We've had an extraordinarily positive response to our public concept launch. Around 85% of the 11,000+ people voluntarily polled in Vancouver support CitySurf - an amazing consensus - and we take that as a great validator as we progress with more detailed design. We're receiving a range of media coverage, and a lot of questions. So we're updating you through a FAQ's page to dispel some misconceptions and highlight our goals with CitySurf. What we're proposing is so much more than just a man made wave pool or a surfing wave pool. It's a cultural, sporting, recreational, community-focused project that will change the landscape of Vancouver in the most extraordinary of ways.
False Creek is currently unsafe for swimming. How would you make the CitySurf water safe?
Addressing overall water pollution in False Creek is a big part of the CitySurf concept. Our plan calls for the design of a floating, man made wave pool with an innovative filtration system developed here in Vancouver. This sytem would filter out pollutants and bacteria as we draw water into the pool – making the water completely safe and swimmable. The filtration system is chemical free, and uses 100% renewable energy. Further to this, we plan to continuously recirculate this clean water back into east False Creek – the worst polluted area of the waterway – to improve overall water quality in False Creek. This has a significant potential benefit not only for other recreational users, but also for marine life in the False Creek habitat.
Would CitySurf be a public or private facility?
CitySurf is envisioned as a privately-funded, community amenity. Waveriders would pay to use the wave pool, with costs depending on a model we’re working on now, and varying depending on wave type, activity, and time of day and season. Simply put, it costs money to build the wave pool and generate waves. But the concept program includes free public use and access to all other areas. These include the beach and swimming lagoon area, the floating marine boardwalk, the hospitality area (including the green roof) and the interpretive centre. We also expect to work with a number of associations and watersport groups to provide access to the wavepool for more people and a broad range of water activities. The facility will be open to everyone, all the time.
Would CitySurf interrupt public access to the Seawall?
No, just the opposite. A primary design intent of the concept is to enhance public access to the waterfront and to the water. On the water side, the wave pool is ringed by a public floating marine boardwalk at water level, and on the land side by an enhanced seawall pathway – that continues up and over the hospitality building via a green roof. The public beach itself is located right off the seawall pathway – allowing all pathway users like walkers, runners, and cyclists, to stop and interact with the water.
Would CitySurf conflict with other False Creek water activities?
Our concept is located in the most underutilized area of False Creek. Limited activity in the area north of Telus Science World is one of the reasons we chose this location, and the design specifically limits impact any of the organized or freeform activities of other False Creek users. In fact, our design also offers an amenity to those users – we hope to see the public marine boardwalk at the edge of the wavepool serve as a race viewing and staging area for the Vancouver Dragon Boat Festival: as a put in/take out point for stand up paddlers and kayakers: as public boat mooring during events: and as a AquaBus/water taxi station. The wave pool is located well away from the False Creek commercial tour boat mooring, and does not reduce public mooring in False Creek. Overall, our goal is to ensure that CitySurf adds to the quality of the False Creek user experience.
How would you generate the waves?
There are several emerging artificial wave-generation technologies, and a number of those are in operating production in Europe and the US, and soon in Australia. With our consultant team we’re currently evaluating the most effective wave technology system for CitySurf – and we’re also exploring the creation of the waves with renewable energy. With all that in mind, the goal is to create waves that can be “programmed” – changed in size, amplitude, shape, and direction. This way we can make sure everyone, no matter the skill level or watersport, gets to use the wave pool.
When would CitySurf open?
We have a roster of significant tasks ahead of us to reach opening day. Those include an extensive approvals process, the completion of funding and partnering agreements, public and stakeholder consultation, and detailed technical and infrastructure design. But we’re up for the challenge, because we believe with the right support at the right levels Vancouverites can be riding waves, in clean ocean water in False Creek, by 2019. Just in time for Canadian surfers to train for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
How much would it cost to ride CitySurf waves?
Right now we're exploring those costs as part of the revenue model – and they depend on a number of factors, which will become more concrete as the detailed design progresses. Regardless of final numbers, we will offer a range of pricing that reflects the different needs of a range of wave types, user groups and programs. We are looking at membership options, day and hourly usage rates, and other ways to ensure that as many people as want to ride at CitySurf, can.
Why do you want to put CitySurf downtown?
The model of locating sport and recreation facilities remotely, way outside a city, is unsustainable. We reimagined that experience. Downtown Vancouver is the focus of over 600,000 City residents, with over 100,000 residents within walking distance of False Creek – and it’s adjacent to a primary transit line. Add to that the 9 Million+ tourists who visit Vancouver every year, and it makes great sense. What’s our vision? Well, it's so much more than just surfing in Vancouver. You and your friends catching the Skytrain with your boards to ride CitySurf, people walking from downtown for a dip in the pool after work, and staying for a sunset dinner on the waterfront to watch surfers catching waves.
Would CitySurf be only for expert surfers?
No. Producing a high quality, competition-level board-riding wave is our wave generation goal, but the wave type and size will be programmable – so the wavepool will accommodate a whole range of activities in addition to surfing – paddlesurfing, boogieboarding, surfskiing, bodysurfing, ocean swim training – and different levels of skill in all the watersport pursuits. On a typical day in the wavepool you will see everything from expert surfing sessions, to group waveriding, to family-friendly “surfing for kids" camp right here in Vancouver.
Would CitySurf operate year-round?
Yes. Warmer weather would obviously be the busiest time, but with surfers wearing wetsuits during colder months we would ensure waveriding year-round. With a plan, currently in study, to geothermally warm the wavepool water by several degrees in the coldest months, we plan to make the year-round waveriding experience even more practical.
Who is REVIVER Sport+Entertainment, and is CitySurf real?
REVIVER is a Vancouver company formed in 2010 in response to emerging trends in how we watch, play and enjoy sports. Unique in our field, we draw on the 50+ years of collective international architectural, planning, sport design and project management experience of founders Philip Davis and Colin Weston, to create and deliver sport properties that engage in reimagining sport experience. And CitySurf embodies that philosophy.
As designers and sport innovators we’re passionate about our city and how sport contributes to urban life as our urban population increases – and we want to bring surfing and the waveriding culture to the city of Vancouver. Artificial wave technology has advanced to the stage that’s now an entirely realistic goal. With the right backing, public and stakeholder support, and the political will to see a world-class amenity realized – we can create a watersports facility that becomes a global indicator to local sport innovation.
© 2016 by REVIVER Sport+Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.
Can we see a layout of the CitySurf concept?
Yes. We've included a series of diagrammatic plans here to illustrate the components of the CitySurf design and the False Creek context. These will be updated as we progess with the design.