London plans ‘surf school’ to compete with Hawaii and Australia with new man-made surf lagoon inside M25

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A CITY near London is fast becoming a world class surfing destination to rival Hawaii and Australia’s Gold Coast.

Swanley – 15 miles from central London and on the M25 – is being considered for a £ 20million man-made surf lagoon with a state-of-the-art wave machine.

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It doesn’t look like it now, but Swanley could be the next surf hotspotCredit: Alamy

Local surfer Joby Ingram-Dodd, 37, who has been surfing for more than 20 years, is raising £ 1.5million to kickstart his projects.

He made the decision after getting tired of making the 550 mile round trip to Newquay, Cornwall, to play his favorite sport.

After years of struggling to find time to get to the coast, the father-of-two decided the most logical option would be to bring the ocean to the city’s 21,000 residents.

A crowdfunding project that aims to raise £ 20million to fund Surf London would pay for cutting-edge wave pool technology that creates the perfect man-made waves for surfing.

    An artist's impression of what the proposed London Surf Park will look like

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An artist’s impression of what the proposed London Surf Park will look like

The machine would create a lagoon similar to Surf Snowdonia in Wales.

Joby said: “I can’t find the time to surf easily, so I decided to solve this problem by building a surf lake myself.”

He continued: “Then on a random Tuesday afternoon I can go surfing for a few hours just like the rest of London.

“Surfing is at the heart, but the idea is to bring other extreme sports inside the M25 because there aren’t many opportunities for Londoners to do these things. “

    Swanley may not have the sand and palm trees of Hawaii (pictured), but a crowdfunding project could give him waves

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Swanley may not have the sand and palm trees of Hawaii (pictured), but a crowdfunding project could give him wavesCredit: Alamy

The proposed London Surf Park will contain scuba diving and snorkeling pools, a rock climbing area and a flowrider – a plastic wave that water is pumped onto for surfing.

Currently, the nearest beaches suitable for surfing are in Cornwall or Wales.

But both are several hours away from London and depend on weather conditions.

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Joby said the park will give schoolchildren and Londoners the chance to try extreme sports, such as surfing, which they might not otherwise have access to.

He also hopes that one day the Olympians will train in London Surf after the introduction of surfing at the 2020 Olympics.

Joby added: “If London wins the Olympics, the complex could potentially be a venue for that and we would like to think we could be used as a training ground for potential future Olympians.

“I think it would be amazing if an Olympic champion surfing came from Swanley or London or wherever, having learned about a wave pool rather than coming from Cornwall or California.”

Surf London hopes to be operational by the end of 2019 as long as the project finalizes the investment and secures a site.


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