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Coolum revealed as location for proposed $100 million Kelly Slater Surfing Ranch
The World Surf League has revealed Coolum on the Sunshine Coast as the potential location for the first Kelly Slater Surfing Ranch outside of the USA.
World Surf League (WSL) and a development partner have earmarked a large parcel of land close to the Sunshine Motorway at Coolum, 10 minutes from the Sunshine Coast Airport.
The plan will deliver a sporting and tourism facility - valued at an estimated $100 million - that could establish the Sunshine Coast as Australia’s most dynamic surfing base.
First developed by 11 times World Champion Kelly Slater in California, the original Kelly Slater Surfing Ranch evolved out of the multiple champion surfer’s wave-technology company that aimed to create the perfect wave environment for surfers to practice and develop ever-higher levels of performance in a repeating environment, while providing opportunities for surrounding camera and sensor arrays to provide immediate feedback on their progress.
However, WSL General Manager Andrew Stark said the only fault with the existing surf ranch in California was the rapid temperature falls through winter.
As a result, the facility is only able to be used for half of the year, prompting the search for a new location.
Stark explained “we picked the Sunshine Coast because of the temperatures year-round and the DNA of the area.
"We love that very environmentally conscious, that's what we are, and it fits with the surf ranch philosophy."
With a range of technologies being developed around the world to create artificial waves, Kelly Slater’s technology created a repeatable man-made wave able to deliver the power and shape of ocean waves most sought after by accomplished surfers, including a hollow barrel allowing for long tube rides.
While high-performance surfing was the original core mission of Kelly Slater, the wave technology’s flexibility and ability to create variable waves for beginner and intermediate surfers extended its potential as a major tourism attraction.
Stark advised that the Surf Ranch would anchor a broader tourism development precinct that would include the development of an eco-lodge, event and training facilities, tourism accommodation, public open space and an environmental experience centre.
WSL and its development partner are working with all levels of government to bring the attraction to the area.
Stark added "given WSL's demonstrated focus and commitment to sustainability across the globe, we want to ensure we and our partners strike the right balance between economic development and sustainable growth for the Coast.
"It means creating a green environment for the community, delivering high-value eco-tourism and attracting more visitors to the region."
Visit Sunshine Coast Chief Executive, Simon Latchford says that the announcement that the WSL is planning to base its first Australian facilities on the region’s increasing reputation as a premium sporting destination.
Latchford stated “the Sunshine Coast is already well-established as one of Australia’s most popular destinations for water-based events and holidays, but with the Kelly Slater name attached to the surf ranch, it could give our region even greater appeal internationally.
“In the past three years we’ve managed to combine our natural assets as a sporting haven with a far greater professionalism, which has culminated in Sunshine Coast Lightning’s unprecedented success on the national stage.
“We have been highly successful in attracting domestic and international sporting teams to train on the Sunshine Coast, we are now a venue for the national football codes and, of course, we have hosted a wide range of international and national surfing, triathlon and ironman competitions in the past.
“Having a global name associated with such a high-tech surfing project could really elevate sports tourism to new levels on the Sunshine Coast, attracting international teams, training camps and surfing fans.
“While Visit Sunshine Coast is enthusiastic and excited by the project, we are very mindful it must fit the approval criteria laid down by Sunshine Coast Council and State Government.”
With the Sunshine Coast, Brisbane and the Gold Coast looking to make a bid for the 2032 Olympic Games, the WSL announcement comes in the same week that the Sunshine Coast was confirmed as the venue for the 2021 ‘Aussies’ - Surf Life Saving Australia's premier surf sports event.
Images: 11 times World Champion Kelly Slater (top) and Sunshine Coast surfer Julian Wilson (middle and below) at the Kelly Slater Surfing Ranch in the USA. Courtesy of World Surf League.
16th July 2019 - URBNSURF Melbourne prepares to launch as Australia’s first surf park
26th February 2019 - Margaret River Pro to remain on World Surf League schedule despite shark fears
26th February 2019 - South East Queensland Mayors reveal details of 2032 Olympic Games vision
19th November 2018 - World Surf League announces Commercial Director appointment
7th September 2018 - World Surf League stages first Tour event using artificial wave technology
6th September 2018 - World Surf League makes commitment to prize money equality
23rd April 2018 - 2018 Aussies a huge success for Perth
6th April 2018 - ASIC charges Clive Palmer over Coolum resort villa takeover bid
1st February 2018 - Noosa’s surf breaks declared World Surfing Reserve
29th November 2017 - 2018 World Surf League calendar to include artificial wave park venue
5th December 2015 - Sunshine Coast launches new tourism era with new brand and direction
14th October 2015 - Double chance for Queensland in World Surfing Reserve bids
3rd April 2011 - Hyatt Regency Coolum Unveils Dune Beach Club
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