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Friday, September 14, 2012
Updated: September 15, 5:41 PM ET
Slater backs world's first wave park

By Keith Hamm
ESPN.com

The surfers' dream of a perfectly shaped, never-ending wave moved closer to reality as Kelly Slater and an Australian investment firm joined forces to build the world's first wave pool featuring a continuous, world-class wave.

The 11-time world champ has entered into talks with LM Investment Management to create the doughnut-shaped wave pool -- estimated at 540 feet in diameter -- as part of a planned $1 billion residential community on Australia's famed Gold Coast, according to a memorandum of understanding announced earlier this week.

Headed up by the Kelly Slater Wave Co., which has produced such a wave but on a miniature scale, the groundbreaking project is slated for LM's 290-acre Maddison Estate, about 12 miles from the beach in the city's northern corridor.

"Our discussions with Slater's wave company are progressing well, and the concept already has the support of key stakeholders, government representatives and the surfing industry," LM Project Manager Luke Barnett said in a statement. "Maddison Estate has the land and the infrastructure to be able to successfully integrate this major tourist attraction into the development. It is a win for surfers and a win for the Gold Coast.

"Maddison Estate is an exclusive community, however, the general public will be able to access the wave experience," Kelly Slater Wave Co. GM Noah Grimmett told ESPN.com via e-mail.

Slater, 40, was not available for comment, but late last year at The Inertia, he wrote, "Our company's focus is building the best wave/swell possible and always has been, first and foremost. The best analogy I can make in regards to the actual swells being generated is the difference between a light bulb and and a laser beam, one being general and ours being very specifically created for the purpose of transferring the energy as efficiently as possible into the swell. And once that swell is created you then have to design the actual breaking wave with the right bottom contours, which is a whole different ball game."

It was also announced that internationally acclaimed designer Jamie Durie, host of HGTV's "The Outdoor Room," will landscape the development, which will consist of houses, townhouses, apartments, shops, restaurants, sporting facilities, and conservation parks for its estimated 3,500 residents.

The entire project will take an estimated seven years to complete.

"The benefits this holds for Maddison residents, LM investors, the wider Gold Coast and international community, tourism, international property investors and surfers alike are infinite, " LM chairman and CEO Peter Drake said in a statement. "Without question, this will set a new benchmark for integrated residential living, anywhere in the world."

Heading into the sixth stop on this season's ASP World Championship Tour, the Hurly Pro, Slater is ranked No. 4 in the world.