THE idea was as simple as wanting to make people happy.
Now Australia’s first ever surfable indoor wave pool is taking shape in Joondalup.
Aloha Surfhouse will comprise multiple areas including the wave pool with waves from two to six feet, a retail boutique, yoga studio with more than 30 classes per week, a caf, two themed kids party rooms and a larger corporate room for events.
Suitable for novice surfers up to the more skilled wave catchers, the pool uses innovative surf-stream technology from America.
“It’s never been seen in Australia before,” director Adam Blackwood said.
“A lot of Australian surfers will be familiar with flow-rider technology, which is like skim boarding.
“The American wave-machine technology that we’re using is very different; it’s got deep-water so the surfboards require fins, making it more like real surfing than just skim boarding.”
The 1500sq m Winton Road warehouse will also be home to WA’s first Clip ‘n’ Climb indoor rock climbing centre, making the location the 101st in the world.
“I always wanted to do something to make people happy and I was looking in to things like trampolines and FlowRider (surf simulator),” Mr Blackwood said.
“Then I stumbled across this company in the US that ticked all the boxes.
“I just picked a bunch of fun stuff that makes everyone happy and threw it all in to one thing.”
He said the addition of Clip ‘n’ Climb, which is an auto-belay system meaning you do not need a person on the ground to hold your ropes, came about when he was thinking about what people could do while waiting for their surf session.
“It’s a fun take on rock climbing and features a leap of faith, giant slide and race walls,” he said.
“There’s lots of lights and gadgets.”
Mr Blackwood said he had always been around the beach either surfing, diving or fishing.
“Perth always has a sea breeze and sometimes there is no swell and busy beaches,” he said.
“Having an indoor pool to surf means kids and tourists get the chance to learn and build their confidence; we’re a stepping stone.”
Despite having experienced two great white shark encounters while diving, Mr Blackwood said that was not the reason behind creating Aloha Surfhouse.
“I wanted a venue where people could come and everyone was happy to be there,” he said.
He said the age demographic of the northern suburbs and industrial location suited what he wanted.
“Here we have lots of parking, no noise restrictions and we can target the kids hanging around at the shops,” he said.
“But I don’t want to take away from the beach – on a perfect day, I would want to be out there surfing and I would be encouraging others as well.”
The project has been two years in the making and though it was slated to open last May, Mr Blackwood said things were on track to open on December 18.
“This engineering has never been done before,” he said.
“We needed to find the right builder and the right architect and get the right people involved.
“We needed someone who could work from midnight to 4am so while we’re getting up, they’re going to bed.
“We also don’t have our power connected yet and have to hire a generator so there have been some hurdles.”
However, he said being able to create an Australian first was exciting.
“We have had some hiccups and sometimes wonder why we’re doing this and wanting to quit but then you look at the end game and get excited again,” he said.
“Every time I walk in here, I get happy and that’s the vibe we want.
“If it was easy, everyone would do it and then I remember why I started this and what we need to do.”
Mr Blackwood said his next step would be to take the venture national.
“We already have a site in mind in Western Sydney, then we’ll go to Melbourne, Adelaide and open a second one in Perth,” he said.
“There are also hotels in Singapore that have shown an interest.”
Mr Blackwood said the venue would employ 45 to 60 staff members and it met many current tourism, job and innovation targets.
People will be able to book 30-minute sessions, with the pool able to cater for 12 bodyboarders or five surfers at a time depending on their skill level.
Gift vouchers will be available first with firm bookings expected to be taken from mid-January.
For more, visit www.alohasurfhouse.com.au.