Australia's most consistent left and right peak is back on tap.
After being forced to close in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic, URBNSURF will reopen this Friday the 19th of June.
With new waves on the menu and settings tweaked, the engineers have listened to feedback and tried to keep evolving the Tullamarine tub to cater to surfers of all levels.
For Cruiser, Intermediate, and Advanced sessions there'll be 18 surfers per side, but numbers drop down to 12 each side for the Expert setting, which holds the infamous Beast slab. Fewer surfers in the water in Expert mode means more waves will be on offer – again a result from feedback URBNSURF received after opening in January 2020.
Expert sessions have jumped up in price to $129 but this accounts for having fewer surfers jostle in the lineup and gets you 18 waves per session compared with 12 in a standard advanced session. Pricing for Cruiser, Intermediate, and Advanced sessions remain $59 - $79 apiece.
Friday’s reopening is only partial in that no surf lessons or spectators are permitted. However, this will change once Coronavirus restrictions are lifted in the coming months.
Now as wave pools pop up around the world the space race to pump out the most dynamic man-made waves is a motivating factor for operators and engineers.
URBN surf uses Wavegarden cove technology which has headquarters in the Basque Country near San Sebastián, in northern Spain. URBNSURF’s Brand & Marketing guru, Rupert Partridge, tells Tracks that the European team is in regular contact with the team in Melbourne developing new waves and sending prototypes to test to the Tulla tub.
“It’s instantaneous, they’ll program a wave up, email us and say they’ve just added a new wave and we’ll pump it out and go surf it,” says Partridge who clears his schedule to make sure he’s on hand to sample what the Wavegarden team have cooked up. The pilot testing and instant feedback go into further tweaks and refinements.
“When they’re here with us [in Melbourne] they have two of their Spanish guys who surf really well out in the water with the helmets on with mics built in, pulling into tubes, popping big airs, doing big turns, that kickoff and fire off technical feedback in Spanish to the guy behind the program interface. Then they’ll pump the next set out with slight variations.”
Though URBNSURF is firmly fixed on catering to surfers of all abilities and delivers good value, bringing a ramp wave, akin to the Waco Pool in Texas, to Melbourne is not out of reach. Some of Australia’s best aerial surfers have already tested prototypes in Melbourne and the feedback has been promising says, Partridge.
“We’re always looking at ways we can progress things from an elite performance level. We’ve been working a wave that is more Waco-Esque, pretty shallow, it really bends back hard on you and gives you that pop, says Partridge.”
“Josh Kerr was landing massive airs off the ramp’s end section and Chippa, Dion and Julian Wilson have been down and have that sense of what that wave needs to do for them to project off and relay that to us.”
Whatever your ability or aspirations, a trip to the Melbourne wave pool is hard to overlook. Most of those who have sampled the Frankenstein swells indicate it’s a unique kind of fun – particularly with a couple of friends in tow.
Water temp this time of year might be a factor for some. Think 11 – 12 degrees in the water, not factoring in the wind chill. But if you’re a Victorian surfer or familiar with frigid winter conditions and don’t mind donning extra rubber, a trip to Australia’s only wave pool open to the public is still an appealing option.
There’s already a burgeoning surf community of wave pool surfers that have sprung up around Tullamarine since the pool first opened with unofficial URBNSURF boardriders club Facebook group boasting 600 members.
If you want to join the pool party
Book your spot for a session at URBNSURF Melbourne here.