IN THE BARREL: Keely Andrew at the Surf Ranch Pro in Lemoore, California last year. Picture: AAP Image/World Surf League, Kelly Cestari.
IN THE BARREL: Keely Andrew at the Surf Ranch Pro in Lemoore, California last year. Picture: AAP Image/World Surf League, Kelly Cestari.

Elite surfer has doubts about new wave pool

SURFING: Sunshine Coast elite competitor Keely Andrew admits wave pools are addictive but she's not sure about having a proposed $1.1 billion surf ranch and residential development in her home town.

The 22-year-old, ranked 15 in the world, is still coming to terms with the September announcement from World Surf League.

"It's a pretty major plan," she said.

"Being born and bred on the Sunshine Coast, I've always known it to be a small town and it's growing so quickly it almost scares me to think they're just going to develop so much land and more people are going to come.

"It would be a great idea for tourism and business but for me, as a country kid, I kind of want the town to stay small.

"But if that's what happens, it happens."

Andrew has competed at the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch in California during the past couple of years.

She's fared relatively well and enjoyed competing there but said she preferred natural waves.

"It (the ranch) is unbelievable. It's incredibly addictive," she said.

"But there's nothing quite like the ocean.

"Every time I surf in that pool, it's a lot of fun but it's always a lot more fun to get back in the ocean and surf in that unpredictability."

Andrew has competed on the world tour in 2017 and 2018.

She was injury replacement on the elite circuit for most of this year and recently earned qualification for next year's world tour.

The WSL, which acquired a majority stake in the Kelly Slater Wave Company in 2016, has partnered with Queensland developer Don O'Rorke's Consolidated Properties on the proposal.

They propose to develop on a 510-hectare site at Coolum, with the wave pool, a resort and hotel and residential accommodation.


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