The Lake: New retailtainment development with surf park planned in Virginia

The Lake

A new retailtainment development called ‘The Lake’ in Chesterfield County is set to have a six-acre PerfectSwell surf park.

The Lake is a 105-acre retailtainment development project from a local real estate developer, Brett Burkhart and Flatwater Cos. The initial plan was to include a whitewater rafting course, but now the Chesterfield Observer reports that the development will feature a PerfectSwell wave pool from American Wave Machines.

Out-of-sea surfing

Surfing is to be included for the first time in the Tokyo Olympics which is likely to boost interest in the sport. But of course not everyone has access to the sea. Richmond is two hours from the nearest beach, so The Lake will provide a place for locals to surf recreationally.

PerfectSwell surf pools give operators complete push-button control over the size and type of waves being created. Designed by American Wave Machines, the pool uses an air-powered system that imitates real ocean waves delivering an authentic, repeatable surfing experience.

American Dream in New Jersey, will have a PerfectSwell surf pool at its DreamWorks Water Park when it opens. And the BSR Surf Ranch in Texas has a two-acre surf lake from American Wave Machines which has been used to train the US Olympic surfing team.

Surfing competitions

Burkhart is also planning to host surfing competitions at The Lake. In a recent interview with Blooloop, pro surfer Rob Kelly explains that a wave pool delivers much needed consistency for competitions:

You’re guaranteed you’re going to have waves, and the quality of the waves is also assured. It levels out the competition in a way that has never been possible before. Because everyone’s on the same playing field, like in other sports. The best surfers really do end up winning most of the time.”

Furthermore, PerfectSwell technology is perfect for competitions which are normally at the mercy of nature. Having control over the waves levels the playing field and ensures the competition will take place.”

It is hoped that The Lake will be a focus for sports, adding to the athletic facilities at the nearby River City Sportsplex which attracts thousands of out-of-town visitors annually for youth sports tournaments.

Planning for a post-coronavirus world

Water-based activities are at the heart of this retailtainment development. A 13-acre man-made lake will provide opportunities for kayaking, paddle-boarding and cable-skiing.

The Lake will also have a 170-room hotel, an outdoor amphitheatre, 750 apartments and around 250,000 square feet of retail and office space.

The project was scheduled to break ground when the coronavirus pandemic put those plans on hold. “We will wait for more clarity on the current health emergency before we break ground,” said Burkhart.

“Sitting here today the future looks uncertain, but if I think what this region looks like in 20 years, I feel confident in the long run. We will continue to monitor all external factors and start as soon as we can.”