With 35 million surfers around the world, surfing as a pastime and the lifestyle surrounding it have not stopped growing in popularity. The consolidation of artificial wave pools for practising this sport now opens new avenues of business.
It is an undeniable fact that there is much more to surfing than just sport. Brands are increasingly taking advantage of the values conveyed by this activity to connect with a loyal following that generates business worth millions. According to the World Surf League, this industry turns over 12,000 million euros a year, so any project that results in attracting new followers arouses enormous interest.
Since 2015 when the surfer Kelly Slater set up her artificial wave pool company Kelly Slater Wave Co, this kind of pool has mushroomed and has proven to be a very effective tourist attraction. When Slater posted a video of an artificial wave with a perfect tube, it gave rise to huge debate on the Web, and thousands of enthusiasts began asking when the site, which runs on solar power, would be open to the public.
There is another compelling reason that explains the popularity of these facilities. On 1 June 2016, the International Olympic Committee announced that surfing, along with four other sports (baseball, skateboarding, karate and sports climbing), would be included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Details have not yet been released of how or where surfing events will take place. Initially, the Game’s organisers mentioned the possibility of holding them on artificial waves, but it seems that in the end they opted for natural waves. However, to practise without depending on weather conditions, several countries have already announced plans to build large wave pools so that their teams can train. For example, the Australian government intends to build three surf parks in Sidney, Melbourne and Perth.
What do you think? Are wave pools the future of surfing?