What is Honokea Surf Parks?
Honokea surf parks are a healthy living take on the traditional theme park. Our vision is to foster a healthier planet by providing fun activities, healthy food, all based on the healthy lifestyle already associated with surfing. Each Honokea park will offer a range of outdoor activities for the whole family including: running and biking paths, rock climbing, triathlon training centers, skateboarding, yoga, beach volleyball, and surfing for all levels. In addition to physical activities, we offer our guests healthy organic food that is grown onsite or locally sourced.
How did the project start?
It all started in 2010, when a couple tech-savvy surfers from Hawaii saw the potential to share the beach lifestyle with those who don't have access to the ocean, using a new artificial wave concept from Spain called Wavegarden. By 2011 we had become partners with them, and in 2012 they unveiled their full-scale lagoon in the Basque Country, which is considered the best artificial wave ever created. We grew our own park concept during that period as well, using the surfing lagoon as the focal point but also incorporating the values of getting people active, health, and environmental sustainability, which we felt were important to share.
What are your goals with Honokea?
To create a healthier country. America is the most powerful country in the world yet obesity has become an epidemic among our citizens. Fifty million people eat fast food every day while less than 20% of the population get the daily recommended excercise. Everyone wants to experience surfing so why not incorporate other fun, physical activity in a social and family-friendly atmosphere that hopefully inspires people to live a healthier lifestyle. We feel the time is right to incorporate these types values in an time where people are increasingly aware of what foods they're putting into their bodies and the importance of work-play balance. Healthy people, healthy planet, healthy communities. That's our goal.
How has it been working with Wavegarden?
Our partners in Spain have been great, their team is tight knit, very much a family, just like ours. We have had the pleasure of visiting them in Spain many times to surf their facility and soak in the Basque culture. At first we were surprised to learn that engineers from Spain had "cracked the code" in terms of wave pool technology, but as we've come to learn, Northern Spain is one of the industrial engineering capitals of the world so its no surprise they invented the best artificial wave on the planet.
How is the wave pool in Spain?
The wave is absolutely perfect, which allows you to improve your surfing very rapidly through muscle memory, which has never really been possible in surfing. It’s in the middle of this surreal valley, miles from the ocean, surrounded by huge trees and a river. It’s truly breathtaking. The current prototype offers a chest high double point-break that peels perfectly for 18 seconds in either direction. Jeremy Flores was there training while we were there and he was laughing because he couldn't get out of his wetsuit afterwards, he had done so many turns that he couldn't stand on one leg long enough to pull the suit off. The lagoons in the US will be a little bit larger to allow for a larger waves, which will also include large areas for beginners to learn, and intermediate surfers to improve. We'll have separate areas that offer every level of difficulty, all utilizing the same wave energy.
How are Honokea parks different from other Wavegarden projects?
As of now there are over 20 Wavegarden projects around the world and we are just the US partners. It's hard to say at these early stages, but I can assure you that we are all thrilled to implement Wavegarden lagoons into our park concepts. The way we think our project differs is that we've taken our concept much further than just sharing surfing. We look at it as an opportunity, and even responsibility, to share surfing in the right way and enrich the lives of people everywhere. We've put social, environmental, and cultural initiatives on the same level of importance as revenue, and we've built an incredible team to execute that vision.
Where are you going to build these parks?
We are currently in the pre-development phase for 5 projects around the U.S. I can't get into specifics as to where, but each project is near a major city, some of which have never experienced surfing, which is very exciting.
Timelines with these types of developments can take between 12 to 18 months depending on the State and municipality. Rest assured we are working to have the first set of parks open as soon as possible.