International Surfing

Adaptive surfing needs to be in the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympics

Adaptive surfing needs to be in the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympics

13/07/2024, International, Surfing, International Surfing Association, Article # 31861189

Adaptive surfing: a must-see in the Los Angeles 2028 Paralympics | Photo: ISA

The 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games will take place in Los Angeles, California. It's a very special moment for the sport of surfing.

The Golden State is the crib of surf culture.

After crossing the Pacific from the Hawaiian Islands to the West Coast of the USA in the early decades of the 20th century, the religious, spiritual, and noble outdoor pastime became a sport and a lifestyle.

Surfing is also the official state sport of California and the heart of a global multi-billion industry.

September 20 has forever been declared California Surfing Day.

For the third consecutive time in its history, wave riders will compete for Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medals in the high-performance waves of the sun-kissed sand strips.

Surfing is coming home to celebrate its century of stoke in historical waters.

Para surfing: Huntington Beach has been hosting the ISA World Para Surfing Championships | Photo: ISA

Shocking News

However, the news that the Los Angeles 2028 Organising Committee decided not to propose para surfing in the Paralympic Games was a disappointing surprise.

The resolution is particularly disheartening, given that a surfboard fin - designed by Alex Israel - was included in the official LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics logo roster.

If there is a sport that can beautifully highlight the spirit, the values, and the strength of inclusive Olympism is adaptive surfing.

Para surfers are capable of outstanding, inspiring performances across all divisions, with more or less physical and cognitive challenges and limitations.

The annual ISA World Para Surfing Championships, run consistently by the International Surfing Association (ISA), is an example of sportsmanship, bravery, and talent.

The event and its organizers are a role model for other parasports.

"It's been amazing to witness the growth of the sport as it has expanded and strengthened exponentially each year under our leadership," noted Fernando Aguerre, the ISA president.

"Para surfers are amazing athletes, full of hope and resilience in the face of life's challenges."

Record-Breaking Petition

It's not too late to add para surfers to the Los Angeles 2028 lineup.

The decision not to host Paralympic surfing's debut in California was apparently due to the operation's "financial complexity" and the "difficulty in finding a location."

As for the location, Huntington Beach, Surf City USA, has already hosted the ISA World Para Surfing Championship a few times, with no issues reported.

The organizing structure and logistics for this type of event are also simple and inexpensive - just ask ISA how to do it.

Furthermore, the surfing and para surfing audience is incomparably larger compared to the parasports included in the LA 2028 Paralympic program.

An online petition has been set up to lobby for the inclusion of four adaptive surfing disciplines or classes:

  • Standing;
  • Kneeling;
  • Sitting/Wave Ski;
  • Prone Assisted;

The initial goal of 10,000 signatures was quickly achieved and extended to 15,000, which will also be reached.

Para surfing: athletes could make their Olympic debut in California, the home of modern surfing | Photo: ISA

Get Para Surfers On

If adaptive surfers can't get a shot at the Olympics in California, the capital of modern surfing, where else does it make sense?

Kelly Slater, the most successful surfer ever and one of the all-time greatest athletes, supports the inclusion of parasurfing in Los Angeles 2028.

The Floridian, along with five-time ISA para surfing world champion Victoria Feige, has publicly expressed the need for the entire wave-riding community to gather around this historic moment.

Surfer and musician Jack Johnson also joined the list of influential voices backing up surfing's double Olympic participation in the Golden State.

It's now or never, LA2028 - other parasports can certainly wait four years. Let's do the right thing.


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/adaptive-surfing-needs-to-be-in-the-los-angeles-2028-paralympics
How three surfers made açaí popular globally

How three surfers made açaí popular globally

11/07/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31859670

Açaí: the superfood has always been one of surfers' favorite snacks | Photo: Sambazon

Açaí is one of the most popular fruits among the 21st-century generations. Believe it or not, three surfers are responsible for making it a global superfood, juice, and ice cream delight.

Açaí is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. In the Tupi language, it means the "fruit that cries."

It is rich in powerful antioxidants, heart-healthy omega fats, amino acids, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Açaí oil has a fatty acid portion reminiscent of olive oil and is rich in healthy omegas, substances that are believed to be beneficial for skin and hair.

The dark purple pigments of açaí are part of a unique class of phenolic plants called anthocyanins, known for their powerful antioxidant capacity, anti-inflammatory potential and ability to combat free radicals (unstable molecules that can lead to premature aging and degenerative diseases).

The fruit, also known in English as acai, has ​​10 to 30 times more antioxidants than red wine.

Açaí: a superfood with owerful antioxidants, heart-healthy omega fats, amino acids, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals | Photo: Shutterstock

The Surf-Açaí Connection

It was based on these assumptions that one day, two recreational surfers decided to launch an açaí venture that would change the world.

The story begins when two young American amateur surfers, Ryan Black and Edmund "Skanda" Nichols, go on a trip to Brazil to enjoy the turn of the Millennium.

During their stay in the country, they were introduced to açaí by surfers from the resort region of Porto de Galinhas on the coast of Pernambuco.

They were fascinated by that purple apple, chilled and served in bowls, which had incredible nutritional value and was very popular among the sportspeople.

Before the end of their vacation, the young people saw a great opportunity that would benefit local communities and preserve the Amazon Rainforest and began to put together a plan to share açaí with Americans.

Together with Ryan's brother, Jeremy Black, who was an American football player and surfer, they founded Sambazon on April 20, 2000, in San Clemente, California.

The company is an abbreviation for "Saving and Managing the Brazilian Amazon." 

Their goal was to introduce the small fruit of the Amazon palm tree in North America and be the first to register açaí with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and legally export it.

In April 2001, after a few visits to Pará, the main producer of açaí in Brazil, Ryan shipped a 20-ton container of frozen pulp to California.

It would be the first of many.

Sambazon: Ryan Black, Ed Nichols, and Jeremy Black (left to right): the original founders of Sambazon | Photo: Sambazon

The American Break-Through

The young Californians, who grew up idolizing surfers like Kelly Slater and Rob Machado, started sharing the açaí pulp in a bowl with friends.

If they liked it, they were asked to promote it using Sambazon t-shirts, putting stickers on their cars, and telling everyone it was the best thing in the world.

While Travis Baumgardner, a co-founder of Sambazon, was busy organizing cooperatives, certificates, and sustainable production in Brazil, Ryan Edmund and Jeremy distributed the açaí pulp/puree in bars and gyms in the United States.

However, the Amazon fruit did not pick up quickly in the American market.

Due to its exotic appearance, dark color, and earthy flavor, few distributors were interested in purchasing the fruit the young surfers brought from Brazil.

Sambazon invested in marketing and getting famous chefs from Los Angeles to create new açaí-based recipes, but the exotic fruit ended up sidelined to juice and smoothie bars.

Sambazon's destiny changed dramatically in 2002 when the company received a call from renowned dermatologist Nicholas Perricone.

The author of best-sellers on anti-aging treatments was looking for more information about açaí to include in his new book.

"The Perricone Promise: Look Younger Live Longer in Three Easy Steps" featured a list of foods rich in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins.

At the top of these ingredients was açaí.

The publication was a best seller, and from then on, açaí rose to stardom, not just among young athletes but also celebrities and healthy lifestyle enthusiasts.

Suddenly, the creamy ice cream from Pará began to outsell protein shakes and became a huge hit.

Sambazon even set up a tent at Sundance, the world's most important independent film festival, to capitalize on the trend and promote the tropical fruit.

From Superfood to Surfer Bowls

Americans liked açaí because it was tasty and valued that it was an organic, certified product from the Amazon.

Furthermore, the product was advertised as slimming and rejuvenating food, thanks to its powerful antioxidants, omega fats, amino acids, fiber, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Soon, the four entrepreneurs were selling açaí like popcorn and launching subproducts containing and mixing it with other tropical fruits.

From then on, açaí went from being a natural product to competing for a place in the competitive ready-to-drink beverage segment.

There were fit girls drinking açaí on the beautiful beaches of San Diego, naturalists from San Francisco back and forth with bowls of açaí in their hands, and Berkeley students smearing themselves with Pará's pulp.

The American company was investing millions of dollars in marketing and new açaí-processing facilities in Brazil, where the fruit is transformed into pulp up to 36 hours after harvest, the maximum period that the superfruit can withstand before rotting.

Sambazon ensured that the production process did not involve the use of pesticides, monoculture, or labor exploitation.

"These efforts have created sustainable employment for thousands of small farmers and continue to help protect the biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest, making the forest more valuable standing than deforested," Jeremy Black once stated.

The growth was enormous, with influential TV presenter Oprah Winfrey also helping the cause.

To put things in perspective, sales increased 70 percent between 2007 and 2008, from $62 million to $106 million.

Rob Machado: the free surfer is also a Sambassador | Photo: Sambazon

Increasing Its Sustainability

In the following years, Sambazon launched several drinks containing natural ingredients such as açaí, acerola, yerba mate, and guaraná, opened cafés in California, and introduced its products overseas.

"We review our sales data just like any other company, analyzing our costs against our profits and trying to deliver the best products at the lowest prices to our customers," Black revealed in 2009.

Sambazon's link to surfing reached new heights when the California company sponsored the 2021 WSL Finals at Lower Trestles and the World Junior Championships in subsequent years.

Bethany Hamilton, Coco Ho, Rob Machado, Kassia Meador, and Bob Burnquist were ambassadors and team riders for the American brand.

Açaí is now a global product with multiple uses.

In 2022, the State of Pará produced 17,985,000 pounds (8,158 tonnes) of açaí berries, that is, 90 percent of Brazil's total production of the superfood.

Nevertheless, only between 5 and 15 percent of the Brazilian Amazon berries end up as food or beverage.

The remainder ends up in landfills and waterways, so new ways to transform the residue into bioplastics, wooden products, fertilizers, and ingredients for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries are now being explored.


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/how-three-surfers-made-acai-popular-globally
How three surfers made açaí popular globally

How three surfers made açaí popular globally

11/07/2024, International, Surfing, International Surfing Association, Article # 31859671

Açaí: the superfood has always been one of surfers' favorite snacks | Photo: Sambazon

Açaí is one of the most popular fruits among the 21st-century generations. Believe it or not, three surfers are responsible for making it a global superfood, juice, and ice cream delight.

Açaí is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. In the Tupi language, it means the "fruit that cries."

It is rich in powerful antioxidants, heart-healthy omega fats, amino acids, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Açaí oil has a fatty acid portion reminiscent of olive oil and is rich in healthy omegas, substances that are believed to be beneficial for skin and hair.

The dark purple pigments of açaí are part of a unique class of phenolic plants called anthocyanins, known for their powerful antioxidant capacity, anti-inflammatory potential and ability to combat free radicals (unstable molecules that can lead to premature aging and degenerative diseases).

The fruit, also known in English as acai, has ​​10 to 30 times more antioxidants than red wine.

Açaí: a superfood with owerful antioxidants, heart-healthy omega fats, amino acids, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals | Photo: Shutterstock

The Surf-Açaí Connection

It was based on these assumptions that one day, two recreational surfers decided to launch an açaí venture that would change the world.

The story begins when two young American amateur surfers, Ryan Black and Edmund "Skanda" Nichols, go on a trip to Brazil to enjoy the turn of the Millennium.

During their stay in the country, they were introduced to açaí by surfers from the resort region of Porto de Galinhas on the coast of Pernambuco.

They were fascinated by that purple apple, chilled and served in bowls, which had incredible nutritional value and was very popular among the sportspeople.

Before the end of their vacation, the young people saw a great opportunity that would benefit local communities and preserve the Amazon Rainforest and began to put together a plan to share açaí with Americans.

Together with Ryan's brother, Jeremy Black, who was an American football player and surfer, they founded Sambazon on April 20, 2000, in San Clemente, California.

The company is an abbreviation for "Saving and Managing the Brazilian Amazon." 

Their goal was to introduce the small fruit of the Amazon palm tree in North America and be the first to register açaí with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and legally export it.

In April 2001, after a few visits to Pará, the main producer of açaí in Brazil, Ryan shipped a 20-ton container of frozen pulp to California.

It would be the first of many.

Sambazon: Ryan Black, Ed Nichols, and Jeremy Black (left to right): the original founders of Sambazon | Photo: Sambazon

The American Break-Through

The young Californians, who grew up idolizing surfers like Kelly Slater and Rob Machado, started sharing the açaí pulp in a bowl with friends.

If they liked it, they were asked to promote it using Sambazon t-shirts, putting stickers on their cars, and telling everyone it was the best thing in the world.

While Travis Baumgardner, a co-founder of Sambazon, was busy organizing cooperatives, certificates, and sustainable production in Brazil, Ryan Edmund and Jeremy distributed the açaí pulp/puree in bars and gyms in the United States.

However, the Amazon fruit did not pick up quickly in the American market.

Due to its exotic appearance, dark color, and earthy flavor, few distributors were interested in purchasing the fruit the young surfers brought from Brazil.

Sambazon invested in marketing and getting famous chefs from Los Angeles to create new açaí-based recipes, but the exotic fruit ended up sidelined to juice and smoothie bars.

Sambazon's destiny changed dramatically in 2002 when the company received a call from renowned dermatologist Nicholas Perricone.

The author of best-sellers on anti-aging treatments was looking for more information about açaí to include in his new book.

"The Perricone Promise: Look Younger Live Longer in Three Easy Steps" featured a list of foods rich in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins.

At the top of these ingredients was açaí.

The publication was a best seller, and from then on, açaí rose to stardom, not just among young athletes but also celebrities and healthy lifestyle enthusiasts.

Suddenly, the creamy ice cream from Pará began to outsell protein shakes and became a huge hit.

Sambazon even set up a tent at Sundance, the world's most important independent film festival, to capitalize on the trend and promote the tropical fruit.

From Superfood to Surfer Bowls

Americans liked açaí because it was tasty and valued that it was an organic, certified product from the Amazon.

Furthermore, the product was advertised as slimming and rejuvenating food, thanks to its powerful antioxidants, omega fats, amino acids, fiber, proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

Soon, the four entrepreneurs were selling açaí like popcorn and launching subproducts containing and mixing it with other tropical fruits.

From then on, açaí went from being a natural product to competing for a place in the competitive ready-to-drink beverage segment.

There were fit girls drinking açaí on the beautiful beaches of San Diego, naturalists from San Francisco back and forth with bowls of açaí in their hands, and Berkeley students smearing themselves with Pará's pulp.

The American company was investing millions of dollars in marketing and new açaí-processing facilities in Brazil, where the fruit is transformed into pulp up to 36 hours after harvest, the maximum period that the superfruit can withstand before rotting.

Sambazon ensured that the production process did not involve the use of pesticides, monoculture, or labor exploitation.

"These efforts have created sustainable employment for thousands of small farmers and continue to help protect the biodiversity of the Amazon Rainforest, making the forest more valuable standing than deforested," Jeremy Black once stated.

The growth was enormous, with influential TV presenter Oprah Winfrey also helping the cause.

To put things in perspective, sales increased 70 percent between 2007 and 2008, from $62 million to $106 million.

Rob Machado: the free surfer is also a Sambassador | Photo: Sambazon

Increasing Its Sustainability

In the following years, Sambazon launched several drinks containing natural ingredients such as açaí, acerola, yerba mate, and guaraná, opened cafés in California, and introduced its products overseas.

"We review our sales data just like any other company, analyzing our costs against our profits and trying to deliver the best products at the lowest prices to our customers," Black revealed in 2009.

Sambazon's link to surfing reached new heights when the California company sponsored the 2021 WSL Finals at Lower Trestles and the World Junior Championships in subsequent years.

Bethany Hamilton, Coco Ho, Rob Machado, Kassia Meador, and Bob Burnquist were ambassadors and team riders for the American brand.

Açaí is now a global product with multiple uses.

In 2022, the State of Pará produced 17,985,000 pounds (8,158 tonnes) of açaí berries, that is, 90 percent of Brazil's total production of the superfood.

Nevertheless, only between 5 and 15 percent of the Brazilian Amazon berries end up as food or beverage.

The remainder ends up in landfills and waterways, so new ways to transform the residue into bioplastics, wooden products, fertilizers, and ingredients for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries are now being explored.


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/how-three-surfers-made-acai-popular-globally
The ultimate guide to ferry and tanker surfing

The ultimate guide to ferry and tanker surfing

11/07/2024, International, Surfing, International Surfing Association, Article # 31858335

Tanker surfing: wakes generated by cargo ships or ferries produce endless-riding waves | Photo: Ira Mowen

Long are the days when surfing was the sport of riding ocean waves. Today, it's more than that - it's about choosing one of the many ways to ride a wave.

Whether in the ocean, river, or inland, there are multiple options to get your surfboard moving on novelty waves.

A new type of surfing emerged in the 1960s for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers. It's called ferry or tanker surfing.

It might sound like a post-industrial or post-apocalyptical activity, but it's more real and common than you might think.

In the heart of busy harbors and along the endless waterways where ferries and tankers weave their daily routes, there are exciting opportunities for wave-riding addicts.

When waves generated by the massive vessels that dominate these urban landscapes form, there's a growing number of surfers tracking around their route.

Ferry and tanker surfing take advantage of the substantial wakes created by these vessels, transforming urban waterways into unexpected surfing hotspots.

The alternative surfing niche began as a curiosity, a spontaneous decision by surfers who found themselves near these colossal ships and wondered, "What if?"

Experimental rides quickly turned into a passionate pursuit, with surfers from all over the world seeking out the schedules and routes of ferries and tankers and timing them with tides to catch their artificially created waves.

Tanker surfing: the pioneers rode these novelty waves for the first time in the 1960s in Galveston, Texas | Photo: Tanker Surf Charters

The History of Tanker Surfing

Tanker surfing can be traced back to the late 1960s in Texas, when a few intrepid surfers, who also fished in the bay waters, began riding the waves generated by passing ships.

Unlike today's open-water practices, these early surfers took to the shorelines of Galveston Bay's Redfish Island and Atkinson Island.

Some even caught waves along the western shores of the bay and near the Texas City Dike.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the ships were smaller and less frequent, producing modest waves that, while surfable, also contributed to shoreline erosion.

By the late 1970s, this erosion had destroyed Redfish Island and other key surfing spots, causing both interest and waves to wane as the practice had not yet migrated to open waters.

The revival of tanker surfing came with significant dredging operations, which allowed for deeper channels accommodating larger ships.

These operations created new shoals and spoil banks, offering new opportunities for surfing.

Today, much larger container and tanker ships pass through deeper and wider channels, generating substantial waves that break over these submerged shoals and newly formed islands.

The resurgence of tanker surfing gained public attention in 2001 when the story was featured on Surfline.

This coverage stemmed from a fax received by surfer James Fulbright, who, along with friends John Benson and Peter Davis, had been exploring ship waves in the Houston Ship Channel for years.

The fax, sent by John Paul Beegly, producer of what was initially dubbed "The Endless Summer III" and later renamed "Step Into Liquid," sparked broader interest.

Despite an initial missed opportunity to feature tanker surfing in the film "Thicker Than Water" due to timing constraints, the buzz continued.

The release of "Step Into Liquid" in 2003, showcasing this unique surfing niche, propelled Fulbright, Benson, and Davis into the spotlight.

They became the focus of numerous media features, including appearances on CBS Evening News, ABC News, and Good Morning America, where Fulbright was famously shown surfing with dolphins.

Tanker surfing: these waves are generated by vessels' water displacement | Photo: Creative Commons

The Mechanics of the Wake

The waves created by ferries and tankers directly result from their size and speed.

As these massive vessels cut through the water, they displace a significant amount of it, creating a rolling wake that, under the right conditions, can rival some of the natural waves found on beaches.

These waves are typically more uniform and predictable, allowing surfers to anticipate and position themselves perfectly to catch the ride.

Ferry wakes tend to be smaller but more frequent, providing continuous practice and improvement opportunities.

Tanker wakes, on the other hand, can be much larger and more powerful, offering a more challenging and thrilling experience.

Longboards and funboards are usually the best equipment, as these waves tend to be fatter and mellower than, for instance, beach break waves.

Nevertheless, you might be able to ride a shortboard in some cases.

Ferry and tanker surfing is not without its challenges and dangers.

The proximity to large, moving vessels requires a heightened awareness and respect for the power of these ships.

Safety is paramount, with surfers needing to stay vigilant and maintain a safe distance to avoid the dangers of collision or getting caught in a ship's path.

Also, having a jet ski or speedboat around for support is recommended in case of an emergency.

The Best Ship-Generated Wave Spots

Picture surfers carving through waves with skyscrapers looming in the background or gliding past piers bustling with activity.

It's a juxtaposition that captures the spirit of modern adventure - finding nature's rhythms within the man-made world.

Cities like New York, San Francisco, and Sydney, with their extensive waterways and heavy ship traffic, have become prime locations for this burgeoning sport.

Enthusiasts share tips on the best spots and times to catch the ideal wake, fostering a community of urban surfers who are redefining what it means to ride a wave.

USA

The United States has one of the most active ferry and tanker surfing scenes on the planet.

The East Coast is well known for its quality vessel-generated waves.

The Nantucket Express ferry in Massachusetts is a great way to start.

The traditional, fast, and high-speed boats sail on regular schedules, allowing surfers to plan their sessions.

In Atlantic City and Cape May, New Jersey, there are many ferries and cargo ships making their way in and out of Delaware Bay.

It's actually one of the most ridden regions for these types of waves.

In the Pamlico Sound and Savannah area, in North Carolina and South Carolina, there are also many large vessels and shipping activity generating massive, endless riding wakes.

In Galveston, Texas, there's even a business, Tanker Surf Charters, taking surfers on expeditions to the best spots.

On the West Coast, Puget Sound, Seattle, there's a community chasing tug and freighter waves in Ballard and Salmon Bay.

In the San Francisco Bay area, look for the ferry-generated wakes near Mare Island and Larkspur.

Gasoline: the wave generated by the catamaran that connects Barreiro and Lisbon in Portugal | Photo: Associação Gasoline

Europe

The Old Continent also has a few popular spots for riding these novelty waves.

In Portugal, "Gasoline" is a famous surf spot at Tejo River's Praia do Bico Mexilhoeiro, with artificial waves generated by the ferry that connects Barreiro and Lisbon.

In Dublin, the ferry connecting Ireland to the United Kingdom also generates waves that can be ridden at Dollymount Beach, near Bulls Island, near the long rock jetty that extends into Dublin Bay.

In Warnemünde, Germany, there was a ferry coming from Gedser in Denmark and entering the Baltic Sea channel toward Rostock. It produced a wave that was ridden for a while and documented on the movie "Surf Berlin."

Australia

There is also at least one ferry wave surfing spot Downunder.

In Cleveland, Queensland, local surfers have been shooting these shark-infested waves at least since 2003, when pro surfer Bede Durbidge unveiled it to the world while making the connection to North Stradbroke Island.


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/the-ultimate-guide-to-ferry-and-tanker-surfing
The ultimate guide to ferry and tanker surfing

The ultimate guide to ferry and tanker surfing

11/07/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31858334

Tanker surfing: wakes generated by cargo ships or ferries produce endless-riding waves | Photo: Ira Mowen

Long are the days when surfing was the sport of riding ocean waves. Today, it's more than that - it's about choosing one of the many ways to ride a wave.

Whether in the ocean, river, or inland, there are multiple options to get your surfboard moving on novelty waves.

A new type of surfing emerged in the 1960s for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers. It's called ferry or tanker surfing.

It might sound like a post-industrial or post-apocalyptical activity, but it's more real and common than you might think.

In the heart of busy harbors and along the endless waterways where ferries and tankers weave their daily routes, there are exciting opportunities for wave-riding addicts.

When waves generated by the massive vessels that dominate these urban landscapes form, there's a growing number of surfers tracking around their route.

Ferry and tanker surfing take advantage of the substantial wakes created by these vessels, transforming urban waterways into unexpected surfing hotspots.

The alternative surfing niche began as a curiosity, a spontaneous decision by surfers who found themselves near these colossal ships and wondered, "What if?"

Experimental rides quickly turned into a passionate pursuit, with surfers from all over the world seeking out the schedules and routes of ferries and tankers and timing them with tides to catch their artificially created waves.

Tanker surfing: the pioneers rode these novelty waves for the first time in the 1960s in Galveston, Texas | Photo: Tanker Surf Charters

The History of Tanker Surfing

Tanker surfing can be traced back to the late 1960s in Texas, when a few intrepid surfers, who also fished in the bay waters, began riding the waves generated by passing ships.

Unlike today's open-water practices, these early surfers took to the shorelines of Galveston Bay's Redfish Island and Atkinson Island.

Some even caught waves along the western shores of the bay and near the Texas City Dike.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the ships were smaller and less frequent, producing modest waves that, while surfable, also contributed to shoreline erosion.

By the late 1970s, this erosion had destroyed Redfish Island and other key surfing spots, causing both interest and waves to wane as the practice had not yet migrated to open waters.

The revival of tanker surfing came with significant dredging operations, which allowed for deeper channels accommodating larger ships.

These operations created new shoals and spoil banks, offering new opportunities for surfing.

Today, much larger container and tanker ships pass through deeper and wider channels, generating substantial waves that break over these submerged shoals and newly formed islands.

The resurgence of tanker surfing gained public attention in 2001 when the story was featured on Surfline.

This coverage stemmed from a fax received by surfer James Fulbright, who, along with friends John Benson and Peter Davis, had been exploring ship waves in the Houston Ship Channel for years.

The fax, sent by John Paul Beegly, producer of what was initially dubbed "The Endless Summer III" and later renamed "Step Into Liquid," sparked broader interest.

Despite an initial missed opportunity to feature tanker surfing in the film "Thicker Than Water" due to timing constraints, the buzz continued.

The release of "Step Into Liquid" in 2003, showcasing this unique surfing niche, propelled Fulbright, Benson, and Davis into the spotlight.

They became the focus of numerous media features, including appearances on CBS Evening News, ABC News, and Good Morning America, where Fulbright was famously shown surfing with dolphins.

Tanker surfing: these waves are generated by vessels' water displacement | Photo: Creative Commons

The Mechanics of the Wake

The waves created by ferries and tankers directly result from their size and speed.

As these massive vessels cut through the water, they displace a significant amount of it, creating a rolling wake that, under the right conditions, can rival some of the natural waves found on beaches.

These waves are typically more uniform and predictable, allowing surfers to anticipate and position themselves perfectly to catch the ride.

Ferry wakes tend to be smaller but more frequent, providing continuous practice and improvement opportunities.

Tanker wakes, on the other hand, can be much larger and more powerful, offering a more challenging and thrilling experience.

Longboards and funboards are usually the best equipment, as these waves tend to be fatter and mellower than, for instance, beach break waves.

Nevertheless, you might be able to ride a shortboard in some cases.

Ferry and tanker surfing is not without its challenges and dangers.

The proximity to large, moving vessels requires a heightened awareness and respect for the power of these ships.

Safety is paramount, with surfers needing to stay vigilant and maintain a safe distance to avoid the dangers of collision or getting caught in a ship's path.

Also, having a jet ski or speedboat around for support is recommended in case of an emergency.

The Best Ship-Generated Wave Spots

Picture surfers carving through waves with skyscrapers looming in the background or gliding past piers bustling with activity.

It's a juxtaposition that captures the spirit of modern adventure - finding nature's rhythms within the man-made world.

Cities like New York, San Francisco, and Sydney, with their extensive waterways and heavy ship traffic, have become prime locations for this burgeoning sport.

Enthusiasts share tips on the best spots and times to catch the ideal wake, fostering a community of urban surfers who are redefining what it means to ride a wave.

USA

The United States has one of the most active ferry and tanker surfing scenes on the planet.

The East Coast is well known for its quality vessel-generated waves.

The Nantucket Express ferry in Massachusetts is a great way to start.

The traditional, fast, and high-speed boats sail on regular schedules, allowing surfers to plan their sessions.

In Atlantic City and Cape May, New Jersey, there are many ferries and cargo ships making their way in and out of Delaware Bay.

It's actually one of the most ridden regions for these types of waves.

In the Pamlico Sound and Savannah area, in North Carolina and South Carolina, there are also many large vessels and shipping activity generating massive, endless riding wakes.

In Galveston, Texas, there's even a business, Tanker Surf Charters, taking surfers on expeditions to the best spots.

On the West Coast, Puget Sound, Seattle, there's a community chasing tug and freighter waves in Ballard and Salmon Bay.

In the San Francisco Bay area, look for the ferry-generated wakes near Mare Island and Larkspur.

Gasoline: the wave generated by the catamaran that connects Barreiro and Lisbon in Portugal | Photo: Associação Gasoline

Europe

The Old Continent also has a few popular spots for riding these novelty waves.

In Portugal, "Gasoline" is a famous surf spot at Tejo River's Praia do Bico Mexilhoeiro, with artificial waves generated by the ferry that connects Barreiro and Lisbon.

In Dublin, the ferry connecting Ireland to the United Kingdom also generates waves that can be ridden at Dollymount Beach, near Bulls Island, near the long rock jetty that extends into Dublin Bay.

In Warnemünde, Germany, there was a ferry coming from Gedser in Denmark and entering the Baltic Sea channel toward Rostock. It produced a wave that was ridden for a while and documented on the movie "Surf Berlin."

Australia

There is also at least one ferry wave surfing spot Downunder.

In Cleveland, Queensland, local surfers have been shooting these shark-infested waves at least since 2003, when pro surfer Bede Durbidge unveiled it to the world while making the connection to North Stradbroke Island.


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/the-ultimate-guide-to-ferry-and-tanker-surfing
Surfing through the eyes of Ivanka Trump and Scarlett Johansson

Surfing through the eyes of Ivanka Trump and Scarlett Johansson

09/07/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31856531

Surfing: some people have different thoughts on what the sport really is | Photo: WSL

It's quite a paradox, but summer in the Northern Hemisphere really is surfing's silly season.

For non-surfers and the mainstream audience, June, July, and August are the months more commonly associated with surfboards and surf equipment moving up and down the beach and back and forth on the road.

And in a way, they're right.

Surfers tend to have more time available to catch some ankle-to-chest-high waves than in any other period of the year.

Over 95 percent of the world's surfing tribe is a beginner or intermediate wave rider, so small, gentle waves are just fine.

Hence the paradox. There are more surfers than ever out there, and simultaneously, nearly nothing is happening in the surfing world.

But let's be honest.

The surf industry and competitive surfing are experiencing some of their hardest moments in history as they fail to listen to fans and adapt accordingly.

Despite the fancy marketing stunts, innovation levels are at their lowest, and not even the wave pool furor can compensate for the lack of creativity and investment in the industry as a whole.

Not even the fact that 2024 is an Olympic year with surfers battling it out at one of the most challenging waves on the planet - Teahupoo - seems to stimulate things a bit.

Gladly, there are some popular celebrities willing to entertain us through this rough period of surfing's life.

"The Hardest Part of Surfing? Paddling Out"

Let's start with Ivanka Trump, former senior advisor to the President of the United States and potential future presidential election candidate.

In one of those in-depth, one-chat-covers-it-all interviews with Russian-American computer scientist and podcaster Lex Fridman, Ivanka discusses her views on nearly everything that matters in life.

For instance, surfing. Have you fastened the cliché seatbelt? Ready, set, take off.

"You feel so much more connected knowing how minuscule you are in the broader sense, and I feel that way when I'm on the ocean on a surfboard," expressed Ivanka Trump.

"It's really humbling to be so small amidst that vast sea, and it feels really beautiful, with no noise, no chatter, and no distractions - just being in the moment."

"And you can't fight it, right? You just have to sort of be in it."

"It feels like a lot of water sports are manipulating the environment, and there's something that can be a little violent about it."

"Like, look at windsurfing."

"Whereas with surfing, you're like in harmony with it, so you're not fighting it, you're flowing with it, and you still have like the agency of choosing which waves you're going to surf, and you sit there, and you read the ocean, and you learn to understand it, but you can't control it."

"I actually had the unique experience of one of my first time surfing."

"I only learned a couple of years ago, so I'm not good. I just love it. I love everything about it. I love the physicality; I love being in the ocean, and I love everything about it."

"The hardest thing with surfing is paddling out because when you're like committing, you catch a wave, obviously sometimes you flip over your board, and that doesn't feel great, but when you're in sort of the line of impact, and you've maybe surfed a good wave in and now you're going out for another set, and you get sort of stuck in that impact line, there's like nothing you can do."

"You just sort of sit there, and you try to dive underneath it, and it will pound you and pound you."

"I've been stuck there while, you know, four, five, six waves just like a crash on top of your head, and the worst thing you can do is get reactive and scared and try and fight against it."

"You kind of just have to flow with it until inevitably there's a break and then paddle like hell back out to the line or the beach - that's to me that's the hardest part, the paddling out."

"Having a Pina Colada On Air Commenting Surf? It's Not Technically Work"

Found Ivanka Trump's surfing analysis fun(ny) and entertaining?

Well, if not, we've got more.

This time, a Hollywood star makes fun of her comedian partner's Olympic surfing participation as a commentator for Paris 2024.

Scarlett Johansson's husband, Colin Jost, will provide live insights for NBC's Olympic coverage at Teahupoo, Tahiti.

While promoting her latest movie, "Fly Me to the Moon," on the TV channel's "Today" show, Johansson commented on Jost's task ahead.

"How did he get this gig? Is this a job?" the actress joked.

"When they announced the Paris Olympics, he immediately found out that they were doing the surf competition in Tahiti, which is so cool."

"He loves to surf. We have a place in Montauk, and he's always out there surfing."

"And somehow the dream became a reality, and now he's going to be in Tahiti for two weeks, and I'm like, 'Poor you.'"

"He's like, 'Poor me, I'm going to be all over the place,' and I'm like, 'Are you?'"

"I think if you can have a pina colada on air while you're working - that's not technically work."

Scarlett Johansson may be right. If pro surfers are paid to have fun, how could surf commentary be an occupation?

What are we doing here? We might all close up shop for good, don't you think?


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/surfing-through-the-eyes-of-ivanka-trump-and-scarlett-johansson
Surfing through the eyes of Ivanka Trump and Scarlett Johansson

Surfing through the eyes of Ivanka Trump and Scarlett Johansson

09/07/2024, International, Surfing, International Surfing Association, Article # 31856532

Surfing: some people have different thoughts on what the sport really is | Photo: WSL

It's quite a paradox, but summer in the Northern Hemisphere really is surfing's silly season.

For non-surfers and the mainstream audience, June, July, and August are the months more commonly associated with surfboards and surf equipment moving up and down the beach and back and forth on the road.

And in a way, they're right.

Surfers tend to have more time available to catch some ankle-to-chest-high waves than in any other period of the year.

Over 95 percent of the world's surfing tribe is a beginner or intermediate wave rider, so small, gentle waves are just fine.

Hence the paradox. There are more surfers than ever out there, and simultaneously, nearly nothing is happening in the surfing world.

But let's be honest.

The surf industry and competitive surfing are experiencing some of their hardest moments in history as they fail to listen to fans and adapt accordingly.

Despite the fancy marketing stunts, innovation levels are at their lowest, and not even the wave pool furor can compensate for the lack of creativity and investment in the industry as a whole.

Not even the fact that 2024 is an Olympic year with surfers battling it out at one of the most challenging waves on the planet - Teahupoo - seems to stimulate things a bit.

Gladly, there are some popular celebrities willing to entertain us through this rough period of surfing's life.

"The Hardest Part of Surfing? Paddling Out"

Let's start with Ivanka Trump, former senior advisor to the President of the United States and potential future presidential election candidate.

In one of those in-depth, one-chat-covers-it-all interviews with Russian-American computer scientist and podcaster Lex Fridman, Ivanka discusses her views on nearly everything that matters in life.

For instance, surfing. Have you fastened the cliché seatbelt? Ready, set, take off.

"You feel so much more connected knowing how minuscule you are in the broader sense, and I feel that way when I'm on the ocean on a surfboard," expressed Ivanka Trump.

"It's really humbling to be so small amidst that vast sea, and it feels really beautiful, with no noise, no chatter, and no distractions - just being in the moment."

"And you can't fight it, right? You just have to sort of be in it."

"It feels like a lot of water sports are manipulating the environment, and there's something that can be a little violent about it."

"Like, look at windsurfing."

"Whereas with surfing, you're like in harmony with it, so you're not fighting it, you're flowing with it, and you still have like the agency of choosing which waves you're going to surf, and you sit there, and you read the ocean, and you learn to understand it, but you can't control it."

"I actually had the unique experience of one of my first time surfing."

"I only learned a couple of years ago, so I'm not good. I just love it. I love everything about it. I love the physicality; I love being in the ocean, and I love everything about it."

"The hardest thing with surfing is paddling out because when you're like committing, you catch a wave, obviously sometimes you flip over your board, and that doesn't feel great, but when you're in sort of the line of impact, and you've maybe surfed a good wave in and now you're going out for another set, and you get sort of stuck in that impact line, there's like nothing you can do."

"You just sort of sit there, and you try to dive underneath it, and it will pound you and pound you."

"I've been stuck there while, you know, four, five, six waves just like a crash on top of your head, and the worst thing you can do is get reactive and scared and try and fight against it."

"You kind of just have to flow with it until inevitably there's a break and then paddle like hell back out to the line or the beach - that's to me that's the hardest part, the paddling out."

"Having a Pina Colada On Air Commenting Surf? It's Not Technically Work"

Found Ivanka Trump's surfing analysis fun(ny) and entertaining?

Well, if not, we've got more.

This time, a Hollywood star makes fun of her comedian partner's Olympic surfing participation as a commentator for Paris 2024.

Scarlett Johansson's husband, Colin Jost, will provide live insights for NBC's Olympic coverage at Teahupoo, Tahiti.

While promoting her latest movie, "Fly Me to the Moon," on the TV channel's "Today" show, Johansson commented on Jost's task ahead.

"How did he get this gig? Is this a job?" the actress joked.

"When they announced the Paris Olympics, he immediately found out that they were doing the surf competition in Tahiti, which is so cool."

"He loves to surf. We have a place in Montauk, and he's always out there surfing."

"And somehow the dream became a reality, and now he's going to be in Tahiti for two weeks, and I'm like, 'Poor you.'"

"He's like, 'Poor me, I'm going to be all over the place,' and I'm like, 'Are you?'"

"I think if you can have a pina colada on air while you're working - that's not technically work."

Scarlett Johansson may be right. If pro surfers are paid to have fun, how could surf commentary be an occupation?

What are we doing here? We might all close up shop for good, don't you think?


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/surfing-through-the-eyes-of-ivanka-trump-and-scarlett-johansson
The forgotten tale of Oceana Park, America's wave pool pioneer

The forgotten tale of Oceana Park, America's wave pool pioneer

05/07/2024, International, Surfing, World Surf League, Article # 31850627

Oceana Park, Newbury, Ohio: the first wave pool in America was not designed for surfing

History is a complex puzzle of dates and facts, and sometimes, a small clue or hint can change our solidified perspective of the past.

On October 4, 2023, I penned an article titled "Big Surf: the story of America's first modern wave pool."

It's about the magical waterpark with artificially generated waves that opened on October 24, 1969, in Tempe, Arizona.

Big Surf was a multifaceted surf center developed by Phil Dexter.

It was open for business for 51 years and even welcomed Pope John Paul II. Not for a surf, but surely for a blessing.

Anyway, two months after my article saw the light of day, I received an intriguing email from a US Air Force logistics operations manager.

In his kind message, he told me that the claim that Big Surf was North America's first modern wave pool could not be 100 percent correct.

Apparently, Oceana Park was a facility that opened on Memorial Day, May 29, 1961, in Newbury, Ohio - eight years before the Arizona surf lagoon.

After a quick inspection, I found no evidence that the Ohio was open for surfing, surfboards, or surfers.

In my reply to the gentleman who kindly sent his email, I wrote:

"Wave pools are not new. The first facilities actually opened in the 19th century in Germany."

"In 1939, London's Wembley, England, was equipped with hydraulic technology that created ripples similar to the ocean's flowing motion."

"The thing is that on SurferToday, we're talking about wave pools for surfing, and while we know about previous concepts and patterns, Big Surf is probably the first unit specifically channeled at creating rideable waves."

"There are many types of wave pools and dozens of old and new patents granted."

"Was Oceana Park creating surfing waves or just waves for swimmers mimicking the ocean?"

"Have you got any pictures of it? Where can we know more about it? I cannot find any information about its operating period."

The US Air Force logistics operations manager got back to me.

"Unfortunately, there isn't much readily accessible information about Oceana."

"I had childhood friends that lived in the house right in front of Oceana, in the mid to late 1980s, and we used the [abandoned[ park as a Call Of Duty-style BB gun area."

"I know quite a few people that went to Oceana when it was open."

"Oceana was generating 3.5-4-foot waves. Whether they were suitable for surfing and whether it allowed surfing, I couldn't say."

"Not many people think of Northeast Ohio in regard to surfing."

"So I would believe that the intent of the wave pool was, as stated in Matrai's patent, to simulate the motion of the waves in the ocean without swimming in Lake Erie, which was highly polluted at that period in time."

"I'm biased towards Oceana's claim as the first wave pool in the US."

Fair enough, sir, even though, as a surf-related website, we at SurferToday were obviously referring to a pool with artificial waves that surfers can ride.

US Patent 3005207: the wave pool technology submitted by Miklos Matrai and protected on October 24, 1961

A One-of-a-Kind Water Park

But the story about Ohio's own surf machine stayed in the back of my mind for a while. The tale was too good to fade into oblivion.

And so I got to work. Here's everything I could gather about Ocean Park.

Oceana Park was a water world that opened on May 29, 1961, on Music Road/Street in Newbury, Ohio, just 25 miles southeast of Lake Eerie, one of the five surfable Great Lakes.

It was developed and built by three Hungarian refugee immigrants in record time.

Miklos Matrai, the inventor of the patent used at Oceana Park, and Edward Tibor Bory were two of the three partners involved in the project.

The complex had four water basins: an Olympic-sized pool, a kids' pool, a circular diving pool, and a wave pool, which generated 4.5-foot waves.

The facilities included multi-sports fields, food stands, 200 picnic tables, a snack bar, and grills.

The entertainment park charged $1 for adults and $0.75 for children on weekends and $0.75 and $0.50, respectively, during the week.

All visitors were greeted at the main entrance by a giant arch featuring the word "Oceana."

Oceana Park was a success among families, companies, and church groups.

For many locals, it was a source of some of the best childhood memories.

People who grew up close to the water park still remember the exciting times at the venue and the legendary dock in the middle of one of the pools.

The Olympic pool had two docks, one at each end. With a depth of only 6.5 feet, it was always the warmest of the pools.

The staff allowed boats and inflatable rafts, and those who experienced the amusement space say that, at the time, it was like a dream with no possible comparison.

Oceana Park, Newbury, Ohio: America's first wave pool opened on May 29, 1961, on Music Road/Street | Photo: Vintage Aerial

A Bittersweet End

Eventually, Oceana Park shut down in the late 1970s.

According to some local reports, the Geauga County Health District stressed that Olympic and diving pool filters did not follow the standards and would have to be completely redone.

Also, the diving pool wasn't deep enough for a three-meter board and would have to be dug deeper to remain open.

Last but not least, the 80-acre-plus property had to be fenced in for safety reasons.

Some people believe that America's first wave pool was forced to close after a kid drowned and his body was found at the bottom of one of the pools, resulting in a lawsuit.

But that is not true. The reasons stated above did, in fact, determine the fate of this "swimming paradise."

Nevertheless, it is rumored that influential individuals in the county with political connections aimed to buy the property, demolish the park, and build a housing development.

Their initial step was to close the park, and they succeeded in doing so, but the owner refused to sell the property for development.

The property was eventually sold in 1995, the iconic pools were filled in, and a house was built on the former Oceana Park site.

Gellért Baths, Budapest: one of the world's first surf pools opened in 1927 in Hungary | Photo: Creative Commons

From Hungarian Air Force to Wave Pool America

Hungary is not the first country you think of when the topic is wave pools and their history.

However, as unusual as it may seem, one of the world's first surf pools opened in 1927 at the Gellért Baths in Budapest, the capital of Hungary.

The large Art Nouveau complex featured indoor and outdoor pools, thermal baths, and spas.

The wave pool was obviously not designed for surfboards but to provide visitors with a taste of ocean waves without the need to travel to the coast.

Coincidence or maybe not, Oceana Park has a Central European fingerprint, specifically Hungary, the "land of waters."

Edward Tibor Bory was one of the three Hungarian entrepreneurs involved in the development of the Ohio water compound.

Born on April 22, 1929, in Marianostra, Hungary, Bory's early life was marked by the trials of World War II and the Nazi occupation.

Despite these adversities, he pursued technical training in Budapest and became an airplane mechanic and test pilot for the Hungarian Air Force.

Tibor's life took a dramatic turn in 1956 when he joined the ranks of the Hungarian Revolution as a freedom fighter.

The following year, he led his family on a daring escape to the United States, seeking freedom and new opportunities.

Settling in Cleveland, Ohio, Tibor began working at the Ford Motor Company and later in the construction industry before leading the construction of Oceana Park in Newbury, Ohio.

Edward Bory passed away on July 9, 2016, at the age of 87, at his home in Delaware, Ohio, following a battle with cancer.


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/the-forgotten-tale-of-oceana-park
The forgotten tale of Oceana Park, America's wave pool pioneer

The forgotten tale of Oceana Park, America's wave pool pioneer

05/07/2024, International, Surfing, International Surfing Association, Article # 31850628

Oceana Park, Newbury, Ohio: the first wave pool in America was not designed for surfing

History is a complex puzzle of dates and facts, and sometimes, a small clue or hint can change our solidified perspective of the past.

On October 4, 2023, I penned an article titled "Big Surf: the story of America's first modern wave pool."

It's about the magical waterpark with artificially generated waves that opened on October 24, 1969, in Tempe, Arizona.

Big Surf was a multifaceted surf center developed by Phil Dexter.

It was open for business for 51 years and even welcomed Pope John Paul II. Not for a surf, but surely for a blessing.

Anyway, two months after my article saw the light of day, I received an intriguing email from a US Air Force logistics operations manager.

In his kind message, he told me that the claim that Big Surf was North America's first modern wave pool could not be 100 percent correct.

Apparently, Oceana Park was a facility that opened on Memorial Day, May 29, 1961, in Newbury, Ohio - eight years before the Arizona surf lagoon.

After a quick inspection, I found no evidence that the Ohio was open for surfing, surfboards, or surfers.

In my reply to the gentleman who kindly sent his email, I wrote:

"Wave pools are not new. The first facilities actually opened in the 19th century in Germany."

"In 1939, London's Wembley, England, was equipped with hydraulic technology that created ripples similar to the ocean's flowing motion."

"The thing is that on SurferToday, we're talking about wave pools for surfing, and while we know about previous concepts and patterns, Big Surf is probably the first unit specifically channeled at creating rideable waves."

"There are many types of wave pools and dozens of old and new patents granted."

"Was Oceana Park creating surfing waves or just waves for swimmers mimicking the ocean?"

"Have you got any pictures of it? Where can we know more about it? I cannot find any information about its operating period."

The US Air Force logistics operations manager got back to me.

"Unfortunately, there isn't much readily accessible information about Oceana."

"I had childhood friends that lived in the house right in front of Oceana, in the mid to late 1980s, and we used the [abandoned[ park as a Call Of Duty-style BB gun area."

"I know quite a few people that went to Oceana when it was open."

"Oceana was generating 3.5-4-foot waves. Whether they were suitable for surfing and whether it allowed surfing, I couldn't say."

"Not many people think of Northeast Ohio in regard to surfing."

"So I would believe that the intent of the wave pool was, as stated in Matrai's patent, to simulate the motion of the waves in the ocean without swimming in Lake Erie, which was highly polluted at that period in time."

"I'm biased towards Oceana's claim as the first wave pool in the US."

Fair enough, sir, even though, as a surf-related website, we at SurferToday were obviously referring to a pool with artificial waves that surfers can ride.

US Patent 3005207: the wave pool technology submitted by Miklos Matrai and protected on October 24, 1961

A One-of-a-Kind Water Park

But the story about Ohio's own surf machine stayed in the back of my mind for a while. The tale was too good to fade into oblivion.

And so I got to work. Here's everything I could gather about Ocean Park.

Oceana Park was a water world that opened on May 29, 1961, on Music Road/Street in Newbury, Ohio, just 25 miles southeast of Lake Eerie, one of the five surfable Great Lakes.

It was developed and built by three Hungarian refugee immigrants in record time.

Miklos Matrai, the inventor of the patent used at Oceana Park, and Edward Tibor Bory were two of the three partners involved in the project.

The complex had four water basins: an Olympic-sized pool, a kids' pool, a circular diving pool, and a wave pool, which generated 4.5-foot waves.

The facilities included multi-sports fields, food stands, 200 picnic tables, a snack bar, and grills.

The entertainment park charged $1 for adults and $0.75 for children on weekends and $0.75 and $0.50, respectively, during the week.

All visitors were greeted at the main entrance by a giant arch featuring the word "Oceana."

Oceana Park was a success among families, companies, and church groups.

For many locals, it was a source of some of the best childhood memories.

People who grew up close to the water park still remember the exciting times at the venue and the legendary dock in the middle of one of the pools.

The Olympic pool had two docks, one at each end. With a depth of only 6.5 feet, it was always the warmest of the pools.

The staff allowed boats and inflatable rafts, and those who experienced the amusement space say that, at the time, it was like a dream with no possible comparison.

Oceana Park, Newbury, Ohio: America's first wave pool opened on May 29, 1961, on Music Road/Street | Photo: Vintage Aerial

A Bittersweet End

Eventually, Oceana Park shut down in the late 1970s.

According to some local reports, the Geauga County Health District stressed that Olympic and diving pool filters did not follow the standards and would have to be completely redone.

Also, the diving pool wasn't deep enough for a three-meter board and would have to be dug deeper to remain open.

Last but not least, the 80-acre-plus property had to be fenced in for safety reasons.

Some people believe that America's first wave pool was forced to close after a kid drowned and his body was found at the bottom of one of the pools, resulting in a lawsuit.

But that is not true. The reasons stated above did, in fact, determine the fate of this "swimming paradise."

Nevertheless, it is rumored that influential individuals in the county with political connections aimed to buy the property, demolish the park, and build a housing development.

Their initial step was to close the park, and they succeeded in doing so, but the owner refused to sell the property for development.

The property was eventually sold in 1995, the iconic pools were filled in, and a house was built on the former Oceana Park site.

Gellért Baths, Budapest: one of the world's first surf pools opened in 1927 in Hungary | Photo: Creative Commons

From Hungarian Air Force to Wave Pool America

Hungary is not the first country you think of when the topic is wave pools and their history.

However, as unusual as it may seem, one of the world's first surf pools opened in 1927 at the Gellért Baths in Budapest, the capital of Hungary.

The large Art Nouveau complex featured indoor and outdoor pools, thermal baths, and spas.

The wave pool was obviously not designed for surfboards but to provide visitors with a taste of ocean waves without the need to travel to the coast.

Coincidence or maybe not, Oceana Park has a Central European fingerprint, specifically Hungary, the "land of waters."

Edward Tibor Bory was one of the three Hungarian entrepreneurs involved in the development of the Ohio water compound.

Born on April 22, 1929, in Marianostra, Hungary, Bory's early life was marked by the trials of World War II and the Nazi occupation.

Despite these adversities, he pursued technical training in Budapest and became an airplane mechanic and test pilot for the Hungarian Air Force.

Tibor's life took a dramatic turn in 1956 when he joined the ranks of the Hungarian Revolution as a freedom fighter.

The following year, he led his family on a daring escape to the United States, seeking freedom and new opportunities.

Settling in Cleveland, Ohio, Tibor began working at the Ford Motor Company and later in the construction industry before leading the construction of Oceana Park in Newbury, Ohio.

Edward Bory passed away on July 9, 2016, at the age of 87, at his home in Delaware, Ohio, following a battle with cancer.


Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/the-forgotten-tale-of-oceana-park
loading