Year-round surfing in the middle of Long Island? There’s going to be a place for that in Shirley after the Brookhaven Town Planning Board gave its approval to a site plan and special-use permit for an accompanying restaurant at its June 17 meeting.
The planned Long Island Surf Park, to be located in the Brookhaven Technology Center industrial park off Exit 68 of the Long Island Expressway, will have an outdoor pool between 45,000-50,000 square feet in size, a lounge area that spans the back of the pool, the restaurant/cafe, a surf shop and locker rooms.
“This is a childhood dream for me,” said co-founder and vice president Brett Portera, who is partnering with his father, Chris. “If you’re someone who loves surfing, you’re always looking for the perfect wave. The biggest desire for me is to have a great pool and something for everybody to use.”
Portera said Shirley is a great spot because it is midway between Manhattan and Montauk, allowing it to serve a widespread surfing population. The region also has a growing base of activity.
The company will offer one-hour session rates for access to the pool, which will produce “ocean-like traveling waves” that break from one end to the other, for half of its operating hours. Portera said those rates will be comparable to what’s charged at Typhoon Lagoon in Orlando, Florida, and Adventure Parc Snowdonia in England, but that official rates haven’t been set.
The other half of the operating hours will be available to customers who purchase yearly individual members ranging from $3,500-$8,000 per year, with various different perks.
“The idea behind the membership is to allow people who are [interested] in surfing more often a discount on the normal hourly rates while also providing some incentives for frequency,” Portera said.
The pool will be able to operate year-round with the aid of an energy system that will recapture heat given off from the pool. “There will be so much heat given off that the water will be 60 degrees in the dead of the winter,” he said.
The system will also recapture energy for air conditioning, heating the clubhouse and cooling the equipment room.
Portera said the company is now working on drawings and will soon put out requests for proposals for surf shop and restaurant vendors. He hopes to get a shovel in the ground in six to eight months.
“We know that there’s a demand for it all year long,” Portera said. “It could be 20 degrees out and there’s guys there surfing in the water.”
And he believes there’s similar demand to expand this across the country. In the coming years, he said, “My plan is to have a dozen of these.”