‘Luxury’ Surfing Is Officially Here

Inside Australia’s first (decent) artificial surf park – and what it means to a sense of natural stoke.

By Terry Christodoulou 09/01/2020

Forget everything you know about wave pools. Because Urbnsurf is not that Dubai resort effort you once floated about in. 

No, this thing is real, proper, slabby surfing. A manmade wave that has pros and novices frothing; a reason to hit up Melbourne’s Tullamarine and not to catch a flight. 

After a few months of solid testing – queue those pros and Chris Hemsworth, among others – this week saw the public opening of what is this country’s first surf park.

For Urbnsurf CEO Andrew Ross, a life-long surfer and former Perth lawyer, it marks the realisation of a long-held dream.

“Surfing is the only activity that’s endured throughout my life,” offers Ross. “And I can remember when I first surfed on that [manufactured] wave in Spain in late 2012 – it was like that revelatory experience, like surfing your first wave.”

Luxury Surfing

Urbnsurf Park works in two ways – a large arm runs the length of the park pushing water forward, the shapely wave floor then pitching the actual break. 

“The reason we have these parks emerging is really a function of the improvement in computer modelling. There’s a lot of alchemy you need to understand the design – but to make it right you need to have a deep experience as a surfer.”

So why choose a manmade wave over those at the beach? For starters, consistent conditions mean an ability to catch more waves in a much shorter period of time.

  Urbnsurf could be Australia's first luxury surfing park

Still, given the sudden proliferation of similar parks across the globe, there’s a relevant argument about whether such outfits detract from the honest ‘stoke’ and wonder of the natural environment and its ever-changing waves; further, whether charging people to ‘hit the water’ suddenly drives a stake through surfing’s democratic heart?

As Ross sees things, Urbnsurf and its ilk – think Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, Spain’s Wave Garden, Texas’ NLand Surf Park and the planned Aussie Surf Lakes, among others – will ultimately elevate the sport and associated skillsets, while allowing far greater accessibility. 

“I hope what will happen is what happened to skateboarding, with parks built people can practice more and increase their skills, I’m also hoping it changes the competition in the future.”

“Look, the catch-cry for the surf parks has been accessibility, consistency and safety – for example, with Melbourne, the closest waves are almost an hour and a half away, and with waves on-tap, it’s very controlled and lets surfers practice a manoeuvre on the exact same wave.”

Split into a variety of breaks that accommodate differing levels, one-hour Urbnsurf sessions run from $25, topping out at $79 for an ‘advanced’ session. 

Ross is planning 10 more parks across Australia the coming decade – with development on Sydney’s set-up at Olympic Park already underway.


Subscribe to the Newsletter

Stay Connected

You may also like.

Jay-Z’s Champagne House Expanded By LVMH

Armand de Brignac will capitalise on Moët Hennessy’s vast international network.

By Rachel Cormack


The Macallan Teams With Legendary Pop Artist Peter Blake

Each 54-year-old features a bespoke collage created by Blake.

By Rachel Cormack


Kenzo Takada’s Art And Furniture Collection To Be Auctioned

The contents of the designer’s apartment in Paris, including homewares and clothes, will be auctioned by Artcurial in May.

By Joelle Diderich


Penfolds’ New Collection Blends Wine From Australia And California

With its groundbreaking “wines of the world” blends, Penfolds combines the best of Australia and California into singular new vintages.

By Janice O'leary


How To Tell If Your Keith Haring Is Fake

Below, the telltale signs the artwork may have an authentication issue, according to an expert.

By Richard Polsky


Buy the Magazine

Subscribe to Robb Report today!

Subscribe today

Stay Connected