Volusia surfers and visitors will have a new swell to charge! The city of New Smyrna Beach approved an American Wave Machines (AWM) surf pool experience to be included in the master development plans for the proposed Ocean Gate Commerce Center. Plans call for the wave pool and massive commercial and retail development to be built on the southwest property of State Road 44 and Interstate 95.
New Smyrna Beach has been ranked as National Geographic’s “World’s 20 Best Surf Towns” and is a top surfing destination in the world. Ocean Gate Commerce Center’s location is considered the “gateway” for Orlando beachgoers and commuters traveling from all directions on Interstate 4 and Interstate 95.
AWM has patented PerfectSwell technology, the first and only air pressure system to create naturally occurring ocean swells. The technology creates ideal conditions for surfing anytime, anywhere. Development plans include a Point Break restaurant and AWM Surf Bar with a special indoor wave feature using SurfStream and a 15-acre PerfectSwell surf pool.
According to the website, PerfectSwellSurf.com, the technology was developed when AWM was commissioned in 2007 by The Aquarium of the Pacific, located in Long Beach, California, to produce a wave model that could help visualize and define the differences between tsunamis and regular ocean swells. AWM’s technology is proven commercially and the PerfectSwell installation in Waco, Texas is currently the world’s number one surf destination.
The indoor venue includes AWM’s proprietary SurfStream technology. The ability to create soft rolling whitewater waves to hollow right and left barrels, a full range of surf experiences in a compact space. The venue combines sport and culture including surf lessons, training, competitions, surf retail and board sales.
In October 2020, the city commission approved an amendment to the Ocean Gate Commerce Center’s master plans in order to allow new permitted uses for the wave pool, a mini-storage warehouse and a car wash. According to a map on PerfectSwellSurf.com, the development includes a 122-room Holiday Inn Express, Florida Roadhouse restaurant, Burger King fast-food restaurant and the existing RaceTrac gas station.
According to an article published in October 2020 by the HomeTown News, “the amendment also calls for a 30-foot project perimeter building setback except along SR 44 where the master development agreement has more stringent setback requirements. The 30-foot setback area includes a minimum 20-foot landscape buffer. The amendment also revises the width and sidewalk and bike path requirements for the project’s internal roads and drives.”
What do professional surfers think of wave pools? A simple internet search returns a “love it or hate it” opinion. It is safe to say wave pools have a place in the professional surfing world. AWM published a news release in February 2021 stating a PerfectSwell project in Shizunami, Japan is near completion. These waves will be used as a training facility for the first Olympic surfing athletes. Surfing is one of five sports added to the Tokyo 2020 summer games set to open on July 23, 2021.