It’s been an interesting year!
After successfully launching URBNSURF to the world in late 2019, we opened our first surf park in Melbourne on January 6th – and were fortunate enough to have a busy and exciting Summer season. We welcomed tens of thousands of surfers from Melbourne, Victoria and around the country to score perfect waves and learn to surf with us. We also hosted a range of events, from parties to corporate functions, brand activations and global product launches, and Australia’s first wavepool surfing competition, the 2020 Melbourne Pool Party with Surfing Victoria.
But in late March, the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation began to deteriorate – so in the interests of health and safety, we made the difficult decision to temporarily close the park. We made the most of the first lockdown, including developing two new surf sessions (Cruiser, offering gentle pointbreak-style waves for longboards, fishes and softboards, and Expert, delivering heart-thumping slabs), completing our hot tubs and kids playground, progressing the construction of our Three Blue Ducks restaurant, and completing our annual Winter maintenance early to ensure our lagoon would be firing on all pistons for our reopening.
We reopened in mid-June, and despite only being able to trade for 20 days before being required to close again, the support we received from our community was overwhelming. Despite the need for booties and thicker rubber, our sessions and lessons were booked out, and everyone was frothing to surf as much as they could, while they could! We also implemented new measures to ensure a COVID-safe surfing paradise in Tullamarine, including mandatory social distancing and mask wearing, making free hand sanitiser available throughout the park, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation including for our hire fleet.
The second lockdown was longer (almost four months) and again we made the most of the downtime. We developed four new lesson programs (Beginner I, Beginner II, Cruiser and Intermediate) to build out our surfing pathways, along with new school holiday programs, swim sessions, assisted surfing (so parents can support their kids in the water) and kids birthday parties, conducted testing with Wavegarden to improve our wave settings, and completed the construction of Three Blue Ducks Melbourne.
We reopened a second time on October 21st, and we’ve been ramping up towards the Summer 20/21 season over the last 6 weeks. Initially we could only welcome our locals who lived within a 25km radius of the park, who’d been unable to surf or visit the coasts for four months. But thankfully with COVID-19 restrictions easing in Victoria, and borders opening with New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, each day we’re welcoming more of our members and guests, and swell-starved surfers from the East Coast are locking in domestic surf trips with us.
A few days ago on November 30th, the Three Blue Ducks opened their first Melbourne venue, which has elevated the URBNSURF experience, particularly for families, couples, groups of friends and travellers who are visiting for a weekend or longer. You can now devour delicious, healthy food and beverages post-surf, and even takeaway your favourites from the menu to enjoy in the park.
We’re incredibly excited for the upcoming Summer season and 2021, with new experiences, events and the launch of our URBNSURF Boardriders Club on the cards. We’re treating 2021 as 2020, take two!
Images courtesy of URBNSURF, Melbourne & Kitti Gould