LAGUNA BEACH — Top surfers and leaders in the surf retail industry are pinning their hopes on surf parks as a way to expand their sport and boost sales in a market limited by geography.
Dozens of industry leaders came together this month for the first annual Surf Park Summit to spark interest and investment in multimillion dollar surf parks with artificial waves that mimic ocean swells.
Supporters say building surf parks in inland locations could expand the market for surf gear and apparel and help independent surf retailers who were hit hard by the recession.
Parks could also help get surfing recognized as an Olympic sport.
But critics say it will sanitize a sport that has always been about man vs. nature and parks will guzzle energy and do environmental harm.