We’ve been discussing artificial wavepools and reefs on the Extremehorizon blog for a number of years now and with the (unfortunate failed) reef in Bournemouth and now the Wavegarden, planned to be installed in Bristol, UK, the concepts are becoming a reality. I personally feel that as these wavepools are built, developed, become better and work through the inevitable teething problems, they will become a common addition to inland cities the world over. Everyone will be able to try surfing and it will hopefully allow beginners to learn basic skills before entering the ocean for the first time
Bristol will get the first installment of the man-made surfing wave park, in a £5 million investment. Wavegarden will make its debut in a 4,000 m2 area in Shirehampton, along the portway, near Sea Mills.
The new UK artificial surf pool will be developed by Nick Hounsfield, Tobin Coles and Chris Hines, founder of Surfers Against Sewage. The Wavegarden UK will offer a botanical garden, changing rooms, treatment rooms, a cafe, adventure trail, hire facility and sensory garden.
There are around 4,000 surfers in Bristol and they will be the first to test 1.6 metre waves, every 90 seconds, in a 450 metre long and 80 metre wide man-made surf park. Waves can be ridden for 55 seconds and beginners will have a special area to learn how to surf.
The new Bristol Wavegarden will be open in daylight hours, but there is the possibility of special sunset surf sessions. The Wavegarden franchise will be built during 2012 and may be completed and open to the surfing public in Spring 2013.
Surfer will pay between £8 and £10 for an hour of artificial wave surfing. “We have been aware of the Wavegarden project for two or three months and a lot of our members who had to move away from the coast think it is an amazing idea”, says Peter Wilkins, chairman of Bristol Surf Club, to This is Bristol.
“It is also going to benefit the environment. It means people will not be driving hundreds of miles every weekend for average surf when they can virtually walk to the new site. I think it’s one of the most exciting things to hit British surfing for a really long time”, he adds.