£40m Surfing Destination Planned for Lee Valley Leisure Complex

Surfers holding surf boards
Surfing could be on its way to London

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority is working with inland surfing specialists, The Wave, to develop a planning application for a world-class surfing destination at Lee Valley Leisure Complex in Edmonton, north London.

The £40m project would enhance around 100 acres of land in Lee Valley Regional Park and could make London the first capital city in the world to offer an inland surfing destination.

The destination, called The Wave London, would reinvigorate land adjacent to the Lee Valley Athletics Centre in Edmonton and bring both visitors and jobs to the area.

The concept will allow people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to have a go at surfing, whether it’s a child stepping on a board for the first time, or a pro-surfer training for the Olympics. Surfing is a rapidly growing sport and with inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, it is set to grow significantly. Accessibility to the sport has been held back by geographical limitations, weather conditions, swell conditions, wind, tide and daylight hours. The Wave London will overcome all of these issues, using Wavegarden Cove technology to create prefect conditions, with up to 1,000 quality waves per hour and heights starting at 50cm and peaking at almost 2m. 

Harry deRoth surfing a wave
Top class waves would bring surfing to millions of people (credit: The Wave)

A programme of engagement with local communities and interested organisations will take place alongside extensive, detailed site analysis - and subject to the results of this, a planning application will be submitted. If plans are approved by the London Borough of Enfield and the Mayor of London, The Wave London would offer a new purpose-built surfing lake and could feature other elements, such as a high-performance surfing and skateboarding centre, health and rehabilitation, cycle trails, high ropes, and glamping accommodation.

The existing lake in the north of the Lee Valley Leisure Complex will not be affected by The Wave London and the project aims to enhance its biodiversity. Activities at the world-class Lee Valley Athletics Centre would continue as normal. Lee Valley Golf Course and Lee Valley Camping and Caravan Park, Edmonton will close if the project goes ahead. The Authority is already exploring opportunities with the London Borough of Enfield to provide alternative facilities for golfers. The site is designated as Green Belt and has been used for leisure since the 1970s.

Family surfing
Family Surf day

Shaun Dawson, Chief Executive of Lee Valley Regional Park Authority said: “These proposals have the potential to create a stunning new regional leisure hub bringing health, fitness, sport and outdoor activities to millions of people along with many new jobs.
“This leisure development would complement our existing world class sports venues up and down the 26-mile-long Regional Park, including our three hugely popular London 2012 legacy venues providing the best cycling, white water, hockey and tennis opportunities to be found anywhere.

“Lee Valley Leisure Complex was once a sewage works and rubbish dumps. A generation ago we built what was then Europe’s largest leisure centre. Now we hope to bring inland surfing here to create an outstanding new leisure destination for the capital and the region. This marks another exciting chapter in the history of the Lee Valley.”

Nick Hounsfield, Founder of The Wave said: “Surfing is an incredible sport which has proven health benefits – both physically and mentally. The Wave London would give people the chance to try surfing and experience these benefits in an urban environment. Being in the water, catching waves, has the ability to change lives, whilst being so much fun!

Surfers holding surf boards
A new inland surfing destination would open this sport up to the capital and beyond

“We want to create a space where people can have an amazing time by connecting with nature, each other and themselves. We know we can enhance this space, and encourage more people to get outside in nature and get active.

“We have already started to build The Wave Bristol. From the very beginning we have worked closely with local communities to ensure our project meets their needs and provides world-class surfing facilities for professionals and beginners alike. We look forward to working with local Edmonton residents, organisations and partners in the same way to ensure The Wave London works for both them and visitors to the area.”

This page will be updated with further information as we have it.

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