Building an Economically Sustainable Surf Park Business
DEVELOPING THE BUSINESS OF SURF
Wave pools are, without question, capital-intense ventures with highly variable revenue models and returns. Distinctions in location, design and amenities are the secret sauce, so to speak, that can make or break a surf park’s viability and longevity.
At some, like Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, the wave is the main attraction, with just minimal infrastructure around it. Guests, albeit only ones with the ability to pay for a high-end wave experience, are there for the wave, and the wave alone. Other venues, like Switzerland’s Alaïa Bay, have built-in additional amenities like a minimalist-cool chalet, rave-worthy on-site dining, and a retail store in a venue that is hangout-friendly for groups and families.
Distinctions in location, design and amenities are the secret sauce, so to speak, that can make or break a wave pool’s viability and longevity, says Jessica Mahoney, Director of Marketing at New York-based Aquatic Development Group (ADG). “Our philosophy has always been, it’s about more than just having great waves,” she says. “What makes your business successful is about whether what’s around the pool makes sense.”