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Wisemans Surf lodge Kickstarts $120M AUS Fundraise – backed by Joel Parkinson & Steph Gilmore And More

By: Press release from Wisemans

Pristine surf conditions 365 days a year used to seem like a pipe dream. Yet a new modern-day Australia surf lodge development and state-of-the-art wave pool is continuing the efforts to make that dream of yesteryear a reality today.

Enter Wisemans Surf Lodge, a 54-room hotel, SURFLOCH-powered wave pool, and expansive surf retreat coming to Wisemans Ferry on the Hawkesbury River of New South Wales, Australia. Set on an existing 45-acre property amidst Dharug National Park, and just a one-hour drive from Sydney, Wisemans Surf Lodge brings a one-of-a-kind surf experience to the Australian bush. Coming from BALNCE, which is backed by world surfing pros like Stephanie Gilmore and Joel Parkinson, and more, the company is raising $120 million (AUS) by allowing everyday surfers to invest and co-own the underlying hotel property asset. Funds raised will be used to renovate the existing hotel, upgrade the course, other resort amenities, and build the new SurfLoch pool.

Meeting The Growing Demand For Surfing

As BALNCE’s director and digital marketer John Du Vernet shares, “People are surfing more than ever. Surf shop owners have never sold as many surfboards.” Wisemans Surf Lodge is the answer to the demand and exponential growth that surfing has seen recently.

Wisemans Surf Lodge
Surf Lodge Rendering

Surfloch’s First Australia Project

Wisemans’ wave pool, the size of 4 NFL football fields, will be powered by US wave pool technology, SURFLOCH, which will generate swells of up to 8 feet high every 17 seconds and rides of up to 12 seconds. We recently covered SURFLOCH’s Palm Spring Surf Club (PSSC) project, which is bringing the first-ever surfable waves to California’s Coachella Valley. Wisemans Surf Lodge represents SURFLOCH’s first project in Australia.

SURFLOCH is on the cutting edge of wave technology, spearheaded by its inventor, Tom Lochtefeld, who’s world-renowned for the FlowRider stationary wave. SURFLOCH’s unique wave science uses wind and air to manipulate water into mimicking a surf experience that’s close to the real thing.

Wisemans Surf Lodge also marks Australia’s first wave pool development that is more than just surfing. Once finished, the surf lodge’s 54 thoughtfully-designed hotel suites, 9-hole golf course, restaurant, bar, and event facilities will bring an unprecedented experience to New South Wales, Australia.

Continue reading for the full Wisemans Surf Lodge press release.

Wisemans Surf Lodge – Press Release

Wiseman's Surf Lodge
Rendering of Wiseman’s Surf Lodge

The developer of a $120 million surf lodge at Wisemans Ferry on the Hawkesbury River that will offer pristine surfing conditions 365 days a year in a state-of-the-art wave pool has turned to NSW’s army of wave riders to help fund its construction.

BALNCE, the company undertaking the project, which is backed by world surfing champions Stephanie Gilmore and Joel Parkinson and other pros, is seeking to raise the funds through an unlisted property trust. The minimum investment is $30,000.

Its target investor will be the older, cashed-up surfers seen donning wetsuits after work or on weekends to hit the waves at their local beach as well as non-surfing wholesale and retail investors.

While surfers might seem like an unlikely cohort to have a lazy $30,000 lying around to invest in such a project, according to research commissioned by BALNCE from kinlab, around 10 percent of the country’s 215,000 regular surfers earn annual salaries of more than $150,000 a year. Most own their own home and 15 percent are part owners of companies or sit on boards.

BALNCE director and digital marketer John Du Vernet said he was confident of hitting its target of about 2200 investor-members, or less than 1 percent of the surfer market.

“We’ve already had commitments to invest from a couple of hundred people in senior finance roles,” he said.

“Sydney is a very unique and sophisticated market with a lot of surfers and Sydneysiders also love property.”

In addition, he said interest in surfing had surged during the pandemic.

Priority membership

“COVID has had a positive effect on the sport,” Mr. Du Vernet said. “People are surfing more than ever. Surf shop owners have never sold as many surfboards. The oceans have never been busier.”

The property trust is expected to generate returns of more than 6 percent a year once the wave park is up and running. All investors will be offered priority membership of the surf club, but will still have to pay $3600 a year to use the wave pool, hotel, and other amenities.

A restaurant and market garden to be operated by Byron Bay eatery Harvest will be open to the public.

Wiseman's Surf Lodge
Aerial View of Planning Site

Construction of the resort, originally due to begin this year, will not start until the $120 million has been raised. Mr. Du Vernet said he was confident this would be achieved before the end of the year.

BALNCE has committed up to $10 million of co-investment and hopes to complete the project by mid-2023.

Powered by US-based wave pool technology Surfloch, the lodge’s wave pool (the size of four football fields) will be capable of generating swells up to 2.5 meters high every 17 seconds and rides of 10 to 12 seconds.

Alongside it will be a 54-room hotel, restaurant, bar, conference facilities, and nine-hole golf course developed out of an existing 18-hectare resort called The Retreat at Wisemans.

The resort on Old Northern Road is owned by Ace Chief Group, which paid $7.25 million for it in 2016 but with a caveat to a company owned by Mr. Du Vernet which has a call option over the site. The sale is due to settle in December.

Architect Kelvin Ho, who has designed several venues for Merivale including the Coogee Pavilion in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, is spearheading the adaptive reuse of the former hotel on the site.

The three major shareholders in the project are Mr. Du Vernet, 4 Pines Brewing Company co-founder Jaron Mitchell and US-based Sean Ronan, co-founder of Queensland’s Balter Brewing Company.

Ms. Gilmore and Mr. Parkinson have stakes in the project alongside fellow surfing pros Josh Kerr, Bede Durbidge, Jack Freestone, and Alana Blanchard.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Details on Wisemans Surf Lodge, powered by SurfLoch technology — Surf Park Central

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