Surfers set to rejoice

Sunshine Coast Daily
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PERFECT 10 pumping waves year round, a crucial 2032 Olympic Games injection and major economic boost have been slated for the Sunshine Coast.

World Surf League yesterday announced plans for the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch to have its latest high-performance base on the Coast.

The original facility in California delivers the largest man-made waves in the world, combining a peak level of surfing, coaching and fun.

It reportedly cost US$30 million to design, develop and build.

While the proponents of the Coast ranch declined to put a cost figure on the development, surfing industry insiders said it could cost up to $100 million and be a jobs boom for the region.

Beyond the wave, the pro-posed surf ranch would also include accommodation and is seen as a vital push for south-east Queensland’s 2032 Olympic Games bid.

World Surf League general manager Andrew Stark said the Coast was a “natural” location for the surf ranch.

“Given its culture, history and roots within surfing, as well as its pristine beaches and commitment to environmental sustainability,” Mr Stark said.

“We are committed to working with those in the local area, and over coming weeks we will be talking to the community to explain the concept as well as listening to local perspectives.”

Mr Stark said the ranch would anchor a broader tourism development district that could provide significant economic stimulus and job creation.He said the project would include the development of an eco-lodge, event and training facilities, accommodation,public open space and an environmental experience centre.

Alexandra Headland junior pro surfer Alister Reginato said the “awesome” proposal would go hand-in-hand with an Olympic Games bid.

“They’re looking at the Olympics so this fits the mould,” Mr Reginato said. “The technology takes mother nature out of the equation.”

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the facility would be a “major drawcard” for the region, attracting thousands of people from all corners of the globe.

“The Sunshine Coast is one of our key growth destinations for international and domestic tourists,” she said. “An attraction like this would give tourists a whole new reason to visit this region, supporting local jobs and local businesses.”

Sunshine Coast Airport CEO Andrew Brodie said the facility complimented the region’s exciting tourism offers.

“The Coast offers some unforgettable outdoor experiences, and with existing flights from Australia’s east coast and Auckland offering connections to the world, the Surf Ranch would enhance the region’s reputation for adventure,” Mr Brodie said.

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