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1976 World Champion, Peter Townend, Talks Surf Park History

World Champion Peter “PT” Townend discusses the history and evolution of surf parks over the past 5 decades in this week’s Summit video release.

As a teenager in Australia in 1968, PT was first introduced to the world of surf parks via a Surfing Magazine spread of Big Surf in Tempe, Arizona. Years later, after his 1976 title win, he began working for Surfing Magazine, and was invited to surf Geauga Lake in Ohio for a 1984 park exhibition. After Bill Sharp, the Associate Editor of Surfing Magazine at the time, drew up the article and it went into print, PT began receiving calls from a number of parks asking him to come surf their waves.

By 1985 he’d surfed all three major wave technologies at the time and was even asked for his opinion from some Disney execs interested in building a park called Typhoon Lagoon. He put together a score of information on the different technologies and lent some solid first-hand advice. Then, as we all know, Typhoon Lagoon was indeed created.

Since then, PT has been involved with a few events at the Disney wave that have hosted some big-name surfers. They’ve certainly been fun and drawn good crowds, but no park has yet to produce consistent ASP-worthy waves. With legends like PT championing the cause and helping drive the industry forward though, it’s only a matter of time before we write the next chapter in surf park history.

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