28 September 19
The WSL and a development partner have earmarked a large parcel of land close to the Sunshine Motorway at Coolum, 10 minutes from the Sunshine Coast Airport.
The plan will deliver a sporting and tourism facility - valued at an estimated $100 million - that could establish the Sunshine Coast as Australia’s most dynamic surfing base.
First developed by 11 times World Champion Kelly Slater in California, the original Kelly Slater Surfing Ranch evolved out of the multiple champion surfer’s wave-technology company that aimed to create the perfect wave environment for surfers to practice and develop ever-higher levels of performance in a repeating environment, while providing opportunities for surrounding camera and sensor arrays to provide immediate feedback on their progress.
However, WSL General Manager Andrew Stark said the only fault with the existing surf ranch in California was the rapid temperature falls through winter.
As a result, the facility is only able to be used for half of the year, prompting the search for a new location.
Stark explained: “We picked the Sunshine Coast because of the temperatures year-round and the DNA of the area. We love that very environmentally conscious, that's what we are, and it fits with the surf ranch philosophy."
With a range of technologies being developed around the world to create artificial waves, Kelly Slater’s technology created a repeatable man-made wave able to deliver the power and shape of ocean waves most sought after by accomplished surfers, including a hollow barrel allowing for long tube rides.
While high-performance surfing was the original core mission of Kelly Slater, the wave technology’s flexibility and ability to create variable waves for beginner and intermediate surfers extended its potential as a major tourism attraction.
Stark advised that the Surf Ranch would anchor a broader tourism development precinct that would include the development of an eco-lodge, event and training facilities, tourism accommodation, public open space and an environmental experience centre.
WSL and its development partner are working with all levels of government to bring the attraction to the area.
Stark added "given WSL's demonstrated focus and commitment to sustainability across the globe, we want to ensure we and our partners strike the right balance between economic development and sustainable growth for the Coast.
"It means creating a green environment for the community, delivering high-value eco-tourism and attracting more visitors to the region."
Visit Sunshine Coast Chief Executive, Simon Latchford says that the announcement that the WSL is planning to base its first Australian facilities on the region’s increasing reputation as a premium sporting destination.
- SOURCE: AUSTRALIAN LEISURE