In many aspects, 2015 has been the year of the wave park for the surf world.
The innovative Surf Snowdonia opened in Wales and hosted its first ever professional contest, while proposals for parks from Austin, Tex. to Orlando, Florida, wowed and promised to bring clean breaks to the masses.
Yet despite all the new wave park ideas we’ve seen this year, a new proposal out of Western Australia may just be the most audacious one yet:
Birthed from a partnership between the Wave Park Group company and the architecture firm MJA Studio, the $120 million proposal would bulldoze the massive 43,000-seat Subiaco Oval stadium in Perth and in its place create a surf lagoon roughly 320 meters long and 100 meters wide known as the Subi Surf Park.
“The waves in Perth are rubbish,” said Wave Park Group chairman Andrew Ross in an interview about the proposal last month. “So for us it’s about providing an authentic alternative to the ocean and it’s about proving convenience for people as well.”
The proposed complex would look something akin to the Roman Colosseum of wave parks: generating waves capable of handling 70 surfers at once, the lagoon will be longer than three football fields and include a marketplace and 220 apartments constructed around its perimeter to mimic the feel of a stadium.
While the Subiaco Oval (now known as Domain Stadium) has long been the historic home to rugby and Australian rules football in Western Australia, a newer, bigger stadium set to open nearby in 2018 will essentially render it useless, and the Western Australia government has been looking for ideas on how to use the land.
“The orientation of the park and the apartments very much mimics and pays homage to what the stadium is,” Ross told WA Today. “We have spoken to various developers around Perth and they are absolutely jumping out of their skin to get onto a project like this. They believe they could sell 100 percent of the apartments of the plan. So it’s one of these amazing ideas, which brings together a whole range of mixed-use activities.”
While the plans are still being pitched, certain officials told WA Today they thought the plans were an excellent idea, and Ross’ team have the backing of one very notable supporter: pro surfer Taj Burrow.
“People who work in an office would be like, ‘I’m going to the gym, but instead I’m doing something way more fun. I’m going to a wave pool,'” Burrow says in the promotional video for the project. “I know I’d take that over the gym. So yeah, I think it would kill it.”
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