The Wave and Wavegarden Sign Major UK & Ireland Exclusive Partnership
Inland surfing company, The Wave, has signed an exclusive partnership agreement with wave-making technology provider, Wavegarden, to deliver 6 or more developments across the UK and Ireland. The company, that opened its first surfing lake in Bristol in 2019, is already working on a second site in London and is now exploring further development sites for inland surfing destinations powered by Wavegarden Cove technology.
Building six further Wave sites represents an investment of over £200million and once open they will welcome a combined total of over 2 million visitors a year. The multi-million-pound deal puts The Wave at the forefront of the nascent surf park sector in the UK and Ireland – a leisure category that is predicted to boom in the next 5 years.
The Wave in Bristol was the first inland surfing lake using the innovative Wavegarden Cove technology to open in the world. Despite the pandemic, further sites using the Wavegarden tech opened in 2020 and 2021, as this exciting new leisure sector continues to expand globally. As well as the UK and Ireland, The Wave is also working with Wavegarden to secure additional sites in major European cities and has a number of sites in negotiation with local developers across Europe.
The leisure and hospitality industries are reeling from the effects of the pandemic with many businesses struggling for survival. However, one area that experienced growth in 2021 has been outdoor leisure. This, combined with surging interest in health and wellbeing, and continued growth in experiential leisure and staycations, makes The Wave’s inland surf destination model very appealing.
Craig Stoddart, The Wave CEO, said:
“This multi-project agreement further cements our brilliant and exclusive partnership with Wavegarden, and the deal adds significant value to The Wave Group and our shareholders. Being the first to open a surf park powered by a new technology was a leap of faith in so many ways, but we believed in the technology and the team delivering it. The waves work. More than that we have proved it is commercially successful, we have a great professional team of Wavemakers and we have now welcomed over 300,000 visitors through our doors since we opened – despite contending with a global pandemic.
“We know there is a huge appetite for surfing and its many health and wellbeing benefits, and we are now looking to bring these unique experiences to other locations around the UK and beyond. Spurred by growth in surfing in general – and the Olympic effect – this burgeoning sector is definitely on the up. We will have 5 sites open, in planning or being built in the next 5 years, and we are in the process of actively searching for land. Predictions indicate there will be approximately 100 surf parks operating globally in the next 10 years. The Wave intends to be a leading international player in this market and we have been preparing ourselves for this ambition for a number of years.”
Fernando Odriozola, Chief Commercial Officer at Wavegarden, adds:
“We are delighted to have signed this strategic partnership with The Wave so we can continue to work with the team on many projects in the coming years. The very valuable experience and knowledge we have gained together at Bristol will allow us to move forward on a number of sites simultaneously. The future looks very bright.”
Wavegarden has proven international experience and, with over 70 full time employees, has become the largest and most advanced specialist surf park technology provider in the world. The company has an extremely high growth potential in this emerging sector, currently counting 60 projects in development and has the highest number of surfing facilities open to the public across the world.
The Wave is supported by a powerful board, including Chairman Gaynor Coley, former Managing Director at the Eden Project, and Iain Shearer, formerly Chief Executive of London’s ExCel. The wider team has sector-leading experience in operating a surf park, and the business model is based on multiple revenues streams, including accommodation, food and drink, events and retail, alongside the core surfing offer. But what really makes it stand apart are its strong brand values, core purpose, and ethos focused on health, wellbeing and social impact.
Nick Hounsfield, Founder and CVO of The Wave, explains:
“Surfing is amazing for our physical and mental health – and sharing these benefits is right at the heart of what we do. My vision was to create a space where people could get outside in nature, be active and reap the blue health boost of being in or near water.
“As a surfer I know how brilliant it makes me feel and the impact it has on my health. Being able to push perfect surfing waves at the touch of a button and to bring them inland is a game-changer for a sport that has until now been constrained by factors such as geography, tides and weather.
“Our purpose is central to everything. We want to share the positive power of waves – and the pure joy of surfing – with people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. The epic thing about the Wavegarden Cove technology is that it caters to everyone, from a beginner stepping on a board for the first time, right up to pro surfers training for the Olympics, and hopefully future Paralympic surfers.”