Details were announced today regarding a potential new leisure development for the Isle of Wight (IOW). The team behind the UK’s first inland surfing facility – The Wave:Bristol – has revealed that it is in discussions regarding building The Wave:IOW.
The Wave brings together surfing, nature and education to create a brilliant day out for everyone. At the centre of the plans is a lake in which cutting edge technology generates perfect peeling waves of up to 1.6 metres high, at a rate of approx 70 waves per hour – with room for both experienced surfers and those trying it for the first time. But it’s not just about surfing. Expertly designed botanical and healing gardens surrounding the lake will be created to provide a wonderful experience in their own right.
Following a market review carried out by Colliers International, the team behind The Wave were approached last year by Wightlink and the Isle of Wight Council about the possibility of creating a site on the island. Both organisations have provided some initial funding to help establish the viability of the scheme. Co-founder of The Wave, Tobin Coles, comments:
“We were already planning to build another ‘Wave’ elsewhere in the UK and were keen to look at locations on the south coast. The Isle of Wight is a great fit for The Wave – it is rural, has a resident surfing community but also attracts a good influx of tourists every year. We are in discussions with a number of key organisations, such as the Council and Wightlink, regarding the project but can now confirm that it is definitely our intention to create The Wave:IOW.”
Stuart Love, Strategic Director of Economy & Environment for the Isle of Wight Council said: “The Island has long been known for its outdoor attractions and as a place where visitors can participate in a diverse range of outdoor sports and activities. We are delighted, therefore, that The Wave team views the Island as a place for investment in a facility that would enhance our reputation as a tourist destination as well as offering a new amenity for residents.
“Given that any development would require planning permission, we are continuing to work with The Wave team to help them put forward a sustainable planning application.”
Clive Tilley, Commercial Director of Wightlink, is a key supporter of the project. He said: “We believe that The Wave:IOW has great potential to extend the appeal of the Island to leisure visitors and presents us with an unmissable opportunity to significantly increase visitor numbers. Not only will it offer a superb day out for visitors from the mainland catchment area, but it will also stimulate more demand for short breaks by holidaymakers from further afield – a key objective for all of us involved in the Island’s tourism.”
An element that cemented The Wave team’s decision to come to the Isle of Wight is the ‘Ecoisland’ initiative. Its vision of achieving sustainability in terms of energy, water, food and fuel over the coming years has a real synergy with what The Wave is trying to do.
Co-founder, Nick Hounsfield explains: “Sustainability is at the heart of our project and we have brought Chris Hines MBE on board to ensure we ‘walk the talk’ in terms of sustainability. The Wave will be building the ‘triple bottom line’ of sustainability into the DNA of the project. In simple terms this means we’ll minimise our environmental foot-print, maximise our social impact and be financially prudent, whilst ensuring our output of waves, fun and relaxation is as great as possible!”
David Thornton, Chief Executive of Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, commented: “Over the next few years we have set challenging targets for the Isle of Wight to increase its share of the domestic and international tourism market. With the tremendous increase in interest in activity-based holidays, The Wave:IOW is an ideal vehicle for the Island and will provide a unique new attraction that can help us to achieve those objectives. Visit Isle of Wight pledges its full support to The Wave:IOW and will work actively to use the full spectrum of promotional activities to make it a success from the word go.”
Tobin concludes: “We are really excited about the prospect of The Wave:IOW and are already assessing a number of sites around the island. We hope to make an announcement regarding a preferred location in the near future. It’s really important to us that The Wave is open to everyone – residents and tourists of all ages, all backgrounds and all abilities. We will be consulting widely and look forward to getting people’s feedback, this is a critical part of the process and will be used to shape the future of the project on the Island.”
More information about The Wave can be found at www.the-wave.co.uk