Nick Carroll: Look out Coolum, the Pool’s Coming Your Way

29 Sep 2019 39 Share

Nick Carroll

Senior Writer

The Kelly Slater Wave Company pool at Lemoore, California, USA, hosting its second Championship Tour event, September 2019. Photo: WSL/Cestari

The Kelly Slater Wave Company pool at Lemoore, California, USA, hosting its second Championship Tour event, September 2019. Photo: WSL/Cestari

COASTALWATCH | NICK CARROLL

A year of networking with various government layers, development partners and investors has laid the foundation for the Kelly Slater Wave Company’s first project outside the USA.

The WSL has secured a site just off the Sunshine Coast Motorway near Coolum, Qld, and plans to build a tuned up version of the KSWC tech along with training facilities and accommodation.

It represents a coup for former Surfing Australia CEO and current WSL Oceania head Andrew Stark, who’s been working the phones on it since he joined the WSL this time last year. “It’s why I was asked to do this job,” Stark told CW.

According to Stark, the Coolum pool’s business model will be multi-use: high performance training, events, buy-out days, and some general participation as well.

The site — close to major population centres, and in an area with year-round warmth and an established surf culture — lends itself to more day-to-day public involvement than Lemoore’s been able to manage so far. Along with Brisbane and the whole Sunny Coast on its doorstep, the nearby airport means it’s an easy flight from Sydney.

As for how the wave itself will look: “Lemoore was a prototype, a very successful one, but there’s been a lot learned from it, a lot is still being learned from it, and all that and more will go into this one,” says Stark. “It’ll be an improvement because we’re always looking to improve.”

The project now has to pass through a range of planning approvals from local and state governments before proceeding, but Stark says the KSWC is “in a position to commence fairly soon after that”. If all goes smoothly, he expects to see waves being pulled in the pool in early 2022.

Meanwhile the WSL will spend some time consulting with the Sunshine Coast community, Stark says, to “let everybody know what we’re thinking and to make sure the support is there”.

“Though I’ve had a lot of messages from surfers in that area,” he adds, “and they’re frothing.”

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