An Australian wave-generating surf pool with plans to expand into a year-round tourist attraction could open to visitors as early as 2022.
Broadbeach-based company Surf Lakes built the facility in 2018 near the town of Yeppoon on Queensland’s Capricorn Coast.
The pool uses ‘five wave’ technology to produce five different levels of waves around the lake, using a giant plunger driven by compressed air at the center.
Now, the company plans to convert the site into the ‘ultimate surf getaway’ in a $187million development plan lodged with the Livingstone Council last month.
The start-up first launched the world-first technology in 2018, which boasts the highest wave productivity, with hundreds of surfers able to catch up to ten waves each per hour
In addition to the wave-pool, visitors to the eco tourism resort could enjoy an aqua-park, scuba diving facilities and a skate park, and relax in luxury accommodation.
If approved, the site – which is expected to be complete by 2031 – is estimated to bring $17.4million of ongoing benefits to the local economy and create 230 jobs.
In the development stages of the project, the facility is predicted to add around $40million to the local community each year and create 350 jobs.
The first $122million phase of the two-stage plan would see the construction of a skate park, scuba hole, junior playground, a solar farm and ‘glamping facilities’ as well as pop-up food and beverage sites.
Beginner, intermediate and expert surfers can enjoy the wave pools’ ‘5 wave’ technology, which produces five different levels of waves simultaneously around the lake
The second phase would see the addition of 100 short-term accommodation beds, a 75-bed boutique hotel, an inflatable aqua-park as well as a café and restaurant.
Wayne Dart, general manager of Surf Lake’s global operations, described the facility as a ‘huge tourist drawcard for the Capricorn Coast and Rockhampton regions’.
‘We think Surf Lakes Yeppoon would attract 272,000 visitors around 2026 and 83 per cent would be for the surfing experience’, Mr Dart told Real Commercial.
‘This would generate an estimated additional 31,000 visitor nights in the Livingstone Shire, creating $4.5 million in additional expenditure.’
The $187million proposal includes the construction of a skate park, scuba pool and aqua park, and will house guests in ‘glamping’ facilities
The facility has hopes to become Central Queensland’s premier outdoor recreational and active tourism hub
An estimated 495,000 people are expected to visit the facility, with 74,000 night visitors, growing to $10.9million in additional expenditure.
The start-up have partnered with Place Design Group, the outfit behind the first $53million revitalisation of the Yeppoon Lagoon, for the planning and approvals.
Surf Lakes have already received over 700 enquires from companies internationally, and have signed exclusive territory deals with potential licensees in Texas, California, Nevada, Tennessee and Hawaii.
Mr Dart said buyers generally fell into three categories; surf-loving entrepreneurs, residential or commercial property developers or existing waterpark operators.
The eye-popping surf park is expected to support 229 full-time jobs and bring $17.4million to the local economy and bring $17.4million of ongoing benefits to the local community
The approval process is expected to take about six months with Surf Lakes to continue to showcase their wave-making technology in the meantime.
The technology creates the most breaks in a man-made pool with ten separate waves in total – four on the left hand side, four on the right and two beginner waves.
The five different levels of waves vary in difficulty, size, and length and are colour-coded so beginner surfers through to moderate and advanced surfers can enjoy wave riding.
‘From a commercial perspective, being able to produce 2000 consistent rides an hour using the unique plunger technology puts us head and shoulders above any other wave pools out there right now’, Mr Dart said.
‘Then you have 850 metres or so of ‘beachfront’ property that you can develop. It’s not just a pool, it’s a lake. The whole thing is mind-blowing.’
HOW THE WAVE POOL WORKS
The Surf Lakes system uses what is effectively a giant electric plunger in the center of the pool.
The huge 1400-ton plunger – the equivalent to three Boeing 747 can produce different types of wave.
The concept is simple – a metal donut is compressed against the water and forms a ring of water that travels perfectly until hitting several concrete banks, creating different surfing waves.
‘Its really just a big pressure pipe, you just push it up and down’ said Aaron Trevis, the inventor of the system.
This creates a ‘tsunami-style’ wave that moves outward in 360 degrees—essentially a concentric wave.
This means multiple surf spots can be caused to break at the same time, all from a single expenditure of energy.
The pool can have learners at one while running a pro competition at the other, something no other wavepool tech is capable of.
Surf Lakes works by using a large wave generator, positioned at the centre of a large man-made lake.
Everytime the 1400-ton plunger plunges, it requires a massive amount of pressure, which then ultimately needs to be released.
This pressure is fed from the bottom of the plunger through pipes until it escapes, in the form of a deep white smoke, from four adjacent vents.
The bathymetry (bottom contours) of the lake have been specifically shaped using sophisticated CFD computer modelling, and contain 8 separate breaks around the perimeter. The wave generator produces a single large concentric wave which radiates outwards.
When this wave intersects each reef, a wave breaks and runs the length of the reef before dissipating on the shoreline. Up to six waves sets can be run with a short break in between.
The waves will vary in size from 1m (3ft) to 2.4m (8ft) face height, catering for beginner to advanced surfers simultaneously.
According to Surf Lake’s website, the pool is capable of generating one pulse every six seconds, causing four a-framing peaks (eight waves in total) to break.
That means 80 rideable waves per minute, and in use the system will make 2,4000 waves per hour (allowing the displaced water to re-enter the system).