A potential weekly revenue of six hundred thousand dollars!
Mark Occhilupo, world champion of 1999, is the “surf industry advisor” of a new wave pool company who wants you to send cash to help ‘em fill the sudden need for artificial waves.
Surf Lakes (Everyone Gets a Break) has issued an investors information memorandum “to raise up to $5,250,000 at 0.10 per share.”
Are you a dreamer? Do you wish you had something you could shovel money into? Something that would change the world for the better? Gift you an endless supply of waves? Will Surf Lakes fulfil this criteria?
The numbers are formidable.
According to the Memorandum, it costs half the price of Wavegarden’s new tank The Cove to build (Fifteen mill instead of thirty), creates more than double the weekly revenue of The Cove and two hundred times more than Slater’s pool (Six hundred gees versus two fifty k and three gees), creates 2400 waves per hour vs 1000 (The Cove), dwarfing estimates of fifteen for Slater’s pool.
So how’s it work?
Well, the tech ain’t immediately obvious, it’s not as if they provide diagrams of the machinery, but judging by the artist’s impression of the tank, it’s a vertical plunger that goes up and down to create a circular ring of waves, like the concentric rings created when you throw a stone into a pool.
You’ll get a throwing peak takeoff, with a wave that loses size rapidly after the initial takeoff. Plenty of waves created, but only a few you’d throw cash at.
I may be wrong, but the artist’s impression implies a wave height that remains the same through the length of the wave. I can’t see it happening. You’ve watched that footage of the Cove? See how it quickly it loses size?
It isn’t a deal breaker, not even close. I can’t wait to spend days, weeks, months, riding that damn tank. Thousand bucks for a season pass? I’ll take it. It’s better than any wave I’ve seen recently.
But, why not aim for greatness instead of good-ish? Greg Webber (Oh, I can hear the groans! Show us something!) the shaper turned eternal promiser of a wave pool utopia, puts it this way.
“None of these things are as good as the great natural waves on earth. Not one of ‘em… yet,” says Webber. “That’s what’s gotta be done, to get to the same level as the great waves that we already surf on earth. It’s gotta be as good if to succeed at a global level.”
Webber says his full-scale prototype, which is 300 metres long by 150 metres wide, is going to be built somewhere between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and construction could, if all things go well, begin in a couple of weeks.
Surf Lakes says it’s already build 1:25, 1:10 and 1: 5 proof-of-concept protos with a full-sized tank being built in Queensland and ready, it says, by the end of the year.
I tell Webber I think the wave pool market appears overcooked. So many tanks chasing money. So few potential customers.
Webber tells me I’m wrong. He says that the “potential market is off the chart based on all the normal mechanisms that exist, the capitalistic world in combination with one of the most addictive activities on earth. If you can give this experience to another human being, a two-metre wave that lasts twenty seconds, and it costs one dollar and you can charge ten…”
It’s a point.
“The waves so far are pretty good,” says Webber. “They’re not the same as the amazing waves we’ve already got but it’s the repeatability. We’re distracted by that. It’s neat and clean and keeps repeating itself. But is it throwing the same way as the great waves that we really enjoy? You’ve gotta be able to get deep inside that thing.”
Two years ago, Surf Lakes had a swing at raising half-a-mill via Indigogo. Eighteen backers provided a little over a thousand bucks.
Maybe now we’re all getting our heads around wave tanks it’s a buy.