Sir John Kirwan's pretty much saying "Surf's up fellas and fellettes" because he’s all set to bring a world-class surfing park to our little country.
The rugby legend turned mental health advocate is teaming up with Aventuur and Wavegarden, two of the world's leading surf park developers, to bring a sustainably powered and operated, 2.2-hectare, heated wave pool to Auckland. Kiwi surfers would have year-round access to a lagoon capable of producing between 600 to 1000 waves an hour with more than 30 different settings.
Consent is still needed to get the official go-ahead, but JK reckons the government will pull through as they’ve given the project “fast-track consideration”.
“We’re delighted the Ministry of Environment has determined that we qualify for fast-track consideration, and we look forward to working with the Government,” Kirwan told Stuff.
“We’re confident of full consent before the end of the year, and then we’ll be into it.”
If the Government does say ‘go for it’, the park would go up in the Silverdale area on Auckland’s North Shore. As mentioned before, it would be 2.2 hectares big but powered by an even more massive seven-hectare solar farm. The sustainable power source would allow it to be heated year-round, which would be a global first.
“Nobody else in the world has done this in this way and we’re especially proud of this innovation,” Kirwan said. “It means users of the park will gain the benefit of surfing in not just a safe environment, but also literally a warm and welcoming one.”
“It will also ensure the surf park attracts domestic and international tourists as well.”
Kirwan, a lifelong surfer, has hung ten at a couple of the other surf parks around the world but reckons his New Zealand one would blow the others out of the water.
“I’ve surfed Wavegarden lagoons both in Melbourne and the Swiss Alps. They’re both brilliant but I believe our Auckland Surf Park project will surpass them both to be the best in the world.”
Go on JK you good bugger, would save me trying to sneak my surfboard into the local wave pools (have never been able to pull it off).