up - on the Thames - 12th January 2008
LONDON: Two-metre waves are to
break on the Thames at an attraction aiming to
tempt urban surfers to taste the "quintessential
California surf lifestyle" in a disused dock
in East London.
2011, the world's first outdoor artificial surfing
machine will try to rival ocean breakers using
cleaned river water. The Venture Xtreme project
at Silvertown Quays has secured outline planning
permission; building work to transform the former
grain dock will begin this year. An artificial
beach with palm trees, boardwalks and rentable
fire-pits and barbecues is planned for post-surf
£20 million ($44 million) project is the
brainchild of Steve Jones, an adventure sports
enthusiast who climbs, canoes and surfs and believes
that urban surfers, mocked as "weekend warriors"
by coast-dwelling locals, want to take to the
waves after work instead of going to the gym.
can expect to pay £30 for an hour's session
that will offer at least 10 waves a rider, each
rolling more than 100 metres. The wave machine
can be set to make the surf break left and right
from a central peak. Floodlit surfing and screens
highlighting riders' best moves aim to attract
an estimated 100,000 surfers and body-boarders
a year, as well as half a million spectators.
everyone is convinced that riding a wave generated
by dumping 560 tonnes of river water from a cistern
into a dock captures the essence of surfing. But
Duncan Scott, the chairman of the British Surfing
Association, said: "Everything about the
experience is fake, but the fun is real."
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