The Gold Coast is globally recognised as a leading surfing region with world class surf breaks, three National Surfing Reserves and is home to many of the world’s best surfers including Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Mark Occhilupo, Steph Gilmore and many more.
As the only Australian surf/wavepool technology company – it made sense, from a strategic and practical perspective for Surf Lakes to establish our global head office on the Gold Coast.
On the 26th Feb 2019, it was announced that we will retain the Gold Coast as a company owned territory, rather than licensing it off to a third party. Within this area we intend to develop our own full scale, commercial “Surf Lakes 5 Waves” facility.
We have already taken many steps towards making this happen including meetings with the local council and tourism bodies, who are very supportive. We have also looked at several potential sites and have selected the one we believe to be the best fit.
We will shortly begin work to gain the necessary approvals and then construct the 5 Waves facility and surrounding commercial infrastructure to support a world class surfing venue. We will also operate this site and it will serve as our global HQ and training facility, where new licensees come to learn all aspects of operations before their facility opens.
Our aim is to make this site a genuine show piece not only for our technology but for the Gold Coast as well. We aim to commence construction in late 2020 or early 2021, with a view to opening in late 2021 or early 2022.
GOLD COAST TERRITORY
The boundary is centred in the middle of the Gold Coast and extends out to a radius of approximately 50km to encompass the southern region of Brisbane to the north, down to Bryon Bay in the south. In terms of accessibility, most located within this boundary can reach the Gold Coast within a 45min drive.
This leaves most of Brisbane, Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast as separate territories that can be licensed off.
Within this territory the potential market is:
• Gold Coast population 591,000
• Southern Brisbane population c 250,000
• Gold Coast annual visitor numbers 13,000,000
• Tweed Heads to Byron Bay population c 60,000
• Total 13,901,000
The market for visitors is made up of several groups:
In 2017, the Gold Coast had 13m tourist visitors. We estimate that less than 1% of this number surf when they visit the Coast, whether they are regular surfers, or by partaking in a surf lesson.
There are 11 surf schools on the Gold Coast, and we estimate that less than 100,000 people attend a surf lesson each year. This amounts to around 2,000 surf lessons per week. This, combined with domestic regular surfers who visit the coast from other cities, we estimate that around 98% of annual visitors to the Gold Coast do not surf – even though they are visiting one of the world’s most surf-focused cities.
- Gold Coast resident surfing population
- Brisbane surfing population
- Northern NSW surfing population
Competitions boost tourism numbers and increase visitor nights. For example in 2018 the Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast attracted a crowd of around 40,000 people. A Surf Lakes Gold Coast venue can be used for:
The financial contribution from each event is estimated to have been around $4.3m for the Coolangatta area. A world class surfing event, which could be run at a Surf Lakes over the course of a weekend, could attract a crowd of 10,000 or more. If each person spends an average of $50 on entry, food and products, the revenue from such an event could be $500,000 over a weekend. This doesn’t include sponsorship or broadcast rights. Events could include:
- Long and shortboard surfing competitions for local clubs as well as national and international events
- Competitions for other surf craft including SUP, bodyboarding, kneeboarding, waveskis and bodysurfing
- There are 100 primary schools and 21 secondary schools on the Gold Coast.
- Of these 120 plus schools, only two offer surfing as a school sport. All offer sports such as swimming, athletics, netball and soccer. We believe that with a safe, consistent and controlled environment that our facility can offer, many more Gold Coast schools will add surfing to their curriculum as a regular sports activity, as well as holding interschool and interstate surfing competitions at our venue, as they do with every other sport.
Corporate and private events
The facility can be used to host corporate events as well as private celebrations whereby a group hires out a surf break for an hour or a day, along with catering and conference facilities.
According to the 2015 Theme Entertainment Association Report, Wet & Wild Gold Coast attracts 1.2m visitors per annum.
Based on this, a unique surfing facility on the Gold Coast may be able to achieve 600,000 visitors per annum. This would be a combination of beginner surfers, regular surfers, non-surfers (family members), competitors, spectators and beach goers.
Anticipated revenue from 600,000 attendees per annum is estimated to be at least $42M per annum.
HUB FOR SURFING IN AUSTRALIA
Not only do we want to create a world class surfing facility, we also want to make it a hub for surfing in Australia. Surrounding the lagoon we envisage a range of complementary business including:
- Office space for surfing industry and sporting bodies to work from
- Testing and retail outlets for leading surfboard shapers
- Retail stores for the worlds leading surf brands
- A high-performance surf training centre offering expert coaches for surfers of all levels
- Associated training facilities which could include gymnasium, yoga, pilates etc
- Learn to surf school program
- Venue for surfing competitions of all levels, from local schools and juniors, through to world class events for all surf craft including longboards, bodyboarding, SUP and more
- A Gold Coast surfing museum
In 2018 the WSL Quicksilver Pro Gold Coast attracted 40,000 visitors over the 5 days of competition.
Funding of the construction could be a mix of equity, debt and Government assistance. This is yet to be finalised.
Surf Lakes will operate the venue, as well as managing the surf sessions in the lagoon and learn to surf. It is anticipated that surrounding amenities and retail establishments, such as cafes and shops, will be leased out and managed by independent operators.