Rotterdam Transformed a Canal Into a Surfing Wave Pool

Taking urban surfing to a new level!

Jun 26, 2024


Rotterdam Transformed a Canal Into a Surfing Wave Pool | Taking urban surfing to a new level!

Surf city isn’t just a town in North Carolina or a beach in California. It’s a concept too. Surf city can refer to an urban setting that has a natural body of water that can be used for surfing. Now Rotterdam in the Netherlands is turning an unused canal into a wave pool for surfing.

The country that is famous for land reclamation from the sea and lakes for urban and agricultural areas is now creating waves where there was only water, according to Surfer Today. But it took many years for RiF010 – from the Dutch word for reef  and the postal code 010 – to go from an idea into a reality.

Edward van Dongen and Edwin van Viegen, avid surfers, had the vision in 2012 to create a place to have a constant surf in Rotterdam and not have to travel to the North Sea, but not everyone  shared their enthusiasm. Neighbors protested that it would be too noisy. Five years later, the court gave them the green light.

Now, 12 years later, one pandemic that shut everything down, and an $11 million price tag, RIF010 is ready to open in July 2024, reported Fast Company.

Repurposing infrastructure
Man made waves are not new. In fact, one of the earliest wave pools was constructed in Munich, Germany in 1929. People bopped up and down in the pool where the waves were generated by a giant paddle. The first wave pool in the US opened in Tempe, Arizona in 1969.

But wave pools are much higher tech today. And the wave pool in Rotterdam is using an actual canal that was once used to transport goods to and from the city’s port. To create the pool, a concrete basin had to be built underwater that allowed the water to be safely drained without destroying the historic quays.

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After the water was drained, a mechanism that turned standing water into a wave pool was installed and the basin was refilled with water from the Rotte River that was cleaned with a natural filtration system.

The surfing mechanism was developed by Surf Loch, a California company, to mimic the way waves form in the ocean. This technology is powered by eight engines through wind power from the North Sea. The engines mimic the way wind pushes and pulls water to create waves.

From beginners to pros
A generated swell may not feel as authentic as being in the ocean but should still be exciting. Surfers will sign up for one-hour sessions based on skill level and waves can be as small as a foot and a half and as large as five feet (1.52 meters).

Newbies – and children – can take lessons in what is referred to as the bay, where the water breaks. One of the goals of RIF010 is to create a program to introduce Rotterdam’s schoolchildren to surfing.

People who are experienced surfers can sign up for a session of five-foot waves, each one lasts about nine seconds and then the surfer has to hop off the board, paddle back to the start, and do it all over again.

The wave pool can accommodate 20 experienced surfers and 18 beginners. That’s around 150,000 surfers a year and RIF010 will be open year-round, according to Surfer Today.

The venue will also feature a wooden beach house, a cafeteria, restaurant and surf shop,  just like a day at the beach. But this beach will be right in the middle of the city.

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Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.