Are those constant onshores getting you down? Feel like you haven’t been surfing in weeks? Well the soloution could be just around the corner, or just down the road as it may be….
Details were announced today of Wavegarden UK, an exciting new leisure development for Bristol that will bring surfing, nature, education and the community together to make a brilliant day out for everyone.
Wavegarden UK will be the world’s first inland surfing facility of its kind, open fully to the public. The new technology will create perfect surfing waves up to 1.6 metres high on a 450 metre man-made lake close to the city centre. Good surfers will be able to enjoy a 55 second long ride, whilst beginners will be able to learn to surf in a safe environment.
In addition to the surfing, the gardens surrounding the lake will be specifically designed to provide a healthy, educational, sensory experience. This means children can play, learn and have fun, grown-ups can relax and there will be easy access for people of all abilities. The aim is to help everyone visiting Wavegarden get in touch with nature and maybe discover something new.
Wavegarden is the idea of two Bristol friends, Nick Hounsfield (an osteopath) and Tobin Coles (a corporate marketing director). Both are surfers and have a vision of creating a space in Bristol for all the community to enjoy and get close to nature. Nick and Tobin are joined by Chris Hines MBE, founder of Surfers against Sewage and former director of sustainability at the Eden Project.
There are a number of possible sites for the Wavegarden development, one of which is a 13 acre former sports field situated alongside the Portway in the Avon Gorge.
At this morning’s announcement the Wavegarden UK team confirmed that the first essential step is a period of public consultation where they will gather the views of Bristol people and feed these into the design development process. Full public consultation and an exhibition of the proposed plans are scheduled to follow in the early part of next year.
Talking about the plans for Wavegarden, Nick said: “Wavegarden is ambitious but achievable. It will be a fantastic place, close to Bristol city centre, that everyone can enjoy – all ages, all backgrounds and all abilities. It will be a space to relax and rehabilitate as well as a place to surf, play and have fun. We instinctively know that being in or around water is good for people and that is something we want to share!”
Tobin added: “It’s very important to us that we get as many views as possible on the project from the public and feed these in to the design process. We really want the final plans for the site to be something that reflects what the people of Bristol have said to us – and that meets their needs.”
Chris Hines will be developing Wavegarden’s sustainability policy. He explains: “I’m backing this project as I believe in Nick and Tobin’s vision of a place where people from all backgrounds can have fun and get in touch with nature on a site close to the main population of Bristol. We want to build Wavegarden in tune with its surroundings – we’ll minimise our environmental foot print, build links with the Bristol community and be financially prudent whilst ensuring our output of waves, fun and relaxation is as great as possible!”
It is hoped that construction of Wavegarden will start in 2012.
More information about Wavegarden and the public consultation can be found at www.wavegarden.me.uk.
You can check out a video of the Basque Country Wavegarden in action here.