To switch your business-suit for a wet-suit during a lunch break does not sound like a logical thing to do in the beach-less city center of Rotterdam. The Rif010 initiative. But a wave of change has hit the city, in the form of Rif010. The urban initiative has recently won a contest funded by the City of Rotterdam, which was used as an instrument to leverage public initiatives to encourage the revitalisation of the city. Rif010 is set to create an artificial wave right in the middle of the city’s shopping center. A 1,5 meter wave. A local canal called Steigersgracht will be shut off from the rest of the river Rotte, to which the city thanks its name. In 2015 all kinds of water sports can be practiced in naturally purified water and a 1.5 meter high ‘barrel’ wave, good for 14 seconds of surfing, supping, kayaking or body boarding. Here some video's (in Dutch) that explain the process: Social purpose. In case this is one step too far, it will be possible to take a class at a second reef. Although Rif010 foundation’s social goal is to make water sports accessible to all Rotterdam students, it seems to serve a broader purpose. Besides being able to surf, kayak, scuba dive and raft in the middle of the concrete jungle, the concept also includes a beach house with drinks, food and a terrace for spectators, but also cloakrooms and the possibility to rent wet-suits, kayaks, scuba gear, etc. Wave jams and contests are too be expected as well. This realisation and exploitation of the concept will create 10 to 15 jobs and hopefully attract other entrepreneurs to establish themselves in the surrounding area. The concept and technical aspects are designed to be durable and self-sustaining. Any profit will be directly invested in the concept, for instance to build their own windmill, in order to generate their own power supply. Surfing abroad. Unfortunately we have to wait a bit before Rif010 will be ready in May 2015, but if this post has fired your thirst for urban surfing... here are some great spots to visit during your travels abroad:
- Hangzhou/ China: Each year, international surfers compete on Qiantang River, riding the "Silver Dragon" wave.
- Munich/ Germany: The world’s largest urban surfing spot lies past a bridge over the Eisbach river in Munich’s English Garden.
- Jackson, Wyoming/ USA: Along the Snake River, just south of Jackson.
- Bremgarten/ Switzerland: An increasing number of surfers are now taking the plunge on the Reuss river flowing through the picturesque village of Bremgarten.
- Montreal/ Canada: Through a quirk of nature, rapids on the St. Lawrence river near Montreal hit underwater boulders, creating a two-meter high, jade-green wave that rises into a permanent curl.
- Graz/ Austria: On Austria’s river Mur in Graz, river surfing is a regular on two waves built for surfing in 2001 and rebuilt in 2004 by KanuClub Graz. Near Salzburg in the Alm Canal there is a custom built surf wave, the Almwelle.
- Voss/ Norway: Norway has several river waves; amongst the most famous are Bulken in Voss and an unnamed river wave in Sarpsborg.
And one of our other cities in our roster, Oslo, is in the planning phase of building a potential, artificial river wave in their main city river Akerselva. As a city captain of Rotterdam, I can't wait to capture the opening of Rif010 and see the first rides on the waves. For more information: www.rif010.nl www.facebook.com/rif010 - Cathalijne -