The latest leisure attraction making waves in North Bristol.
Then in October The Wave opened. As this inland surfing lake continues to make headlines around the world, we spoke with founder Nick Hounsfield about his vision and why North Bristol was the natural home for the first Wave.
There has been a real Bristol buzz around what you and the team are doing. Tell us, what can people expect from a visit to The Wave?
I wanted to create a place where anyone and everyone can surf on safe waves, all year round, and experience the many mental and physical health benefits it offers. Surfing makes you feel alive. No matter what level you are at, being in the water and having fun feels rejuvenating.
We are all so busy in our day-to-day lives that we don’t take that time out to step back, reset and simply ‘be’. I found that surfing and being close to nature really worked for me and I wanted to give more people access to this feeling of wellbeing.
The 180m long surfing lake is at its heart, but The Wave is not just about surfing. It’s about sharing incredible experiences with anyone who wants to enjoy them, in a naturally healthy space. It’s about improving health and wellbeing, helping people feel like the best version of themselves and having a shedload of fun in the process!
As well as the surfing lake, there is wonderful food and drink, a surf shop, and a brilliantly friendly atmosphere. Over time there will also be beautiful gardens, meadowland and woodland, peaceful hideaways and trails. We will also have family-friendly camping in safari tents from Spring 2020.
It sounds like a great day out with so much to do, what made you decide on North Bristol as your first location?
North Bristol is a great location with brilliant connections to South Wales, the Midlands, the South West and across to London and the South East. It is home to an existing community of keen surfers but also gives us access to a wider audience of non-surfers who want to give it a go.
Also, I’ve lived in Bristol for the last 25 years and this had to be the home to our first Wave!
You and your team have had a real focus on sustainability. Can you tell us about your approach?
I didn’t want sustainability to be a ‘nice to have’ extra, or simply give a nod to it in the business plan. For me it was always at the heart of what we were trying to do and had to be part of every decision we made.
I wanted to build a business that could deliver more than just a financial return, and this was embedded from the very start. In terms of sustainability, we have a 3-Wave approach to everything we do, which means we think about the effect our decisions have on our Profit, the People around us and the Planet we share.
We have made a number of big decisions around environmental sustainability; we are using 100% renewable energy via our partner Ecotricity, our Food Philosophy in the cafe outlines a higher welfare sourcing policy for meat and eggs, we have no disposable cups or single use plastic on site, and the products in our Surf Shop are carefully selected based on a reduce, reuse, recycle approach.
It’s great to hear how to project is addressing important topics such as single use plastics and renewable energy to build a more sustainable world. Can you tell us a bit about the technology?
The Wavegarden Cove technology provides up to 1,000 waves of varying sizes and shapes an hour – around a wave every 10 seconds. Wave heights start at 50cm and peak at 1.8m. The waves are generated by a series of 40 ‘paddles’ that move in sequence. These paddles push the water over the specially sculpted lake base (like reefs on the ocean bed), which affects where and how the waves form.
1,000 waves an hour? That’s impressive! Who can surf at The Wave?
Anyone and everyone! There are waves to suit all levels, whether it’s a child stepping on a board for the first time, or a professional training for the Olympics. That’s the beauty of this technology.
How much is a visit and what’s included?
A one-hour surf will cost £40-45 for an adult and £30-35 for a child, depending on the time of year and day of the week. A 1.5 hour surf session with coaching costs £55-60 for an adult and £45-50 for a child. All prices include everything you need including your wetsuit, wetsuit boots and surfboard.
To find out more visit www.thewave.com