Scotland is Set To Get a Giant Artificial Wave Pool. Could This Change The Face of UK Surfing?
The latest addition the UK wave garden scene could be just be the start...
When Surf Snowdonia, the world’s first commercial wave pool, opened in North Wales in 2015 it was dubbed “a historic moment that will revolutionise the sport" – and the revolution looks set to continue with plans being announced to build a multi-million pound artificial surfing lake in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Wavegarden Scotland have announced they are hoping to turn Craigpark Quarry pit near Ratho, on the outskirts of the Scottish capital, into a huge lake with a machine capable of creating waves for any level of surfer.
The planning application is set to be submitted once two public consultations have been completed this week and next, with the wavegarden hoping to open its doors by 2019.
The planned site would lie just across from the Edinburgh International Climbing Arena, the largest indoor climbing area in Europe, turning Ratho into a hub for adventure sports in the city.
How Will it Work?
The wavegarden works by hauling a kind of hydraulic snowplough through the water to generate a wave travelling in opposite directions on either side of a pool of water.
Some have claimed that wavepools are ‘anti-surfing’ but it’s hard to argue with a device which will help a whole lot more people get into the sport.
With North Sea swells bringing waves to the popular Belhaven Bay in Edinburgh and other sites a short drive from the city, this could it a prime location for inner-city surfing trips and for beginner surfers.
What They Say
Co-founder of Tartan Leisure Ltd Andy Hadden said: "Wavegarden Scotland is a thrilling new concept in the adventure leisure industry. If approved, it could position Scotland as a leading surfing destination as the country already has some world-class natural breaks.
"We've received fantastic feedback on our plans to date and we look forward to sharing them with the local community."
Gavin Barrie, convener of City of Edinburgh Council's economic committee, said: "The Wavegarden Scotland project appears an exciting addition to active participant sport in the Edinburgh area.
"Anything that encourages people, whether young or old, to lead an active lifestyle and enjoy all the benefits that come with it is likely to garner support across the city. Hopefully others will share my enthusiasm for development."
William Watson, president of the Scottish Surfing Federation said: "We fully support this fantastic project and will continue to work with Tartan Leisure Ltd to ensure it fits with the best interests of Scottish surfing."
The wavegarden is also hoping to create at least 80 new jobs in the area.
The Future of Wave Pools
After the opening of Surf Snowdonia, Fernando Aguerre, president of the International Surfing Association said: “This a historic moment that will revolutionise our sport. [With Surf Snowdonia], we can host world-class surfing competitions with waves that are always consistent, powerful and publically available."
It’s thought that the invention of the wavegarden was also crucial in surfing’s successful bid to become an Olympic sport for 2020 – though rumours are now circulating that the Olympics will use ocean waves rather than artificial.
A further wavegarden is currently in the planning stages for Bristol in the United Kingdom as well, while Kelly Slater has also been working on a wavegarden of his own.