Even with the most passable knowledge, the surfing capitals of the world should be really easy to reel off; Mavericks in Cali, the Gold Coast in Australia, Oahu in Hawaii.
Well, get ready to add Bristol to that list.
That’s right, in the southwest of England, 12 miles north of the city centre, the UK’s first surf lake has now been unveiled and ready to be enjoyed by the public across a 75-acre site.
Costing £25million and almost a decade in the making, ‘The Wave’ offers “an unrivalled inland surf experience suitable for everyone from the beginner to the seasoned professional.”
The Wavegarden Cove technology employed can generate up to 1000 waves an hour, with a range of 50cm (1.7ft) to almost 2m (6.5ft). The lake is 180m long, 200m wide, with a new wave being produced every eight to ten seconds. It is the first place in the northern hemisphere to offer such an experience with the new tech.
Best of all, it is both completely powered by renewable energy and is specifically designed to make the sport accessible to those with disabilities.
The site will be open year-round. A one-hour surf costs £40-45 for an adult and £30-35 for a child.
However, this is dependent on the time of year and day of the week. A one-and-a-half hour surf session with coaching costs £55-60 for an adult and £45-50 for a child, with wetsuit, wetsuit boots and, of course, that all-important surfboard included.
Specialised manufactured-wave technology - aside from your basic - is a fairly alien concept to Britain.
With emphasis on full inclusion for what can often appear to be an insular sport difficult to access, the new installation may very well help create brand new fans and participants of the sport, as well open up greater possibilities in the future.
"We've got a real opportunity of getting people, particularly kids, off computers, getting them outdoors, get them interacting with nature, and improving people's health and wellbeing on a physical and a mental basis," said The Wave founder Nick Hounsfield (via BBC).
"That's the bit that really makes me tick - surfing makes you feel alive. No matter what level you are at, being in the water and having fun feels rejuvenating. We are all so busy in our day-to -day lives that we don’t take that time out to step back, reset and simply ‘be’. I found that surfing and being close to nature really worked for me and I wondered if there was a way of giving more people access to this feeling of wellbeing.
“I wanted to create a place where anyone and everyone can surf and on safe waves, all year round, and experience the many mental and physical health benefits it offers.”
The venue may only be newly christened but there’s no lull in development. Plans are already barreling for The Wave London (set to be at Lee Valley Regional Park in 2023), so get ready to get off your bottoms and practice your Backsides. Surfing could well be hitting the UK in a big way.
In the USA, the most famous surfer of all time, the American Kelly Slater has also founded his own Wave Company, intent on creating the perfect wave with the exact required shape and speed in unnatural environments.
Brilliantly, the 11-time world surfing champion fell on his first wave.