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Culture, Economics, Experience Design

Surf Parks: Build it and they will come

Surfing is taking the world by storm. With the global surf market projected to reach $4.8 billion by 2027 and many regions showing massive growth in surf populations (US Surfer population has grown 94% in just 7 years), the industry is showing no signs of slowing, especially since the sport has officially gained Olympic recognition. As response to this massive growth, Surf Parks are quickly becoming one of the hottest new venue types that investors and developers are looking toward to differentiate and deliver a healthy ROI.

With hundreds of surf parks in planning globally, we are entering a global surf development boom as many entities are recognizing the major benefits that wave pools bring. The aspiration for surf is certainly at an all-time high and we’re confident that if you build it, they will come…

Capitalize on the surf park development boom 

The good news about wave pools is that many development types can reap the benefits of surf. Pureplay surf parks are no longer the key business model, as most developers are using surf lagoons to anchor masterplans with other key business goals. Whatever the venue type, from urban mixed-use to entertainment districts and even golf courses, the potential to boost your property’s ROI is massive when a wave pool is included. Some of the main venue types that we are seeing capitalize on the surf park boom right now are:

  • Urban Mixed-Use Facilities
  • Master-planned Communities
  • Hotels & Resorts
  • Lifestyle and Community Hubs
  • Golf Courses
  • Attractions and Entertainment Parks

But, the list of development types doesn’t stop here, as surf can often be molded to fit any other vision. So, what exactly can a surf park do for your venue and most importantly, your bottom line?

A secret weapon for customer loyalty and reaching new audiences

With an estimated 35 million surfers now existing globally, and the sport gaining more mainstream attention in recent years , the demand for waves is at an all time high but the supply remains inconsistent and exclusive due to the fickle nature of weather and one’s proximity to the ocean. In part, surf parks are a response to this by offering a complimentary experience to surfing in the ocean that is a consistent one. With a break that is always pumping, developers will surely create a community of loyal repeat customers, as well as reach international audiences.

The surf community has proven that they will travel far and wide in search of perfect waves that most have only dreamed of. It is worth noting from a 2022 surf consumer study conducted by Surf Park Central that 92% of surfers plan to travel internationally to surf (on average 1.4 times per year) in the post-covid era. On the other hand, surf parks also serve as a “home break” for a local community of core surfers, who ultimately won’t need to travel to fulfill their wave count. Pair these with the aspiration from beginner surfers and you’ll create a core surf community of repeat visitors.

The venue design and revenue generation potential is endless.

Create diversified and consistent revenue streams

Not only will you benefit from repeat surf session income, but the right surf lagoon can bring prime real estate opportunities (Read more on how to elevate and anchor real estate with surf). An inland beach and boardwalk create space for beachgoers to hang and for the hottest F&B to thrive overlooking the surf. With Endless Surf, you’ll get 360 degrees of waterfront development potential to capitalize on with high action views surrounding the whole lagoon. The possibilities for additional amenities are nearly endless to create a surf scene that fits your venue type and increases length of stay. For example, in the same survey conducted by Surf Park Central, they found that 69% of respondents were likely or extremely likely to stay overnight at a surf park if accommodations were available. Most respondents (greater than 50%) even said that their time spent at the surf park would likely last 3 to 4 days. As you can see, there is great potential for revenue generation beyond the surf, as you can build a true hub for active lifestyle.

Bring heart and soul to the center of your development

There’s no doubting that surfing is emotive and aspirational. Surfing also brings with it a tight-knit community that is dedicated to the sport and its lifestyle. Anchoring your venue around surf helps bring heart and soul into your development by offering a sought-after experience that is emotionally connective. Plus, talk about a major differentiator for your business when you can bring a slice of the surf lifestyle to your corner of the world no matter how far from the coast you are.

Expert experience design architect, Anthony Marinakis, in 5 Surf Park Design Tips for Developers offers a lot of insight on how to design exceptional guest experiences when planning a surf park for a range of development types. It is clear in Anthony’s master-planning work that surf pools do deliver for a variety of venue types, when you carefully craft guest experience across your entire property. Surfing will certainly differentiate and elevate your development, bringing a beating heart and creating a vibrant soul for your brand and your business.

What are you waiting for? The surf park wave is breaking, don’t miss out.

Interested in adding surf to your development? We’re here to help you capitalize on the surf park development boom. Find out more information on common surf development types here, and contact us to learn more.

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