London, recently found to be the "capital of the world" in a survey, is to get the world's first artificial surfing machine.

An artificial beach will be contructed in the Tower Hamlets area of the city and a machine will create waves. It is expected to open in 2011, the year before the city hosts the Summer Olympics for a world record third time...

Surfers expected to flock to London to catch country's best (artificial) waves

10th January 2008
Daily Mail

The world's first outdoor artificial surfing machine will see six-foot swells being riden in the unlikely surroundings of a disused dock in east London.

From 2011 the attraction will try to rival the Atlantic breakers of Devon and Cornwall using cleaned river water.

The plan is to pursuade surfers to take to their boards in Tower Hamlets rather than make the long drive to the West Country, where the surf is sometimes more millpond than Maui.

Surf's up: An artist's impression of how the world's first outdoor surfing machine will look when it opens in London in 2011

The 20m Venture Xtreme project at Silvertown Quays has secured outline planning permission, and building work to transform the former grain dock will begin this year.

An artificial beach with palm trees, boardwalks and rentable fire-pits and barbecues is planned for post-surf relaxation.

The project is the brainchild of Steve Jones, an adventure sports enthusiast who climbs, canoes and surfs and believes that urban surfers, mocked as "weekend warriors" by coastdwelling locals, want to take to the waves after work instead of going to the gym.

It is being backed by David Taylor, a former regeneration adviser to John Prescott.

Surf culture: The surfing machine will be set on a 'beach'

Surfers can expect to pay 30 for an hour's session that will offer at least 10 waves per rider, each rolling more than 100 metres as the swell spreads from the dock to the wide beach.

The wave machine can be set to make the surf break left and right from a central peak, allowing surfers to ride comfortably without fear of collision - a hazard which plagues the increasingly crowded breaks in Devon and Cornwall.

Floodlit surfing and screens highlighting riders' best moves aim to attract an estimated 100,000 surfers and body-boarders a year, as well as half a million spectators.

Last year the British Surfing Association estimated that almost half of the country's 500,000 surfers were based outside the sout-west where the most consistent waves are available, and 60,000 live in London.

But some are not impressed.

The surfing village: How it will look from above

Drew Kampion, the associate editor of The Surfer's Path, said: "This is not surfing except in its most limited sense.

"It may replicate real waves and it can teach riding and balance. But 90 per cent of surfing is paddling out among the elements, breathing in the negative ions in the sea air - and wave machines fail to capture any of that."

Permission has been granted for an artificial reef off Bournemouth, and an artificial wave is due to come into operation at Swansea's leisure centre this year.