Lake waves hold the future for silver surfers
ON THE horizon is a whole new way of surfing for silver surfers with a prototype Surf Lake in the final phase of construction in the Queensland town of Yeppoon.
Imagine 2400 machine-made waves being generated per hour across four reefs, each with a left and right hand breaking wave; that's eight breaks. The maximum wave height is aimed at a 2.4m face height. Each wave will vary in shape, size, length and difficulty. So, surfers can start off on the easy wave, and then make their way around to the more powerful hollow barrels.
The idea behind the Surf Lake is to give everyone who wants to surf, learn to surf or for some silver surfers, get back into their surfing, no matter what their skills, age, ability or surf craft to chance to get out there.
Surf Lakes media director Wayne Dart says, "The Surf Lakes mantra is, 'everyone gets a break'. Longboards, short boards, body boards, body surfers; you name it, there will be a break to suit them. The nature of each break is such that a surfer can quite quickly improve and take on another of the more challenging breaks.
"Or, those who feel challenged in the ocean due to physical fitness or the like, will be able to surf in a controlled environment and in turn regain fitness and balance and therefore tackle waves that they may have ridden in younger years.
"For many, despite surfing in the ocean for many years, as they age, it can become quite difficult to paddle against currents, or pass through waves, and compete with younger surfers in order to get to the take-off spot. But, in the lake, the 'built-in' rips make the return to the line-up easier, and there will be regulated marshalling so that every person has access to their desired wave."
With eight waves breaking at once there can be eight people riding at the same time, and that doesn't include the people who are learning to surf in the white water.
The Yeppoon site will initially be used for demonstration to potential licence holders and for further research and development. It will be some time before it can be opened to the public. For investors, of which Surf Lakes are looking for a few, they will get to test out the Australian invention.
"Surf Lakes has raised over $10m in the last two years, most of which has gone into the demo site," Wayne said. "We are raising another $1m or so which will be used to complete the demo site and for working capital. Investors become shareholders in the head company being Surf Lakes Holdings Ltd, which owns the Yeppoon site, as well as all IP and rights globally. They get a share in everything Surf Lakes has done and will do in the future."
The lake and reef shaping has been completed and will be sealed within two weeks. Most of the machinery and equipment has arrived on site. Next week the installation starts on the central wave machine which will be used to generate large concentric waves.
CEO and Founder of Surf Lakes, Aaron Trevis, is thrilled at the prospect of potentially having waves breaking within months and he is eagerly anticipating viewing brand ambassadors and former world champions Mark Occhilupo and Barton Lynch taking on those first few waves. "I just can't wait to see Occy standing in a barrel," Aaron said. "As we see the parts of the wave machine arriving onsite, the reality and sheer enormity of the project is truly mind-blowing."
All going well, Australians may see more Surf Lakes constructed here and the concept sold overseas.
"Anyone who has been thrilled by riding ocean waves and has caught the surfing bug, regardless of age or ability dreams of being able to ride perfect waves," Wayne added.
"Unfortunately, due to mother nature, location, etc, not everyone has access and this frustrating. What the lake does is allow for consistency in delivery of perfect waves which in turn will allow people, regardless of proximity to the ocean, or potentially excellent waves to go surfing whenever they wish. The fun factor is huge and now available to a lot more people!"