Surfing in Washington usually means thick wetsuits and frigid temperatures on the coast. Soon, however, there will be a better option, one without 40-degree ocean water: A new indoor surf venue in Issaquah.
The team behind CitySurf Seattle, Northwest locals Trisha and John Hoss, just landed their administrative site development permit to begin construction of the indoor surf site. Co-founder John Hoss says they plan on building a place where weather-temperamental Seattleites can surf warm, freshwater waves year-round without a wetsuit.
"[There are] a lot of people that maybe want to surf but don’t feel comfortable paddling out into the ocean," John says. Even if surfers wipe out, he says, "The area where you fall is about three feet, so you’d just stand up."
Aside from making indoor waves with a machine John himself developed—he calls it the Rogue Wave—the couple are working with chef Jason Stoneburner of Bastille and Stoneburner to open a restaurant and bar in the complex. After being inspired by a human-made surf wave competition in Europe, Trisha and John searched for a place to park their wave machine for more than a year; at first they planned to rent, but it turned out most landlords weren't okay with hundreds of gallons of water sloshing around. They eventually settled on an empty lot in the Issaquah Highlands where they could build from scratch.
Not that indoor surfing is entirely new; FlowRider in Snohomish offers a similar experience. FlowRider, however, pushes water over a hard, hill-shaped surface, while the Rogue Wave machine will produce a structureless wave without the aid of a hard surface—picture a stationary wave in a river. The Hosses are hoping to open next summer before establishing CitySurf locations in Denver, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, and perhaps even malls around Seattle. Surf's up in the food court!