A top-of-the-line "wave garden" set for Napier is being hailed by city leaders as a New Zealand first and international-class tourist attraction.
With the ability to generate perfectly formed tubing waves that can "peel" for more than 220 metres without losing power or shape, the artificial surfing park would be the first attraction of its type in the country, said Napier Mayor Bill Dalton.
Yet while proposed as part of the Napier City Council's Big Picture redevelopment of Marine Parade, it's possible the park could be sited on the other side of town, at Lagoon Farm.
However, confirming the next stage of planning, Mr Dalton said yesterday that Lagoon Farm was "just one of a number of options," and sites on Marine Parade were still being considered.
"It depends where it fits best," said Mr Dalton, who, although never having been a surfer, said he recognised the potential of the project.
"This would be a huge national and international attraction for Napier," he said.
A wave garden for Napier was first mooted publicly in September 2012 when the council unveiled its Big Picture vision for Marine Parade. This included possible public-private partnership commercial operations to complement the open space and other developments taking place.
A wave garden and a ski cable lake were among options but other possible sites for the wave garden would be considered in a business case if the council gave the go-ahead to the next phase next week.
Mr Dalton said it was proposed that international wave-generation company Wavegarden would design and manufacture the facility.
The artificial surfing lagoon is supported by Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas, who said: "This type of attraction is exactly what Hawke's Bay needs to expand its overall tourism offering.
"As a region it is essential we invest in tourism infrastructure to create more reasons to visit."
Mr Dalton said that the concept, developed during the past nine years by Instant Sport with international patents, provided the longest artificial wave in existence and would attract international surf competitions to Napier.
"But while this would be something for professional surfers, it's also providing something for all ages and abilities," he said. "Even I'd get in a wetsuit and give it a go."
Every minute, two identical waves break simultaneously on both left and right sides, allowing surfers to ride for up to 20 seconds. Once the waves reach the bay area at the end of the lagoon, they transform into smooth, rolling waves, perfect for children, long-boarding and surf lessons.
The technology is designed to generate 120 waves an hour with an average power of 270kW. Wave frequency and lagoon capacity have allowed Wavegarden to develop an attraction able to provide a commercial return.
Council CEO Wayne Jack hoped the project would go ahead and said: "We are looking at the business case but the idea is for us to go into a private partnership with someone keen to make this happen.
"The next step is to develop a detailed business case to see how we can bring this exciting concept to fruition."
The proposal will go before the full-council city development committee on Wednesday.