New Wavegarden promises untold riches (and barrels)…
How many waves can you catch in an hour? Like, if you really try, head-down, no talkies, paddling here and there, and there ain’t much of a gap between sets?
If you’re the banker-turned-surf entrepreneur, Andrew Ross, the man behind the promised proliferation of Wavegardens in Australia, and you just rode the new version in Spain (made to fend off the Slater pool), it’s an impressive wave every fifty-five seconds. Can you imagine such a thing?
“I had 65 waves in about an hour with a few other guys – was hard to walk afterwards,” Ross told Surfing Life. “One of the wave types includes a true barrelling wave, with a trough and a concave shape, that means the wave wraps back at you like a point break. This is different to the current wave foil tech where the wave is somewhat convex shaped, in that it bends back away from you as it breaks. I surfed the new full-scale ‘Cove’ in December, and it is awesome!”
Wait. I’m paragraphing another magazine’s website? Has it come to this? Reporting on an emailed, quasi-press release?
Oh, yes. But it wasn’t always this way.
When Ross, who is a former lawyer and investment banker appeared on the scene with his noble plan to seed Australia with ten wavepools, I made a phone call and reported, faithfully, what he said.
I think, and I know the feeling because I’ve been dumb enough to talk to the press, what he said and what he… thought… he said were two different things.
The line, “I’ve never been associated with the surf industry. But I’m a 35-year hardcore surfer, all my mates, we know what surfing is about, we all go to the Ments each year” looks more awkward in print than it felt coming out of his mouth.
And, therefore, repeated requests to re-interview have hit a wall. Which is a bummer. I like pools. I like Wavegarden. And I’ll melt whatever plastic it takes for a season pass, old version of the pool, the new Cove shape, whatever.
Reaching back around to the Surfing Life interview, Ross also likened the current epoch to skiing in the nineteen-forties and wavepools to chairlifts.
In response to the question if he believed surfing’s future growth will rely on wavepools, he replied:
If by growth you mean growth in total participation in the sport, then absolutely. And by total participation, I mean getting more people into surfing for the first time, getting former surfers back into surfing, and by giving existing surfers more opportunity to increase their overall wave count per year and simply surf more.
A good analogy is the chairlift – no-one really undertook skiing prior to the late 1940’s because you had to trek up a snow-covered mountain to do it. With the invention of the chair lift though, it opened up winter sports to the general public by making it convenient, accessible and safe. From a relatively small base, the winter sports market has grown over the past 60 years to about 2,600 ski resorts, 24,000 installed lifts and about 400 million participants a year.
More people ID-ing as surfers means more website clicks. BeachGrit soars. Revenue pours. I’m thrilled.
Read the full interview here.