CCU class conducts market research into Extreme Surf Park

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Imagine being able to surf all year-round with perfect waves. That could be the reality with an extreme surf park here on the Grand Strand, but right now the project is just in the study stages.

Investors recently approached Monica Fine Ph.D, an Assistant Professor with Coastal Carolina University for Marketing and Resort Tourism to conduct marketing research.

One of her students assisting in the research, Taylor Richard, gives more insight into what the proposed park would look like.

"In the middle, there would be the wave park, which would be the size of three football fields. It would have four waves going around….actually rotating like the ocean," Richard explained.

The wave pool would be unlike any other in the United States because it would simulate the natural waves of the ocean, a selling point for many surfers in the area.

Mark Allison, with the Surf City Surf Shop in Myrtle Beach, has caught many waves on a simulated wave pool.

"It was a mechanical wave, so it broke in the same place every time. They could change where it broke, on the left, the right, or the middle. But nothing is like the ocean, it's different every time, which is what makes it challenging, and so much fun," Allison said.

However, this proposed park would have a new technology that could revolutionize the surfing industry here on the Grand Strand. Richard compares it to the introduction of a chair-lift to the skiing industry.

"The idea is if you introduce a new technology that makes something like surfing or skiing easier with better access then you can build an entire industry on that," he said.

Specific details of the proposed park, such as location and the investors, are still being withheld. Richard says the wave pool would only be one part of the park.

"There would be a shopping and dining promenade, a skate park and area for wake-boarding, a health center and spa," he said, adding "even if people didn't want to surf, it would be a place to have dinner near the wave pool and be entertained. They may even think 'Hey, I want to try that.'"

The study going on right now is to gauge public interest so the class can compile their findings. You can participate by clicking the following link:

The ultimate goal is to get Myrtle Beach on the map for surfing competitions, bringing in big names like Billabong to host events here on the Grand Strand.

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