Notice: Undefined index: slug in /var/www/html/wp-includes/class-wp-theme-json.php on line 2069

Notice: Undefined index: slug in /var/www/html/wp-includes/class-wp-theme-json.php on line 2069

Notice: Undefined index: slug in /var/www/html/wp-includes/class-wp-theme-json.php on line 2069
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Greg Webber on Surf Parks and Nature | Surf Park Insider Series

Dr. Jess Ponting of the Center for Surf Research Interviews Greg Webber

Greg Webber on the future of surf parks and nature | Surf Park Central

Published March 21, 2016
Words by Dr. Jess Ponting

With the image of Kelly Slater’s man made Superbank reeling down California’s Central Valley freshly burned into our collective retinas, this episode of Surf Park Insider explores how surf parks will influence our perceptions of natural surf breaks. Webber Wave Pools’ abstract thinker in residence Greg Webber peers deep into his crystal ball and gives his view on how a future of multiple high functioning surf parks will impact our view of waves in nature, and the nature of surf contests.

In my own research in places like Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands, I use the term ‘Nirvanification’ to describe the apotheosis of surfing places with fairly grim living conditions for local people into idealized, largely mythical, paradisiacal surfing spaces. British academic Tim Edensor proposed a continuum from ‘enclavic spaces’ -think shopping malls, Disneyland, and for our purposes surf parks – through to ‘heterogeneous spaces’ – think a public beach with multiple user groups like surfers, fishers, swimmers, kayakers, sunbakers, metal detectors, joggers, partyers, concessionaires etc – based on French historian Michel Foucault’s description of heterotopias: “the juxtaposing in a single real place (of) several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible”.

Greg Webber Looped Linear Concept Rendering | Surf Park Central

While some researchers have argued that socially constructed spaces are dependent on personal attachment and experience in specific places, my research suggests that commercial surfing tourist spaces can manifest as a universal cultural space wherever certain symbolic elements are present (perfect waves, palm trees, adventure). In this way, borrowing a concept from English sociologist Anthony Giddens, surfing destinations can become ‘disembedded’ from their geographic and cultural context. This overlaying of meaning onto different locations is knows to geographers as ‘free floating signifiers’ and ‘travelling representations”. In contrast to the disembedded heterogeneous space of a naturally occuring surfing destinations, surf parks will be the epitome of enclavic space. Entirely artificial, constructed for commercial purposes, and tightly controlled. What will it all mean for our relationship with natural surf breaks when we have perfect waves available 24/7 for the price of admission? Greg Webber shares his opinion…

Click to comment

Notice: Undefined variable: user_ID in /var/www/html/wp-content/themes/zoxpress/comments.php on line 51

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


For more news & updates,

visit us on social at:




Pre-Register for Surf Park Summit 2024!


We’re excited to unveil the agenda for the highly anticipated 2024 Surf Park Summit!
 Discover a...

You May Also Like

Sticky Post

Press Release from Wavegarden: Different high-quality waves are guaranteed at the push of a button to provide competitors with equal conditions and alleviate event...

Sticky Post

Press Release from UNIT Surf Pool: Located in one of America’s best year-round climates for outdoor activities and vibrant entertainment is Koa Bay in Fort Pierce,...

Sticky Post

HOUSTON, TX – HTX Surf, a world-class surf destination from the Beach Street Development team will make waves at Generation Park in Fall 2024. The surf...

Sticky Post

From Wave Pool Mag: The Alaïa Open Winter Cup is back and will take place from November 4th to the 6th, 2022. For this...