An artist’s impression of a Paul Boget designed Webber Wave Pool similar to what will be built on the Gold Coast.
An artist’s impression of a Paul Boget designed Webber Wave Pool similar to what will be built on the Gold Coast.

Skateboard firm behind Queensland wave pool plan

THE man behind a global skateboard empire wants to build the first surfing wave pool on the Gold Coast.

A company co-founded by Penny Skateboards whiz Ben Mackay has met with Gold Coast City Council officers to build a high-performance wave pool at Stapylton's McPherson Road.

Tunnel Vision Wave Pools Pty Ltd, created by Mr Mackay and Joshua Neale, of Kingscliff, in July, are expected to officially lodge plans by the end of the year.

The Gold Coast Bulletin has learned the company wants to install a wave pool using technology patented by surfboard shaper Greg Webber on 95 hectares of farmland on the Pacific Motorway.

A council source said documents would be lodged once final hydrological studies were completed.

"It's not far off being submitted and it is a really exciting project," the insider said.

"There's a lot of interest in this one and it will be great to see it get up."

Attempts were made to contact Mr Mackay for comment.

The bid would be expected to go through council planning between March and June and construction start within a year.

Artists impressions of a proposed Sunshine Park water park at Glenview on the Sunshine Coast which will include a Webber Wave Pool.
Artists impressions of a proposed Sunshine Park water park at Glenview on the Sunshine Coast which will include a Webber Wave Pool.

It is understood the wave pool, which could cost $10-30 million to build, will use technology patented by surfboard shaper Greg Webber.

Mr Webber has repeatedly said his technology was superior to 11-time world champion Kelly Slater's Californian prototype which has revolutionised the surfing world.

The technology caters for all surfers, regardless of ability, as the degree of difficulty can be varied.

Surfing stalwart Andrew Mckinnon said wave pools were the way of the future for surfing. "As far as competitions go it's hard to beat wave pools," he said.

"It's a welcome addition to the Gold Coast.

"Where it will take surfing above the lip (with aerial manoeuvres), it's hard to say."

However, Mr Mckinnon said it would be hard for wave pools to "replicate the real thing".

"One of the great attractions of surfing in the ocean is the unpredictability."

Acting Mayor Donna Gates was supportive of new Gold Coast tourism attractions.

"It would be fantastic to have a new attraction on the northern end of the Gold Coast," Cr Gates said.

The World Surf League (WSL) this month announced Slater's wave pool would feature on the World Championship Tour for the first time next year.

"We're only scratching the surface of how this technology can be applied and it is completely game-changing for the sport," said WSL boss Sophie Goldschmidt this month.

The Stapylton pool application comes five years after a Pimpama development, to include Slater's design, folded.

Webber's pool, like Slater's, uses an underwater hull pulled through the water to create a perfect peeling wave on demand.

But Webber has previously said his wave was superior because it created a wider barrel for the surfer to ride inside.

Brisbane company Surf Lakes is looking to build Queensland's first surfing wave pool near Rockhampton.

Surf Lakes founder Aaron Trevis told the Gold Coast Bulletin work on his wave pool was so far progressed he hoped to have former world surfing champion Mark Occhilupo "in the barrel" of the artificial wave by mid next year.

Mr Trevis said his designs would produce up to eight waves at a time.

"We've done scale models and this is the first full scale model - it's about the size of four soccer fields," Mr Trevis said.

Mr Trevis said his facility will operate using a huge piston or plunger in the centre of the pool radiating waves outward towards a shoreline.

"There's a lot of interest in this, (Surf Lakes) has a shortlist of 13 different sites in nine different countries," he said.

Penny Skateboards founder and director Ben Mackay. Photo Michael Ross
Penny Skateboards founder and director Ben Mackay. Photo Michael Ross

SKATING TO SUCCESS

Ben Mackay's international skateboard empire started in his parents' Daisy Hill garage.

The 39-year-old got his first skateboard aged five which ignited a lifelong love with skating.

He took up a cabinet-making apprenticeship after school, where he surfed and skated as often as he could before he decided to begin Penny skateboards.

More than a decade ago he revived the plastic boards which were popular in the 1970s and his business exploded.

He sells boards online and in at least 4500 retailers across 60 countries.



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