Surf Parks and the Experience Economy with Endless Surf
When the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, will we still be talking about the “experience economy” or will consumers be cautious of travel and be more frugal with their money?
Either way, nothing is stopping the surf park development train.
If people staycation more in the years ahead, having a surf club to feel at home will be a new must have membership—and when we say ‘surf club’ we aren’t thinking preppy golf clubs but places where likeminded surf addicts can indulge together. If people do continue to travel at the same level as before, we see a future where surf parks have their own unique identity and people talk about having surfed them, like collecting memories from surfing world-renowned surf breaks across the globe – but now with a major added benefit: mother nature won’t be able to disrupt your plans with a lack of swell or blown out conditions.
What will make a surf park worth traveling for?
For venues to have that special pull they will need more than slick marketing and pro surf influencers. They’ll need to feel authentic. The surf parks people will travel for time and time again will have the following features:
Amazing Endless Surf waves – of course we want the world to love our waves like we do! But in all seriousness, not all man-made waves are equal and surf pool technologies are constantly advancing. Waves are becoming more precise, more customized, and more responsive to who is in the pool, which leads us to point number two.
Seamless operations – we understand that running a venue is like keeping a hundred plates simultaneously spinning and continuously smiling while you do it. Even perfect waves flowing through a surf pool will not make up for a venue that is operated poorly. An experience that resonates with visitors will come from their time in the break and on the boardwalk, and that generates that magic word of mouth that spreads like wildfire through social media and beyond. Most importantly, waves also need to be safe. Entertaining people in water needs careful monitoring of the pool’s power and its water quality.\
A vibe that doesn’t feel fake or manufactured — Although we aren’t talking about theming, it would be naive not to think that experience design isn’t going to be a major part of surf park development plans. An urban surf park is going to feel odd with an overly tropical vibe and those stereotypical VW bus and tie-dye surf shacks in our opinion. Authenticity is about people, and that is about creating a mix of locals and guests who identify with the culture you create in all sorts of little ways, from no plastic to the play list.
Frictionless guest experiences – how easy was the whole customer journey from booking to catching the wave? Imagine if the wave operator could tell who was in the pool and their surfing ability from their RFID wrist band, allowing them to change the wave in real-time to make it the perfect balance of fun and challenge. Yes, Endless Surf can do this. A personalized experience now means so much more than just choosing your board rental or wrist band color.
It isn’t only about out the wave – it’s no doubt that surfers will come with non-surfing partners, parents, and friends. If they are bored, you can bet that whole group leaves sooner than a surf venue will like. Experiences worth posting are about people finding their space to play, relax, and indulge, with a little encouragement to stay. The beach and boardwalk are as big of a deal for revenue generation and a positive guest experience as the break is.
What is clear from all the conversations we are having with serious developers is that the next generation of surf pools will be much more than pools—which is why we tend to call them surf parks. The best future surf venues will think bigger and be even better than those which put surf pools on the map as an attractive investment opportunity.
Better yet, they will make surfing a reality, not an aspiration for millions around the world.
Find out more about Endless Surf, the next generation of surf pool technology, and their holistic approach to offering authentic surf experiences here.