Rif010 Urban Surfing Rotterdam

Set in the Steigersgracht Canal in the center of Netherland’s second largest city (Rotterdam), Surf Loch LLC has developed cutting edge technology for the world’s first city center surfing pool. The RiF010 Water Sports Arena project features the SurfLoch SurfPool™ set in the canal showcasing a 1.5 meter (5 ft) high curling first-breaking every 8 seconds, followed by a .75 meter (2.5 ft) high beginner training wave. The SurfLoch SurfPool™ will surprise and astonish as it generates consistent, clean, surfable waves in the middle of a modern metropolis.

Overview of the Business

RiF010-Water-Sports-Arena-in-Rotterdam-02-1000x322Rotterdam’s regional area has a resident population of over 1 million, and 14 million tourist visitors. It is known as the “Gateway To Europe” due to its nexus of ocean, rail, air and overland transport, and its position as Europe’s largest port. Several years ago the City began focusing on experience-based real estate developments as a tool for economic development. The RiF010 project follows an initiative by Rotterdam City Council that featured community sourced ideas for locals to select by a popular vote. Spearheaded by a small local resident group named RIF010 (which means ‘reef’ located in the mail code for Rotterdam, i.e., ‘010’), the SurfLoch SurfPool™ project won a majority of the vote and will receive City grant funds allocated for the initiative. Now in the early construction stages, the project is expected to break ground before the end of 2015, and open in 2016.

The Challenge

The project started as a heavily advertised, citywide voting contest for redevelopment funds. The project had to meet economic redevelopment criteria and be an experience-based project. In addition, it would have to preserve Rotterdam’s historic archaeological elements.

rif-canalThe proposed RIF010 section of canal was basically a forgotten pond in this famous city-of-canals. The site is adjacent to an iconic historic Gothic-church (the Laurenskerk) and a stunningly-modernistic Market Hall (“Markthal”), as well as bordering one of the city center’s main (and also oldest) shopping streets, the Hoogstraat. This melding of old and new, resident and tourist, iconic and visionary, so typical of Rotterdam, provided the backdrop to a serious engineering challenge, and would also be a driver for the optimal solution. The contest winner would have to cater to residents and tourists alike, from youth to family to elderly, and appeal to those who value tradition as well as those who value innovation. As if that weren’t enough, it would also need to be an experienced-based development, something active, physical and interactive in nature. And the prime real estate area meant that the project could NOT fail: there would have to be a high degree of confidence amongst voters for them to risk this precious real estate.

The Solution

rif-wave-artBy turning the canal into a SurfLoch SurfPool™ with multiple breaks and variable controls, residents and tourists could be treated to a wide variety of programming including surfing, bodyboarding, kayaking, rafting, SCUBA, swimming, water safety and lessons. Further, by installing an adjacent wooden “beach house” style restaurant, with a viewing terrace and café, people will be able watch 150 meters of fun while sipping their erwtensoep (a traditional pea soup). SurfLoch SurfPool™ waves will provide an ever-changing spectacle of action and daring. Operator-controlled wave size allows for scheduling different types of activities at different times, optimizing the use of the waves and serving diverse interests. Literally anyone can enjoy the venue, including those with disabilities, whether it involves getting wet or staying comfortably dry. The RiF010 project is self-contained and uses treated fresh water, just like a swimming pool. Once built, the project will be run as a non-profit organization, managed locally, in order to keep costs low for the residents as well as being able to fund sports programs for local youth and residents. It will draw new stores, bars, and restaurants, and be sure to drive foot-traffic to the area.

The Results

rif-wave-renderingThe RiF010 project won with a significant majority, receiving a total of $3.4 million dollars (€3.6 million Euro) of City grant funds allocated for the initiative. The project is already being advertised on Rotterdam tourism sites and is expected to open in 2016. SurfLoch SurfPool™ opens up many opportunities around-the-world to revitalize cities and municipalities by offering sports programming in a unique, pedestrian-friendly venue.

For more information about Rif010, click HERE.