Surfing could be coming to London, according to plans announced today by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (LVRPA) and inland surfing specialists, The Wave. The £40m project would enhance around 100 acres of land in Lee Valley Regional Park and could make London the first capital city in the world to offer an inland surfing destination.
LVRPA, as landowner, and The Wave, whose first inland surfing venue will open in Bristol next year, will work together to develop a planning application for a world-class surfing destination called The Wave London. This sustainable and visionary project will be the centrepiece of an exciting reinvigoration of land adjacent to the Lee Valley Athletics Centre in Edmonton, North London and will bring both visitors and jobs to the area.
The concept, unveiled today, will allow people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to have a go at surfing, whether it’s a child stepping on a board for the first time, or a pro-surfer training for the Olympics. The Wavegarden Cove technology generates up to 1,000 quality waves per hour, with heights starting at 50cm and peaking at almost 2m. The popularity of surfing is growing, and the sport will feature for the first time at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Engagement with local communities and interested organisations will take place alongside extensive, detailed site analysis – and subject to the results of this, a planning application will be submitted. If plans are approved by the London Borough of Enfield and the Mayor of London, The Wave London would offer a new purpose-built surfing lake and could feature other elements, such as a high-performance surfing and skateboarding centre, health and rehabilitation, cycle trails, high ropes, and glamping accommodation.
The existing lake in the north of the Lee Valley Leisure Complex will not be affected by The Wave London and the project aims to enhance its biodiversity. Activities at the world-class Lee Valley Athletics Centre would continue as normal.
Shaun Dawson, Chief Executive of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority said: “These proposals have the potential to create a stunning new regional leisure hub bringing health, fitness, sport and outdoor activities to millions of people along with many new jobs.
“This leisure development would complement our existing world class sports venues up and down the 26-mile-long Regional Park, including our three hugely popular London 2012 legacy venues providing the best cycling, white water, hockey and tennis opportunities to be found anywhere.
“Lee Valley Leisure Complex was once a sewage works and rubbish dumps. A generation ago we built what was then Europe’s largest leisure centre. Now we hope to bring inland surfing here to create an outstanding new leisure destination for the capital and the region. This marks another exciting chapter in the history of the Lee Valley.”