Hawaii has some of the best surf in the world, and with the winter season nearly here, waves on the North Shore should be firing in no time. But a recent forecast tells us a swell of a different kind is headed our way. This one’s not generated from a storm of any sorts; instead, it’s quickly approaching the islands as a wave of change to the ever-popular ocean sport.

For all wave-riding abilities

It’s taking surfing beyond the ocean to a land-based operation that’ll be known as the Wave Garden Hawaii (WGH). The manmade wave technology will create the smoothest first waves for newbies and the longest nose rides for experts. Either way, WGH creators are calling this the “perfect wave.”Surfers Kiron Jabour (Left) and Gabriel Medina (Right) shred the manmade waves at Spain’s prototype Wave Garden. Hawaii may soon be getting a wave pool of its own.

This could be a great alternative for someone who’s eager to learn to surf but quickly throws in the board shorts after taking one look at Waikiki’s overpopulated waters. Like I said earlier, it’s an “ever-popular” sport that keeps on growing, so finding an empty wave can be nearly impossible. Learn to surf in ideal conditions and be the only one on the wave.

This is one of the main reasons local creators wanted to introduce the manmade wave to the islands. When people ask, “Why bring sand to the beach?” Creators point to the overcrowded surf line-ups and less than enjoyable experiences found there. According to them, a person catches two to three waves an hour, each lasting five seconds. The WGH would allow surfers to catch 12 waves, each 15 seconds long and totaling to about 2.5 minutes of standing time.

Surf pool scoops

The WGH is set to be up and running by early 2013. Creators hope to open a 10-acre facility in either Windward or Central Oahu before expanding across the main islands. Surfers can catch lefts or rights at this break and even adjust the wave size to their liking.

In addition to the 6-acre wave pool, there’ll be a visitor welcome center, retail center and membership clubhouse. It will be a place to hang out, barbecue, take yoga classes, play tennis or play beach volleyball. High school surf teams will also be able to train here.

“We’re starting a business that’s the first of its kind,” said WGH co-creator Sean Imai. “No one has ever built a successful surf park of this caliber.”

Here’s the cost breakdown:

Building the Facility – $10 million

Membership Fees – $7,000 initially, then $165 monthly

  • 4 (1 hr) surf sessions a month
  • Additional benefits include private bar, conference rooms, beach volleyball, tennis court, pool, priority to schedule surf sessions, convenient parking

Non-Member Fees

  • Expert Zone – $75 daily, includes 1-hr surf session (12 waves, 15 sec. each = 2.5 min standing time)
  • Beginner Zone – $30 daily, excellent for long boarding and learning to surf

They’ll be selling T-shirts for $20 to promote Wave Garden Hawaii.

Sustainable surfing

The wave garden will create world-class waves that many surfers find thousands of miles away. It will use significantly less energy when compared with other manmade wave technology, keeping the costs down.

“A study has also shown that the electricity for one hour of use (142 perfect waves) produces less CO2 emissions than what the average car would produce driving 30 minutes to surf,” said Imai. He also added that the combination of L.E.E.D. engineering, sustainable designs, water catchment systems and potential photovoltaic systems will help to minimize WGH’s environmental impact.

WAVE GARDEN HAWAII • www.wavegardenhawaii.com • Contact: wavegardenhawaii@gmail.com or Facebook: Wave Garden Hawaii

Photo Credit: Wave Garden Hawaii


  1. LOL Debbie, I was thinking the same thing. I would try the beginner Zone for $30 though. It does sound really cool.

  2. Hmmmm, I don’t agree that we need this. This is Hawaii..waves can be found almost always in one location or another. And then there’s that huge membership fee..to ride consistant 2.5ft waves. No, I don’t think so. I’ll stick with the ocean. A’ole!

  3. There is sure to be some controversy over the project. The WGH is still in the early planning stages, so it’d be interesting to see what comes out of it.

  4. The cost is not unlike social memberships for country clubs. But the reasoning behind it is appealing. As a beginner/intermediate surfer it’s getting harder to find a wave without competition. Try surfing at the north shore during winter time. Let’s see how many waves you can get. That is before you are intimidated out of the water by all the pros. The wave garden takes out the steep learning curve for guys like us and overall enables a hassle free lineup. I for one would love it if my own homebreak would ration out waves for everyone. But the crowds would limit each surfer to 1 wave per hour. Not easy to improve with that. This gives surfers an alternate, albeit expensive way to do what they love without the hassle. I think think that this technology will greatly improve surfing and we will see tricks and maneuvers that people currently will never try in the ocean. All the kinks will be worked out in the wave garden first. Other sports have simulators which improve all aspects. How about the stationary bike or the treadmill? These are indispensible tools for the athlete now.

    It will never replace ocean surfing. Part of the appeal is the elusive search for that perfect wave and being one with nature. But when I have a limited time to surf, this place makes perfect sense. Sign me up. 12 perfect waves an hour would be my dream session.

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