Australia-first Surf Park set to cause waves worldwide

Published: 31 May 2017 Image credit: Supplied

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In a land girt by sea and surrounded with beaches envied by the world over, Australia is blessed with plenty of natural venues for surfing.

But, as many a surfer will tell you, some waves are better than others… and if you’re a dedicated surfer, you’ll travel far and wide to search for that ‘perfect wave.’

Or you can just make your own.

1998 World surfing champion and Sydney native Mark ‘Occy’ Occhilupo is teaming up with artificial wave pioneers Surf Lakes to realise his vision: a 2.4-metre high barrelling left-hander wave dubbed ‘Occy’s Peak.’

“Being able to design the perfect wave, then catch it over and over again, is every surfer’s dream… with the ocean the perfect wave is rare,” he said.

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'Occy' is his element. Photo: Supplied

‘Occy’s Peak’ will debut at Surf Lakes surf park – a multi-break wave park that claims to be the first of its kind in Australia – that’s just begun construction at a secret location in Northern Queensland.

It comes eighteen months after multiple world champion Kelly Slater dropped a ‘game changing’ video of his ‘perfect wave’ – a 2.1 metre man-made tube at a surf park in California that’s still under construction.

Since then, many companies have been scrambling to create the biggest and best artificial waves for surfers.

Wavegarden Cove – which offers waves of up to 2.4 metres and a frequency of 1000 per hour - have already opened facilities in Wales and Texas, with construction in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne on the horizon. Perth-based Wave Park Group have secured a seven-hectare site in Melbourne to build a $18.5 million wave park twice the size of the MCG.

But Mark Occhilupo and Surf Lakes – a start-up from Brisbane – claim their waves can trump them all: it’ll be the first wave park in the world capable of creating eight separate waves all at the same time.

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One of Surf Lakes' artificial waves. Photo: Supplied

“The technology generates concentric waves from a central wave generator that radiates outwards,” a Surf Lakes spokesperson said.

“The wave generator is oscillated to create a ‘set’ of waves much like the ocean, with the breaking waves resembling a ‘peak’ wave seen at quality beach breaks.”

It offers waves of up to 2.4 metres – similar to WaveGarden – but Surf Lakes claims its concentric design allows the wave generator to pump out up to 2400 waves per hour in an artificial beach with the volume of 20 Olympic swimming pools.

“Each wave breaks on a variety of submerged reefs and shorelines… the number of surf breaks generated by each single wave is only limited by the size of the pool and number of surf breaks,” the spokesperson said.

Surfers are a valuable demographic in Australia – with Surf Lake estimating the surfing market to be about 2.6 million and the ‘learn to surf’ potential market to be about 8 million – so stakes are high for the most attractive waves.

Surf Lakes’ founder and CEO Aaron Trevis believes the technology will help many potential surfers to dip their toes into the hobby.

“Surfing is a significant part of our culture and we believe Surf Lakes will provide many opportunities for surf schools, elite training or just for leisure, and with surfing now an Olympic sport, we believe it will be beneficial to national teams for training purposes or even the actual competition,” he said.

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More of Surf Lakes' waves. Photo: Supplied

For Occy, he thinks the park will offer a great day out for families.

“What’s even more exciting is that it provides fun for the entire family and I am looking forward to bringing mine to the Surf Lake and seeing the kids surf different waves at the same time,” he said.

The park under construction is a demonstrative site, aimed at showcasing what the technology can do. Surf Lakes plan to license the technology around the world and build Surf Lakes as standalone parks or to be incorporated into larger entertainment sites, such as theme parks or resorts.

Mr Trevis has faith his technology can go global.

“While surfing is a popular sport in Australia, 99.5 per cent of the world’s population have never surfed, which is why we believe there is a significant opportunity for the Surf Lakes technology,” he said.

WATCH: A clip of the Surf Lakes technology in action.