Surf park, amphitheater may be built in Myrtle Beach

Bree Labiak gets a few points in the shortboard division of the Guy Daniels Memorial Surfoff in Surfside Beach. A developer is eyeing property in Myrtle Beach across from Broadway at the Beach to build a surf park that will have perfect waves all year. Photo by Janet Morgan/

A surf park and an amphitheater may be built between Broadway at the Beach and the Myrtle Beach Sports Center.

The Myrtle Beach City Council gave the nod for a 15-year lease to American Surf Parks, LLC, showing the city is interested in the project so the company can secure financing for the park. Once the financing is secured, the park developer will return for final review and approval.

John Pedersen, city manger, said the 12-acre undeveloped land is located adjacent to the sports center off Grissom Parkway.

Pedersen said it is a win-win for the city by having land developed without costing the city anything. And the city will get an amphitheater out of the deal.

Phil Dixon, co-founder of American Surf Parks, said he plans to have a five-acre surf park that generates 1,000 waves per hour accommodating all skill levels. He said the waves range from two feet to eight feet making the park a destination for surf competitions as well as families seeking an experience while on vacation.

The park plans also include a 15-foot deep pool to be used as a landing zone for a platform, a 100-foot slide and a rock-climbing wall. There are also plans for a zip line, restaurant, bar and a 100-room hotel.

Dixon said there are two similar parks in Australia and Spain.

Pedersen said the city could net about $450,000 annually for the first phase of the surf park through property taxes, business license fees, tourism development fees, hospitality fees and the city’s portion of the state accommodation tax. The second phase includes the hotel addition pushing the city’s estimate upwards of $650,000 annually.

The city owns 47 acres between Grissom Parkway and Oak Street with 21 acres that are undeveloped. The park and amphitheater will take up about 12 acres of the undeveloped property.

Dixon said the undeveloped land is filled with “bad dirt” that is not suitable for building. He said the dirt was placed on the property while Broadway at the Beach was developed in the 1990s.

“It’s about 295,000 cubic yards or enough to fill 90 Olympic sized swimming pools,” Dixon said. “You can’t build anything on the bad dirt. You have to move it. The most you can do with it is to make a berm like around the amphitheater.”

Pedersen said the lease is for $180,000 annually. He said the lease would increase by 10% every five years. After the original 15-year lease expires, there would be seven five-year extensions offered.

Dixon said it will cost about $2 million to move the “bad dirt” to form the amphitheater, which is cheaper than hauling it off the property.

Pedersen said the city would give the developer about 10 years of lease credits to recoup the $2 million.

Plans for the city-owned amphitheater include about four acres for seating and an acre for the stage, concessions and facilities. Seating for the amphitheater is estimated around 10,000 people. The city will own and operate the amphitheater.

Dixon said if the project fails he would remove the surf park and leave the amphitheater for the city’s use.

Dixon added the project should generate about 300 jobs during construction and 50 full-time jobs during the park’s operation.

Park admission should range from $5 to watch surfers to $45 to surf during the peak summer season.

Janet Morgan is the editor of the Myrtle Beach Herald. Contact her at 843-488-7258 or at


(1) comment

Lee Norberg

The Photograph used in this story of a Surf Park in Myrtle Beach is of very talented Young Lady Surfer Bree Labiak who had surfed locally in Grand Strand Area, East Coast United States, California and locations in Central America and The Caribbean. I've had the opportunity to photograph Bree in competition and for "Fun" over the past two years. A very talented and congenial Young Lady who is a natural on the Surfboard. What is not known to many in the general Public is that Bree is afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis (C-F). Just showing her determination not to let this horrible disease hamper her Life, Bree excels on the Waves and shows what a "can do" attitude will do.

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