Australia wants artificial waves to halt surf rage

February 6, 2012 | Surfing
Snapper Rocks: crowded? where? | Photo: CoastalWatch

Australia has 2.5 million recreative surfers and the surf industry generates $3.3 billion a year for the Gold Coast economy.

That is why local authorities and Tourism representatives are planning to invest in artificial wave parks and surf pools that may boost the surf circus and reduce the increasing case of surf rage in the line-up.

John Nielsen, the new commander of the surf study task force, believes that the technology has been evolving quickly and that new ways of riding waves should be explored.

"Wave pools will be operational on the Gold Coast within two years. We are already talking with operators who want to bring them here," he told the Courier Mail. "Can you imagine having wave pools with perfect waves, operating 24-7, and what that will do for the industry?"

Tension and fight for waves is escalating. Legendary Australian surfer Mark Occhilupo has already presented a solution for the problem - limiting the number of surfers heading out to the line-up through the keyhole, at Snapper Rocks, in order to halt the ultra-crowding issue.

"Sometimes you head to Snapper and you see 30 guys all trying to get out through the rocks at the same time," he said. "Maybe if you had someone there saying 'hang on a second', keeping it to five guys at a time and then another five guys a few minutes later, that could help."

Recently, the Coolangatta police announced that a team will be patrolling Snapper Rocks and Duranbah Beach to avoid flare-ups. The idea of building several strategic artificial wave parks is also being studied alongside with the creation of artificial reefs that would pump the surf in areas that weren't quality surf spots before.

The most advanced artificial surf models and concepts are being developed in Europe (Wavegarden), USA (Kelly Slater Wave Company) and Australia (Webber Wave Pools).

Learn more about man-made waves.