Forget foils on the Waitematā, surf's up at Eden Park.
While Auckland's America's Cup hosting dreams have been scuttled by a sneaky Spanish shore break, a swell new event's dropping in to soothe the sting of rejection.
Auckland's premier sports stadium, already a longtime host of the Mexican wave, is now welcoming its watery master with an ambitious bid to host the pro surf Wave Garden of Eden Challenger Series next year.
A million litres of water is set to flood a compostable waterproof membrane stretched across the turf to create a suburban surf break.
If the park's successful in its bid, the World Surf League tournament will take place in October next year, preceding the more traditional Piha Pro, Eden Park chief executive Nick Sautner said.
"It's not every day you can drop in and surf at a stadium. But our venue is always keen to dive headfirst into the radical and unconventional.
"Due to this event's unique nature, we anticipate it will generate a significant surge in tourism for Auckland – something needed more than ever following a tough few years."
Flooding the park, scene of two All Black Rugby World Cup wins and more recently host to a 50,000-strong Six60 concert, may not be as extreme as it sounds, thanks to Eden Park's custom-built water treatment plant and bore, Sautner said.
The bore saved more than 11 million litres of water over its first summer and was the catalyst behind the idea for the park to take a punt hosting a World Surf League series, he said.
The stadium would then return to its usual configuration just a few hours later.
The park has been looking for new ways to increase revenue, including hosting Guns N' Roses and Ed Sheeran concerts next summer, and after cutting back water waste contacted experts across surf parks in Europe and Australia to see what was possible.
"We're absolutely stoked to have found a way to extract the water from the park's aquifer and, with a compostable membrane, pump the stadium with water to create a massive hybrid wave park.
"Working with local engineers, the waterproof membrane that will line our surf park has been designed from a similar composition to the compostable packaging in our retail outlets. This will ensure zero waste or environmental impact arising from the event."
The team at the park had also considered ongoing water conservation, facilities change manager Lance Johns said.
"Because of the geology of Eden Park, there are four soak holes in the corners of the field that will act as a plug – put simply, they will return the water back to the aquifer post-event.
"This ensures we can continue in our efforts to reuse, recycle and repurpose, in line with our sustainability plan."
Believe it or not, the switch from stud to fin on the park's field of glory wasn't without precedent, Sautner said.
The Romans celebrated the completion of the Colosseum, the giant amphitheatre of ancient Rome that remains one of the Italian capital's most popular tourist attractions, by flooding the structure and replicating a famed naval battle, he said.
"Emperor Titus ordered the new Colosseum to be flooded, then used special flat-bottomed ships during the battle to replicate the battle between Athens and Syracuse.
"There was even an artificial island made in the middle of the arena where the sailors landed to fight."
This was the model park staff were looking to as they set new uses for the 122-year-old sports ground.
While many considered Eden Park a traditional rugby and cricket ground, new events have begun to feature in recent years, including cultural and community events, and concerts, Sautner said.
"There has been plenty of exciting content in the Eden Park pipeline – but perhaps none quite as exciting as this. If the park can pull this one off, no doubt it will get a perfect 10."
More would be known after noon today, April 1.