Melbourne CBD is your newest Wavepool location (maybe)
The race for an IRL wavepool that produces waves above waist-height has really stepped up in 2014. The Webber Wavepool has a location on the Sunshine Coast, Kelly Slater Wave Company burns away like a roman candle in the background, Rotterdam comes to the party with an inner-city lineup and the world’s least necessary wavepool will exist on the west side of Oahu. Wavegarden are leading the space but an increased wave size has proven a perpetually empty promise. And Wadi Wave Pool, intriguing as it is, suffers from little man syndrome, same as the rest.
And that’s a big pre-roll way of saying: Take this news with a grain of salt, but be very excited about the prospect of a fully functioning wavepool right in the CBD of one of the world’s greatest cities. Here’s two reasons why Melbourne is a really good place for a wavepool:
– According to the International Index of Liveability, Melbourne is the World’s Most Liveable City.
– According to Condé Nast Traveler, it’s also the World’s Friendliest City.
So. Engineering and design firm Arup is leading a proposal which will see a facility floating off the end of Docklands Central Pier. It’ll include a deep sandy beach, deck, lawn area and large beach pool. But most importantly…
A 30-metre wide wave that breaks for 160 meters, with capability for wave sizes up to five feet, that uses filtered saltwater drawn from the harbour and heated all year round.
Getting tubbed beneath the shadow of a Melbournian skyscraper? Yes, please.
Melbourne architect Damian Rogers first approached Arup with the idea and, while in its early stages, the project is being met with positive response. Surfing Victoria chief executive Max Wells said that during the past decade he’d been presented with ‘ambitious’ plans for wave pools, but this was the first time he was convinced it could work. "I can imagine having surfers in suits heading for an after-work session and kids coming to Docklands carrying surfboards on Melbourne's trains and trams,” he told The Age.
The Age also report that, according to Arup urban and transport planner Phil Carter, it would be a world first due to its floating set up, and would cost more than $8 million. Arup are seeking funding from developers and potential operators rather than the government, but Melbourne City Council and Places Victoria would still have to approve construction. Both organisations have met with Arup, and a council spokeswoman said it was an ‘interesting concept’ if private funding were available. City Of Melbourne have yet to officially back the project.
While the beach and the extended deck will be free to the public, surfers will be charged an entrance fee to use the wavepool.
If Arup delivers on its promise, maybe we'll see the Rip Curl Pro moved from Bells Beach to Victoria Harbour. Or, at least, a new tour stop added to the Oz leg. We can dream.