Perth surfers to cede ocean to great whites and build wave tanks instead?
Wave tanks are as fascinating as they are frustrating. Every month you’ll read about some municipal oval or whatever being touted as the home of an ambitious wave resort. Melbourne, Gold Coast, various parts of America. You’ve seen the pictures. So many CAD drawings of happy families with strong boys whistling along man-made waves.
When Surf Snowdonia threw its gates open at the end of July, it was an overdue chapter in the game of wave tanks. Proof they could be built. Proof they could be commercial, at least momentarily (Surf Snowdonia is currently closed for biz.)
Around the same time the Wales tank opened, BeachGrit spoke to Andrew Ross, the former lawyer and investment banker, who bought the rights to Wavegarden in Australia.
The goal of Ross’ company Wave Park Group is to create 10 Wavegardens in Australian in 10 years.
And, as revealed today, Wave Park Group and architects MJA Studio have concept plans to turn a football stadium into a Wavegarden tank, surrounded by apartments etc.
Let’s examine the story from Perth Now.
“An ambitious $120 million proposal — with an artificial wave lagoon the show-stopping centrepiece — would see Subiaco Oval transformed from the home of WA football to an urban surfing village.
“The Sunday Times can reveal exclusive details of a bold, Australian-first concept for the post-football future of Subiaco Oval, which would combine a wave garden, elevated parkland, market space and unique apartment living.
“The Subi Surf Park idea is a joint venture between Subiaco-based architects MJA Studio and international surf park company Wave Park Group.
“Both stakeholders say they have already had keen interest from developers and believe the apartments would be quickly snapped up and require no capital expenditure from state or local government.
“The landmark vision entails:
- A 300m-long by 120m wide freshwater lagoon using groundbreaking “Wavegarden” wave generating technology only used in two European surf parks, with another under construction in Texas;
- six zones with different sized waves catering for everyone from beginners to professionals, with scope for other water-based activities including uninterrupted 300m swimming laps. Waves would be up to 2m high and travel 200m for a 30-second ride.”
What wave tanks mean for Perth surfers is they don’t have to take their lives into their heads every time they step into their usually crummy waves.
Perth, y’see, is too squeamish to net their beaches and instead delicately tag the whites that frequent their part of town. But who wants to surf when you know there’s a four-metre white or a three-metre tiger swinging by?
This pool is concept only and it would only happen, if it ever did, after 2018 when the stadium is decommissioned but a quick text to Ross revealed, “heaps happening on several fronts but nothing public at this stage. Stay tuned.”