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How do wave pools affect crowding in the ocean? A look at Japan

Written by Evan Quarnstrom for WavePoolMag

There is a consistent complaint in the surfing world regarding wave pools: They will create more surfers and therefore make the ocean more crowded.

But could the opposite not also be true? If there are finite surf spots with finite waves in a given area, could adding a new, quality surf spot to the area, i.e. a wave pool, provide more spots to thin out the crowd?

At the end of the day, the allure of scoring surf ensures wave pools close to the beach will have a steady influx of clientele.

To explore this hypothesis we spoke to Shunichi Matsuuchi, Assistant General Manager of Surf Stadium, in Makinohara, Japan to get his opinion.

Surf Stadium sits a mere 200 meters from a popular local surf spot, Shizunami Beach, making it unique. It’s the closest pool to a regularly surfed spot in the world and the best case study we found.

“There is a correlation between the ocean and the pool,” said Matsuuchi. “On days that there are small waves, we see more reservations at the pool. However, many people even surf the pool on days when there are waves, too.”

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