Melbourne will soon have a new leisure destination for surfing enthusiasts with construction to begin this year on the southern hemisphere’s first man-made wave pool.
To be located just 25 minutes from Melbourne’s CBD, the wave pool will be built on a seven-hectare plot next to the Essendon Football Club on Airport Drive, near Tullamarine.
Perth-based architecture practice MJA Studio and Surf park developer Wave Park Group are behind the project which is to be called Urbnsurf and will also incorporate lagoon side amenities, playgrounds, skate ramps, mountain bike tracks, as well as a pro shop, concierge and rental centre.
The park will be developed using Wavegarden technology which has been used in surfing lagoons around the globe and is considered to be one of the more progressive types of man-made wave pools.
Generating waves from half a metre to almost two metres high, the new wave pool will feature three different zones to accommodate surfers of different skill levels, and will also allow surfers to use the facility all day, under lights at night, and in controlled situations.
While this isn’t the first man-made wave pool proposed for Australia, it is the only one to have successfully got off the ground. There have been well-documented proposals for wave pools in the Melbourne CBD and at Perth’s Subiaco Oval and also lesser-known proposals for wave pools in Sydney. Sydney’s wave pool was destined for the site of the new Wet’N’Wild Sydney location, however it was unsuccessful as it was reportedly not financially viable.
Wave Park Group’s Executive Chairman Andrew Ross explained that Victoria’s great natural surf was not accessible to surfers as it was too far from metropolitan populations. He says that the new wave pool will geographically unlock the popular surfing activity for the average Victorian by delivering the same wave quality but within an hour of the city.
It has not been disclosed how much it will cost to access the park or how much it will cost for individual waves.
Urbnsurf is expected to open in late 2017.