Great news out of Australia today, the first Wavegarden project down under has been announced, URBNsurf in Melbourne. We had the pleasure of spending some time with URBNsurf’s CEO Andrew Ross and his wonderful family a few years back in Hawaii. We got to know Andrew through our mutual partners at Wavegarden in Spain, and heard he was planning a vacation to Oahu, so we took the Ross clan out for a boat day in Kaneohe Bay. Brian Keaulana, in typical Hawaiian waterman fashion, had everyone doing workouts on the C4 SuPsquatch within minutes.
Besides the wonderful weather, discussions took place on the potential pros and cons for the future of artificial surf lagoons, surfing, family, and Australia’s indigenous culture. Not many people realize the strong bond between Hawaii and Australia, which began just after the turn of the century.
In 1915, the Hawaiian Olympic gold medal swimmer Duke Kahanamoku kept his word and made a trip to Australia to share his passion of surfing, forever changing Australian culture. Fast forward to today and surfing is one of Australia’s national sporst and the Duke is still celebrated with statues and tributes to his historic trip. 2015 Marked the 100th anniversary of the historic Duke’s day in Clearwater, Australia and in honor of Duke, the Hawaiian watermen of today flew down to partake in the ceremonial reenactment and honor the cultural icon. Duke represented the best of Hawaii, a hero worthy of a pedestal, a true ambassador of ALOHA.
Needless to say, The Duke’s legacy and his values live on strongly in Australia, where those very first surf, and life, lessons were shared.