Wave Pools and the Quick Fix Surfer.

You want the truth?

Wave pools are just pure shit!

This article/rant should really end there but here we are and you deserve an explanation.

Wave pools seem all the rage in the last few years, slowly creeping into the surf industry with a few surf comps now being hosted at wave pools, also include surf edits that are being shot solely at wave pools. The idea of having perfect clean waves with little to no effort in paddling is tempting more and more people to head for the pools and catch that ‘perfect’ wave. The mechanics behind wave pools are certainly more than impressive, but, at a price.

Wave pools have finally managed to put something on surfing that has been avoided since its creation; an entry fee. The whole philosophy and core meaning behind surfing is that the water is free. Sure, buying a board, paying for parking etc. comes at a price, but being in the water itself is priceless. Wave pools have managed to find a way to make surfers pay to surf. Let’s take The Wave which has recently opened in Bristol, UK. Surf sessions last for roughly 55 minutes and cost £40, should you want to surf 3-4 times a week, it’s going to add up. Include your weekend drinking blackouts and that expensive nose beer addiction and you’ll be bankrupt.

Aside from price, the fundamentals of surfing are completely thrown out of the window with wave pools. Before surf cams, there was a time where you would pack a car with boards and friends, take a drive to check out the surf, if it was good then success and you jump in, if not you continue your journey until you found some surf. This is part of the process with surfing and adds more meaning to gratification when you eventually do find some surf. With wave pools it’s a simple fuck and chuck situation; the surf is always perfect so no wave hunting, pay your price, have the surf, and get the fuck out and see you next time. It literally strips the whole ideology and process to travel to find some waves.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel, wave pools being built inland and away from the coast could serve a purpose for those not being able to hit the coast any time soon. It's not a bright light, a dim light flickering on and off, especially with the purposed wave pool being built in Australia’s Sunshine Coast. Australia is purely renown for its surfing, right after the Bunnings' Sausage Sizzle. So, what purpose does it serve to construct a wave pool within driving distance of the beach? Money. The $90 million water park offers continuous sets, a hotel, and even a waterslide. Set to be located just off from the Steve Irwin Highway, the wave pool offers to bring in copious amounts of tourism. Are we the only ones that feel there is a little bit of irony to build a wave pool when perfect sunshine and the ocean are literally a short drive away?

For surfers, the ocean is a calling, a shiver you can’t shake off with this enriched need to surf. True surfers know the recipe into having a surf; it’s a waiting game, a journey, and knowing when you’ve struck gold. Take out those elements with the promise of perfect surf for a price and we could see a new type of surfer, the lazy quick fix surfer. As we grow in a society that demands things fast and easy, wave pools could literally shape the way we surf and not in a positive way. Why surf the ocean when you could just visit the wave pools at the promise of perfect 5 ft waves that could barrel at the flick of a switch?

Bring back a need for adventure.

We know not everyone is going to be flooding to wave pools any time soon, the old underdogs of surfing are sticking to their guns and turning their backs on the idea of heading to a ‘surf park’. Surfing involves so much more than just driving to the ocean hitting the waves and going home. For us, surfing is an adventure from the moment you leave your house to when you get back. Exploring different breaks inspires the need for adventure and showcases what surfing has always been about; a hunt. The introduction of wave pools is taking the exploration part out of surfing and allowing people to be lazy, disinterested, with no need for reading surf conditions, all for a fee. Be raw, magnetic, and remember why you started surfing in the first place. Wave pools will hopefully be just a phase and will fade out just like Tamagotchi’s (RIP Charles the chicken), but for now, we are stuck with them and it’s up to us if we want to invest in them or not.