The cost of building a standard wave pool will vary depending on certain crucial factors. Expect this to fall within the range of $20 million and $200 million. Have it in mind that just the wave pool itself requires a massive amount of land.
Wavegarden, a renowned wave-generating technology company, requires a minimum of 394 x 394 ft (or about 3.6 acres) to build their smallest pool. Meanwhile, their standard size Wavegarden Cove needs 492 x 492 ft (or about 5.6 acres) – and this doesn’t include the extra land needed for commercial buildings, beach areas, parking lots, and many more.
Meanwhile, the premium Cove technology from Wavepark cost at least €20 Million (or around $22 Million). Have it in mind that this cost includes all development costs coupled with the delivery of the lagoon, wave generating system, water treatment system, office building, surf school, restaurant, surf shop, outdoor areas, service buildings, online booking system, contingency, and facility launch.
Right from the very moment Kelly Slater first unveiled his man-made tube machine in Lemoore to the astonished public back in 2015, wave pools have emerged all over the globe. To further buttress this growth, do a quick Google search and you will find surf parks in Waco, Lemoore, Palm Springs, Florida, Michigan, and more. With others in numerous levels of planning and construction, artificial waves will indeed become more popular in surfing in the years to come.
Have it in mind that your potential income in this business will depend on how many people you can draw into your park, and the number of people you get through the door will also depend on how good the experience is at the venue. Also, note that the wave level you offer won’t be what guarantees the success of the business.
Sooner or later, you will realize that the wave on a full scale can only be enjoyed by experienced surfers. Pools that offer lots of waves per hour, at a wide array of skill levels, in addition to unique food and entertainment, will surely carry the day. It is no secret that building a wave pool is a massive undertaking. The exact costs will vary depending on the factors mentioned below;
Factors That Influence the Cost of Building a Wave Pool
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You will need anywhere from 2 hectares (5 acres) to 6 hectares (15 acres) of land to build a standard wave pool. Have it in mind that the size of land you require will depend on what technology you use and also what add-on facilities you intend to build around it.
Often, size is the primary factor in these cost estimates, as developers are expected to navigate size (pool footprint) vs. performance (wave quality, ride time, etc.) to find that “sweet spot.” A Wave pool is expected to be large enough to satisfy surfers wave-wise but small enough to provide a lower TCO and higher ROI.
Aside from size, you will need to analyze if the land is close enough to a major population, a place where you can get lots of people visiting, yet far enough away that you’re not paying exorbitant prices. In addition, you will have to consider how flat the land is and if there is any groundwater to think about when digging the pool, etc.
This is another factor that greatly influences not just the cost of building a wave pool, but also the ongoing cost of managing the facility. It doesn’t take an advanced degree in environmental science to realize that wave pools need a huge amount of water to pump out artificial peelers.
For a hot and arid location, the cost of generating water can be massive and there is also the danger of overusing water resources in operating the wave pool. According to reports, the Surf Ranch in Lemoore requires 15 million gallons of UV-and-chlorine-treated water — 250,000 of which can evaporate from the lagoon on a very hot day.
For pools in places that get an abundance of rainfall, water scarcity wouldn’t be that much of an issue. Nonetheless, water is an increasingly deficient resource in most parts of the world owing to growing populations and climate change.
According to the United Nations, “over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress.” How wave pools manage their water is heavily dependent on location – how scarce water is in that area, how they recycle their water and the amount of water that gets lost due to evaporation.
Technology is what drives these projects and is the first thing to consider. Here are the six key technologies used at wave parks around the world and how they work.
- Air Compression: This type of wave generation creates wind using a vacuum and pressure inside custom concrete chambers.
- Rotating Fan: The machine’s wave-making blades loop around, forming one continuous wave. The wave is encircled by a wall and a deep spot to absorb wave action.
- Levers: Wavegarden’s second technology uses small levers that fire off inside a module to push out waves.
- The Hydrofoil: The hydrofoil wave pool uses a galvanized steel blade (just like in an airplane wing) that is pulled underwater along a track, powered by a gearless drive system, down the side or middle of a body of water.
- Plunger: Air moves the lever that pushes the plunger down to send waves out in rings. The bottom of the lake is also designed so that as the wave diffuses from the center, it forms different breaks on each side for different waves and conditions.
- Water Dumping: Water dumping is when water is pumped into a reservoir tank and once the tank is full; it can be suddenly released into the main pool. This force displaces the water and creates a wave.
Note that to construct any structure, especially one intended to hold millions of gallons of water, you require materials that will guarantee that the structure is strong, resilient, and safe – which is what makes concrete the most used building material on earth. In recent times, developers are beginning to use other materials, especially recycled materials and things less harmful to the environment.
For instance, in Bristol, UK, the Wave incorporated materials like natural clay plaster on the inside of the clubhouse, recycled steel for the roof, recycled glass in the insulation, and recycled building rubble for the work surfaces. Also, note that the developers of Surf Snowdonia in North Wales place a heavy emphasis on using recycled materials.
It is pertinent to note that the type and structure of the soil in your location to avoid incurring additional expenses when building the pool. Note that fine soils make the installation process easy. In the same vein, soft soils, floodplains, and underneath rocks warrants extra work in the ground preparation, which translates to higher costs.
Also, have it in mind that some elements of construction need to be considered if you have made it to this stage of the development process, including Excavation, Soil sealing, Concrete, and Filling the pool with water. Do not forget that none of these construction processes come very cheap and easy.
Just like it was explicitly stated above, wave on a full scale isn’t what guarantees success in this business. You would need extra features like the main building, surf school, restaurant, surf shop, outdoor areas, and service buildings, online booking system, contingency, and facility launch. Note that the extra features you choose for your pool depend on the aesthetic value you want and the amount you are willing to invest.
You can install extravagant features like diving boards, swim-up bars, fire features, waterfalls, and other water features that improve your pool’s appearance, value, and aesthetic. Howbeit, these come at additional cost, so if you are on a constricted budget, you can omit what you can’t afford.
Contractor and Initial Planning
Building a wave pool can be a daunting endeavor if you don’t have a detailed plan. A professional commercial contractor will listen to your needs and recommend the best available options depending on your budget. The structural engineers will also design the pools to handle all the forces involved.
Prior to hiring design professionals, contractors, and land purchase, experts need to get involved in site selection and master plan development. You will also need to work with a true team towards the goal –– a completed project that matches your vision, budget, and timeframe. One of the advantages of Design/Build is that architects, engineers, and design professionals all work under the Design Builder’s control.
Maintenance and Operations
Note that immediately waves start to roll out toward the edges of the pool, although surfers may disappear under them, the visibility of operating costs will become extensively clearer. In addition, costs associated with maintaining your newly acquired equipment will also become paramount.
In this type of establishment, ongoing operations costs include; Energy, Filtration, Pool Chemicals, Water, and Routine Maintenance. When it comes to the size and performance, a slightly smaller footprint will be beneficial toward cost savings. In conclusion, less of a footprint without the loss of wave-making capabilities translates to a significantly lower cost of construction.
Constructing a wave pool is, without doubt, a massive resource-intensive undertaking even if everything is done “right”. No matter the size and scale of the venue, building a wave pool is no small feat and just like it was noted above, the cost of constructing a wave pool falls in the range of 20 to 200 million dollars.