Other Sport / The Wave

Team behind Bristol’s inland surf lake reveal plans for more sites across UK and Ireland

By Ellie Pipe , Monday Jan 17, 2022

The inland surfing lake that opened as a world-first in Bristol in 2019 is set to be replicated across the UK and Ireland.

The Wave team have signed an exclusive new partnership with Wavegarden – the company that provides the cutting-edge wave-making technology – and revealed plans to open a further six sites.

Having spent years getting the ambitious inland lake project at Easter Compton near Cribbs Causeway off the ground, the company is already working on a similar venture in London and the latest deal represents an investment of more than £200m in further expansion.

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Bosses of The Wave say the multi-million-pound deal puts them at the forefront of a sector predicted to boom in the next five years.

Craig Stoddart, CEO of The Wave, said: “Being the first to open a surf park powered by a new technology was a leap of faith in so many ways, but we believed in the technology and the team delivering it. The waves work.

“More than that, we have proved it is commercially successful, we have a great professional team of wavemakers and we have now welcomed over 300,000 visitors through our doors since we opened – despite contending with a global pandemic.

“We know there is a huge appetite for surfing and its many health and wellbeing benefits, and we are now looking to bring these unique experiences to other locations around the UK and beyond. Spurred by growth in surfing in general – and the Olympic effect – this burgeoning sector is definitely on the up.”

Stoddart revealed the plan is to have five more sites open, in planning or being built in the next five years, saying the firm is actively searching for land.

He added: “Predictions indicate there will be approximately 100 surf parks operating globally in the next ten years. The Wave intends to be a leading international player in this market and we have been preparing ourselves for this ambition for a number of years.”

More sites using the Wavegarden tech opened in 2020 and 2021 despite the impact of the pandemic on the leisure sector and The Wave bosses say there has been a surge in people enjoying outdoor pursuits.

Commenting on the new deal, Fernando Odriozola, the chief commercial officer at Wavegarden, said: “The very valuable experience and knowledge we have gained together at Bristol will allow us to move forward on a number of sites simultaneously. The future looks very bright.”

The Wave founder Nick Hounsfield added: “Surfing is amazing for our physical and mental health – and sharing these benefits is right at the heart of what we do. My vision was to create a space where people could get outside in nature, be active and reap the blue health boost of being in or near water.

“As a surfer I know how brilliant it makes me feel and the impact it has on my health. Being able to push perfect surfing waves at the touch of a button and to bring them inland is a game-changer for a sport that has until now been constrained by factors such as geography, tides and weather.

“Our purpose is central to everything. We want to share the positive power of waves – and the pure joy of surfing – with people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. The epic thing about the Wavegarden Cove technology is that it caters to everyone, from a beginner stepping on a board for the first time, right up to pro surfers training for the Olympics, and hopefully future Paralympic surfers.”

Main photo: The Wave

Read more: The Wave: From pipe dream to reality 

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