly flexible and allows the operators to customize the waves according to the level of surfers in the water. Surfing is one of the most exciting sports, however, the amount of fun depends upon providing the right waves for each surfer”, Josema added. “At Wavegarden, we know how to develop surfers from day one.”
Wavegarden’s noise free wave-generating technology can generate between 300-1000 waves per hour depending on the wave setting and operational requirements. The machinery is capable of running in non-stop mode or can produce sets of waves of almost any desired quantity. This high frequency of waves ensures there´s plenty of quality waves for everyone without the need to compete with fellow surfers.
Upon testing THE WAVE Bristol the UK’s number one surfer Reubyn Ash was impressed with the quantity of waves he was able to catch in his first session. “Every time someone takes off, you pop up in line for the next wave. It always feels like you´re on a fast rotation. And, by the time you paddle back out, the next set of waves is starting.”
“We have been very impressed with the quality and consistency of the waves created by the machinery,” said Craig Stoddart, CEO of The Wave Bristol. “Many surfers have commented that the noise is identical to surfing down at the beach listening to the sea, giving a real chance to reconnect with the natural power of waves.”
The size of a standard Wavegarden Cove commercial facility measures 2 hectares, although the footprint is fully customizable for all types of projects including stand-alone projects, mixed use schemes, surf resorts, private residential developments, hotels and commercial centers.
The machinery is modular and the length of waves depends on the number of modules installed. A standard size facility like URBNSURF Melbourne has 46 modules and offers rides around 16 seconds long, comparable to some of the best surf spots in the world. The new facility being constructed in Siheung, South Korea – and scheduled to open in September 2020 – will have 56 modules.
Large scale facilities are ideal if the space is available. However, it is also possible to create high quality waves with less modules. THE WAVE Bristol has 40 modules and delivers world class waves. The Wavegarden Cove demo center has 28 modules and has been widely acclaimed by elite professionals. Twenty two of the world’s top thirty five competitive surfers have used the Spanish demo center as a training center for the European leg of the World Surfing League event circuit, including current World Champion, Italo Ferreira.
To keep the water crystal clear and hygienically safe, each Wavegarden Cove is supplied with its own state-of-the-art water treatment system. Developed in-house, the system is based on a series of sustainable treatments including fine filtration, ozone and UV disinfection, and low chemical chlorination. “The quality of the water is a beautiful clear blue,” confirmed Stoddart, of The Wave Bristol. “Surfers often comment that it’s a delight to surf in water so fresh.”
Wavegarden´s business development team comprises the most experienced leaders in the surf park, tourism and leisure industry and deliver the most comprehensive and in-depth information – including guidance on site selection, financial viability and permitting – all necessary for establishing a viable project.
As a new modern center for aquatic sports, the Wavegarden Cove delivers a wide array of positive health and social community benefits whilst also creating employment, attracting tourism and increasing the value of nearby real estate.
And, now an Olympic sport, surfing is positioned to grow exponentially at an unparalleled rate across the world. National teams that have access to a Wavegarden Cove shall have a distinct advantage. “Any country that is serious about taking home a medal must have a training facility like URBNSURF”, concluded Owen Wright. “Finally, we have the ability to improve our performance, similar to other sports such as football or rugby”.
As businesses across the globe progressively start to reopen, URBNSURF Melbourne recently announced that surfers can return to the line-up from Friday, June 19. Meanwhile, in the UK, The Wave Bristol is aiming to relaunch their business this summer.
Amid a period when enterprises are subject to numerous new pressures, Wavegarden Founder and CEO Josema Odriozola shares a positive outlook. “In spite of everything, our team is working hard to continually improve the performance of our systems and we remain excited and confident about the future.”