In Style + Design

Seven Years In The Making: Inside Melbourne’s Much Anticipated City Surf Park

Thought you needed a beach to catch a wave? That won’t be the case soon in Melbourne.

Come this summer, the city will see welcome a two-hectare surf park just a stone’s throw from Federation Square.

Located 16km from the CBD and right next to Tullamarine Airport, URBNSURF Melbourne is Australia’s first-ever man-made surf park that’s been seven years in the making. Set to open in December, it’ll see close to 1000 waves pumped out every hour.

Surfers can grab a board day or, thanks to the lagoon’s LED lighting, at night so the waves are ready when you are. Waves will range from .5m up to 2m in size and can be tailored specifically to the rider – from right-handers to a random selection.

The park’s aim to create authentic surf waves in a safe, convenient and accessible environment, says Rupert Partridge, URBNSURF’s brand and marketing manager.

“Our next-generation surfing lagoon can produce knee-high, rolling white water waves for beginners, kids and families, through to steep, challenging waves designed for advanced surfers and elite athletes,” he says.

Surf sessions and lessons start at one hour and can go up to an hour and 45 minutes. And with only 84 riders allowed to surf every hour, you can be guaranteed to have your own space.

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Waves are generated from an 85-metre pier running down the centre of the lagoon that’s roughly the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. A series of pistons located on the pier push the water to the left, then to the right, to create the waves.

A surf shop, rental centre offering the latest boards, wetsuits and accessories, and a beginner’s surf school and high-performance training academy will also be on-site.

In between surf sessions, visitors can relax in landscapes gardens, rehydrate in a beach cabana or rest in lagoon-side hot tubs. And if you’re feeling peckish, the park’s on-site restaurant is just the spot for a bite and bevvy.

The boys behind Sydney’s Three Blue Ducks, avid surf fans themselves, will be bringing their ethos for ethically sourced, sustainable food to their first Melbourne restaurant.

The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and will also be open to the general public so even if you aren’t jumping into the waves, there’s no need to miss out.

The menu will showcase native Australian ingredients as well as local wines, spirits and beers, which will be served on tap to keep bottle waste to a minimum. A pizza oven and charcoal pit will allow for some delicious barbeque-style eats.

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Sustainability was a big focus during the park’s construction coming into play with its water use, material use and energy production and consumption, says Partridge. High-quality trees, bushes, boulders and rocks were retained during building, and only local endemic and Australian natives species were planted to ensure landscaping was kept consistent with the Victorian coastal aesthetic.

In addition to the lagoon, a range of other surfing experiences will be on offer, as well as a program of music, art and cultural events.

And if you don’t happen to find yourself in Melbourne this summer, you’ll be happy to know a second URBNSURF is set to open in Sydney in 2021. Taking up residence at Sydney Olympic Park, it’ll soon be followed by another opening in Perth.

(All images: URBNSURF / supplied)

Published 11 November, 2019