Surf Abu Dhabi: the world's largest wave pool will be powered by Kelly Slater Wave Co. | Photo: Modon

In the world of extreme sports and luxury travel, the race to lay claim to the "biggest," "best," and "most advanced" superlatives is as fierce as the waves they aspire to replicate.

Now, a new competitor is disrupting the wave pool landscape: Modon Properties, with its visionary project on Abu Dhabi's Hudayriyat Island, backed by the pioneering technology of the Kelly Slater Wave Co.

The project marks a significant move for the Kelly Slater Wave Co., which until now had only developed the Surf Ranch in Lemoore.

However, despite this success, other proposed wave pool projects have met with numerous challenges, most notably the defeat of the Coral Mountain project in California by a local neighborhood group.

Despite the critics, proponents of the technology argue that the high-quality artificial waves are worth the cost, with Lemoore's facility commanding an average price of $500 per wave.

As Surf Abu Dhabi takes shape, the world will be watching to see if this ambitious project can ride the wave of success and transform the capital of the United Arab Emirates into a global surfing destination.

Surf Abu Dhabi: the length of the wave could reach over 100 yards/meters

The Next Big Splash

Referred to as the "world's largest man-made wave pool," Surf Abu Dhabi is creating waves - quite literally - in the industry.

The excitement around this project has been building since a press release on June 13, 2023, announced Modon Properties' ambitious plans.

The grand reveal is scheduled for the end of 2023, promising a transformational surfing experience unlike anything the world has seen before.

The impressive project can already be seen taking shape on Google Maps.

The wave pool is expected to be a game-changer in the world of artificial surfing, and its design is based on Slater's patented Surf Ranch, which has been acquired by the World Surf League (WSL).

The goal is to develop a facility that will proudly boast the world's longest ride, biggest barrel, and largest human-made wave pool.

Yet, the specifics regarding the size of the pool and the waves it can produce remain tantalizingly elusive.

Nevertheless, according to a report from TimeOut, the pool will sprawl across an impressive 51 million square meters, dwarfing its competition.

To provide some perspective, the Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, spans only 2,300 feet or approximately 700 meters.

Velodrome Abu Dhabi: the first UCI Category 1 indoor cycling track in the region | Photo: Modon

Beyond the Waves

Surf Abu Dhabi isn't the only noteworthy attraction planned for Hudayriat Island.

The Modon Properties' master plan is ambitious and expansive, aiming to transform the island into a true sporting hub.

Velodrome Abu Dhabi, slated for a 2025 launch, will feature the first UCI Category 1 indoor cycling track in the region, with a unique rooftop track offering panoramic views of Hudayriat Island and the Abu Dhabi skyline.

A 220-kilometer-long network of cycle tracks will wind through the island, catering to cycling enthusiasts of all levels.

Furthermore, the master plan includes provisions for the largest urban park, a haven for nature enthusiasts complete with an elevated cycling track, a mangrove walk, and an eco-farming space.

All these additions are set to make Hudayriat Island an irresistible draw for sports fans globally, with attractions like Trail X, Bike Park, and 321 Sports already making their mark.

An Impact on the Global Stage

The scale and ambition of the Surf Abu Dhabi project are grandiose, but so is its potential impact.

Modon Properties aims to attract not just professional surfers but beginners and enthusiasts, thereby cultivating a rich and diverse surfing community.

Given the state-of-the-art facilities, the venue is perfectly poised to host major international events and is expected to contribute significantly to the local, regional, and global development of the surfing community.

The structure may even host a WSL event.

Jassem Bu Ataba Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Department of Finance, Abu Dhabi, and Chairman of Modon Properties, spoke of the importance of the Hudayriyat Island development project.

He hailed it as a milestone in Abu Dhabi's journey towards innovation and progress, embodying the city's vision for sustainable urban planning, the development of vibrant communities, and the diversification of the economy.

Rumors, Whispers, and Revelations

Ever since rumors began to circulate about a Kelly Slater Wave Co. pool coming to the Middle East, anticipation has been high.

Now that the rumors have been confirmed, there's intense speculation about the Surf Abu Dhabi facility's groundbreaking features, including the possibility of wave breaks up to 8 feet - significantly larger than Lemoore.

In comparison, Lemoore's wave park technology allows for 12-25 waves per hour, with wave heights of 2-6 ft.

The pool's structure facilitates both left and right breaks, with the length of the wave reaching over 100 yards/meters.

The design guarantees a hollow performance-oriented wave, perfect for serious surfers looking to challenge themselves.

However, the project's full scope reaches far beyond the wave pool.

It's part of a sprawling 19-square-mile development - approximately half the size of Abu Dhabi Island - that includes high-end residential communities, a velodrome, and a large urban park.

And as with everything dreamed of and built in the United Arab Emirates, we can expect a state-of-the-art surf lagoon with never-before-seen artificial waves.

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