Editor’s Note: This piece was done in conjunction with our partners at Surf Park Central.
The Annual Surf Park Summit took place at the Scripps Seaside Pier in San Diego last week, bringing together movers and shakers from one of the most interesting and innovative aspects of the modern surf industry – surf pools, also known as wave pools. There’s a lot going on in the industry right now, and a lot went down over the two days the summit was held so we thought a rundown would be appropriate, so you can keep an eye on – and maybe get stoked for – the future of surfing.
The Summit has been going strong since 2013 and is a massive get-together for brands, companies, and industry leaders to gather and align on different technologies, environmental efforts, and more. This year saw panel discussions on surf-park culture with surf legends Damien Hobgood and Ian Cairns, on the future of surf-pool technology with top surf-park executives, and a conversation about the influences of surf pools on surfboard shaping with shapers Matt Biolos and Timmy Patterson (who craft boards for Olympic gold medalists Carissa Moore and Italo Ferreira, respectively).
“We are really on the cusp of something incredible. We’re at the embryonic stage of the surf park industry. How could you not be stoked?” Says Andrew Thatcher, VP of Business Development at Endless Surf in the video above.
This year, notable attendees at the summit included World Tour veteran Shane Beschen, who’s deeply involved in surf-pool projects like the Wai Kai Wave and Revel Surf in Arizona; 1977 World Surfing Champion and Surfrider Board Member Shaun Tomson; and wonder-grom Erin Brooks, who’s at the forefront of progression in women’s surfing, supercharged by the work she’s put in at parks like the BSR Surf Resort in Texas.
The Breakfast of Champions panel and discussion featured three generations of world-class surfers currently engaged in surf pool innovation. Peter “PT” Townsend and Debbie Beacham got in on the conversation while SPS MC and WSL Commentator Chris Cote moderated. Erin shared her love for surf pools, as you can see in the video above.
This year marked Surf Park Summit’s First Annual Surf Park Awards, meant to recognize and give credit to standouts in the industry in six different categories. URBNSurf won the main award, “Most Appealing Destination,” as well as two others in a near sweep of the competition. You can catch the full awards ceremony here and see the nominees in the video below.
The entire event is put on by the good folks at Surf Park Central, who, as previously mentioned, are focused on driving the conversation on surf pools through the annual summit, the Beyond the Ocean Podcast which explores the influence of tech on surfing, and at Surfparkcentral.com, where you can stay up to date on all the latest surf pool news. SPC also runs Insiders, a virtual community where industry professionals can share knowledge and experience, as well as gain access to exclusive videos, industry news, and information.
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Want to get more involved? Participate in their Consumer Trends Survey. Complete the survey and enter to win a Firewire surfboard, or a free hour in a surf park of your choice.