‘Go Surfing. Score Perfect Waves. Get Stoked. Repeat.’ The mantra for URBNSURF wave park is selling the dream.


Where else can you surf consistent waves, day or night, with limited crowds? But is surfing in a concrete pool – and paying for waves – gonna cut it with all surfers? There’s only one way to find out!

The URBNSURF wave park opened in Tullamarine in 2019 to the excitement of many Melburnians. No more waiting for the weekend to go and chase waves at the coast  – there’s perfect lines just a short drive from the CBD. After a few rollercoaster years of opening and closing due to Covid lockdowns, the park is now cranking waves from sunrise until late at night.

My first visit to URBNSURF was with a couple of mates who’d surfed there before. They were talking it up and frothing over the chance to go again. I had quite a few nerves mixed in with my excitement – we’d chosen a wave setting that was a bit above my level of skill. But hey, who doesn’t love a challenge, right?

Read more: Surfing Slang 101



Surfing Artificial Waves in The City

Whenever you make the drive to the coast for a surf, you always hope to pull up and see killer waves breaking. At URBNSURF Melbourne, this happens every time. Walking through the park entry the brilliant blue water and perfect lines are a surfer’s paradise. Or perhaps more like a surfer’s mirage – given it’s surrounded by concrete and there are planes taking off overhead.

I found the whole experience a bit like visiting a theme park. There’s plenty of hype beforehand, you don a wristband and swipe through the turnstile entry, and there’s a safety and rules briefing before the ‘ride’.

In the pre-surf briefing we get the lowdown – paddle out through the channel, one surfer per wave, if you miss your wave, paddle in and around to the lineup again. It finishes with a demonstration of how to cover our heads if we fall (concrete floor – yikes!) and then our crew heads for the pool.


URBNSURF Has Waves for Beginners to Pros

URBNSURF Melbourne has five different wave settings. I chose the Intermediate session for my first visit. I’d call myself an intermediate surfer in the ocean, but I found that the take-off on URBNSURF’s Intermediate waves was steeper than what I’m used to. 

I’d watched some videos of the different wave settings online before going and knew that it might be a challenge for me. But you can basically choose to have a cruisy first session, or to challenge yourself. It’s the perfect place for the latter because you get the same wave breaking over and over – the ideal way to practice.

I stuffed up my first couple of takeoffs – missed the first one and face-planted the second. But once I got the hang of it, I could wrangle my way onto the wave (not getting any points for style over here) – and the ride down the line was absolutely worth it.

Breaking Down The Wave Settings at URBNSURF Melbourne

  • Play In The Bays – small green and whitewater waves, perfect for beginners on softboards or bodyboards
  • Cruiser – fun, point-break style waves rolling left and right, perfect for stepping up to riding unbroken waves
  • Cruiser Turns – steeper takeoff than the Cruiser waves, and with waves around 1m that let you work towards the Intermediate setting
  • Intermediate – a faster takeoff and plenty of power through the wave, perfect for practicing turns and honing your skills
  • Advanced – broken into two sessions, the first has powerful turns waves and second has the famous ‘barrel mode’
  • Advanced Turns – no barrels here, but 1.6m-2.0m waves with a nice long wall for cutbacks and roundhouse turns
  • Expert – a heavy hollow barrel (Beast Mode!) from start to finish, best left to the super-confident tube riders to show us how it’s done


How URBNSURF Compares to The Ocean

As someone who surfs for the love of the ocean, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the artificial waves. I love the feeling of walking across the sand and paddling out through the waves. It’s pretty special to sit out the back and feel the power of the ocean below you. 

At URBNSURF you don’t sit still for long. There’s a maximum 18 surfers on each side of the wave pool and you’ll score 10-12 waves per hour session. Although there’s a rip in the channel to get you back to The Point – you’ll get tired from all the paddling.  

But it’s absolutely worth it. The waves are the most normal part of the whole experience – they genuinely mimic waves in the ocean. To score 10+ of these perfect waves in a row is incredible.

Read more: Chasing Waves: What I Learnt From 31 Days of Surfing (Regardless of the Conditions)


The Vibe at URBNSURF Was What Surprised Me The Most

After I missed my first takeoff and paddled back to the lineup, I heard a voice behind me say, ‘Two more paddles and you would’ve had that one’. I turned around and found a friendly surfer ready to give me some tips. 

He wasn’t the only one – I was given advice and encouragement from quite a few other surfers in the water throughout my session. Definitely not what I’m used to in the ocean!



The theme park ‘ride’ vibe comes in handy here. Everyone’s paid to be there, it’s one surfer per wave, and there’s an abundance of waves to keep everyone happy. Unlike the ocean, surfers aren’t jockeying for position in the line up, or paddling around you when a set rolls in. 

Also unlike the ocean, you’re getting the same wave pumped out each time. For surfers who’ve ridden it before, there were some tips and tricks they were willing to share. For me, that’s what made the whole difference to my experience at URBNSURF Melbourne.

Images supplied by URBNSURF Melbourne