Stab Magazine | URBNSURF Has Water In The Pool And Is Beginning Initial Wave Testing

URBNSURF Has Water In The Pool And Is Beginning Initial Wave Testing

Artificial surf is coming to Melbourne sooner than soon. 

news // Oct 9, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Nearly two years since they first started digging their ungodly crater, the folks at Melbourne’s URBNSURF facility have finally filled the pool with and are beginning initial wave testing. 

Upon completion, this will be Australia’s second functional wavepool but the first one open for commercial use, as the Yeppoon Surf Lakes site is merely for R&D.

If you’re interested in what kind of waves the Wavegarden Cove tech will produce in just a few short weeks, feel free to read this interview with the URBNSURF founder, Andrew Ross, or watch this video and imagine the waves bigger and 5x the length. 

Seriously, it’s massive.

Ready For Waves Filled 1 of 2 Credit URBNSURF

We chatted with former Stab writer and current URBNSURF big-wig, Rupert Partridge, to get all the relevant info prior to the pool’s official opening. You’ll probably notice that our correspondence occurred via email, and that Rupe has absorbed a more corporate dialect since transitioning away from this ratty surf rag and into the world of pay-per-stoke.

We promise, he’s still a hopeless frother at heart. 

Stab: Hey Rupe, so I think the most obvious question is, if there’s already water in the pool, what’s stopping you from running it now?
URBNSURF: As part of our wet commissioning phase, we’re working closely with Wavegarden to test all of our generating modules and electro-mechanical systems to ensure we don’t have any false starts—once we’re on, we want to stay on. It’s a highly technical and considered process. We’ll be ramping up the waves from tiny, to small, to medium, to large over the next month, checking at each stage to see that everything’s functioning normally. As an operator, setting ourselves up for long-term, reliable use is really important.

Are you guys doing extensive testing to avoid a Yeppoon situation? What’s the current status of that testing?
In our eyes, the Surf Lakes guys have done an incredible job in testing their design at scale, but it’s still early days for them. Conversely, Wavegarden have been surfing, testing and refining their Cove technology in Spain over the past 3 years. They’ve tried different bathymetries and developed new wave settings, and placed the technology under a range of operating conditions in search of optimal outputs. Our URBNSURF Melbourne lagoon uses the same technology as Wavegarden’s R&D Cove, but we’ve got double the pistons, and our lagoon’s five times the size. We’re past testing the design – we’re commissioning ahead of commencing commercial operations. We’ll soon be loading our wave menu (16 types to start), and then fine-tuning the machine to deliver perfect waves in all weather conditions, day and night.

Does double the pistons mean double the wave height (compared to the test pool)?
It means increased height, length and power – our advanced wave is expected to run for 16 to 18 seconds, and be around 2.0m in face height, or what we’d call a solid 3 foot.


Ready For Waves Mid Tide 2 of 6 Credit URBNSURF Ed Sloane

A joyous drop in the bucket.

Who will be the first person(s) to test the pool?
Andrew, our Founder, has claimed first dibs on (at least) the first left and the first right. It’s a huge milestone in his 7-year journey to bring the project to life—he’s just hoping he doesn’t kook it in front of the team. We’ll all be jostling on the shoreline to get out there and into the next ones, although there won’t be any shortage. We’ve made it a rule that each of our team have to ride a heritage board, from an iconic Australian shaper, for their first surf in the lagoon. Andrew’s got a sunburst 1980’s MR twin on ice, that’s never been waxed, for the occasion.

Who will be the first pros in the pool?
We’ve always had a soft spot for Taj. When Andrew first visited Wavegarden in Spain back in 2012, Taj was tearing into the right as Andrew paddled into his first left, and that’s where the journey began. He’s a legend, he backed us from day one when URBNSURF was just a concept, and we truly appreciated his support as we were starting out. We’d also love to have Nikki Van Dijk and her family join us as well. She rips, she’s Victorian, she’s an incredible role model for local surfers and the sport – it’s a no brainer for us to extend the invite.

When can we (the public) surf it?
Once wet commissioning is complete we’ll be announcing our products, pricing, opening date, and our lucky test pilots who have registered to surf it first via our website. Supporting the Victorian surfing community is a priority for us, so we want to honour our commitments to everyone who’s helped us out along the journey, and have been patient and understanding as we bring URBNSURF Melbourne to life. 

PS, check out the other Wavegarden pool that’s been filled in Bristol, UK. Exciting times!


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Hassling, Head-Dips, and Broken Apple Watches

The 2023 CT is underway. Here's what happened on Day One of the Billabong Pro…

Feb 2, 2023

Stephanie Gilmore And Filipe Toledo Are The 2022 Stab Surfers Of The Year 

Caity and Hughie take Best Juniors, “NOZ VID” wins best film, and Ho and Pringle…

Feb 2, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: The Stab Premium Vote

Day Ten: You voted, we counted.

Feb 1, 2023

Red Bulls, Crypto Bears, Former’s Six-Figure Fish, Tyler’s Multi-Millions And More

A brief catalog of the latest surf industry news and whispers.

Jan 31, 2023


“Definitely The First Time I’ve Gone Surfing Via Plane”

Parker Coffin, Harrison Roach, and friends tear through NZ on Roark's most well-rounded surf trip…

Jan 30, 2023

Pipe Preview: This Year Feels Different

With John and Gabs healthy — and the arrival of the femme next-gen — here’s…

Jan 29, 2023

WSL Tells Competitors: ‘You Better Like Them Apples’

Will mandating competitors to wear Apple Watches make the 2023 tour more or less engaging?

Jan 29, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: John John Florence, Italo Ferreira, Balaram Stack, Rolo Montes, and Shaun Manners

Day 9: "You can't do better than his year last year." - John John Florence

Jan 28, 2023

Full Moon Surfs, Impassable Puddles, And A Few Nights Spent Sleeping In A WSL Commentary Booth

A reader-submitted collection of nonconformist surf stories.

Jan 27, 2023

Kael Walsh Now Owns A Bitcoin, And Watched One Crypto Video

He’s officially your Stab Edit Of The Year champion.

Jan 27, 2023

Carissa Moore And Finn McGill Are Your 2023 Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Champions 

They both pocket $50k and tickets to this year’s Vans Pipe Masters.

Jan 27, 2023


The Pick-Up, Presented By Vans, Episode 5

Mason Ho helps us ring in our final week on the North Shore.

Jan 27, 2023

Goofyfoot Brazilian World Champion Stars In Stab’s Biggest Board-Testing Franchise

Can you guess who?

Jan 26, 2023

Surf Community Rallies To Raise Funds For Eddie Winner And On-Duty Hawaiian Lifeguard Luke Shepardson

Because it's the right thing to do, of course.

Jan 26, 2023

Interview: Caity Simmers On Machete Wars, Rihanna, Personal Project Problems, And The Rise Of Female Surf Content. 

A toast to ‘Toasted.’

Jan 25, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: Creed McTaggart, Albee Layer, Laura Enever, Dane Guduaskas, and Selema Masekela

Day 8: "65 years young and charging just as hard as ever at Pipe, Backdoor,…

Jan 25, 2023

“I’m Not A Big Wave Guy”

How Kai Paula accidentally made his mark at Jaws three weeks after surfing it for…

Jan 24, 2023

Everyone Went.

A toes in the sand, phone in the lagoon account of the 10th Eddie Aikau…

Jan 24, 2023