Case Studies, Flow House

Draw In Consumers, Keep Them There, And Bring Them Back: Surf In Retail

Surf + retail? Yes, they do go together. Let us explain.

You’ve seen the changing retail landscape with your own eyes.

This change is highlighted by organizations such as MAPIC, who serve as a leading global platform to build vibrant retail & urban destinations. The picture of malls and retail spaces we grew up with is no longer and a revolution for retail property is on the horizon.

Instead, existing shopping malls and new developments need to consider new ways to draw in consumers, new ways to keep them there, and new ways to bring them back.

Hence, terms such as “retailtainment,” “LBE–location-based entertainment (or was it experience?),” and “the marketplaces industry,” have emerged, with attractions becoming an essential part of this evolving concept of where people gather, shop, dine, work, and play—and how retail revenue is generated.

One type of attraction ticks a lot of boxes: surf.

Surf House with flowrider
Surf House Helsinki


Did you know that 24 million people around the world identify themselves as surfers? The introduction of surf as a discipline in the 2020 Olympics demonstrated the increasing popularity of this sport. With artificial surf technology getting better and better, there is a huge opportunity for developers to bring this sport to people who:

  • Don’t live near the sea
  • Live near the sea but have no access to surfable waves
  • Want to improve their skills with perfect waves
  • Are itching to post cool SoCal surf lifestyle photos of themselves

The forementioned rise in the popularity of surfing world-wide bleeds into all aspects of surf-related sports. While riding a FlowRider® may not be surfing, it is a board sport on a simulated wave, with a loyal following loved by surfers and flowboarders alike.

Depending on your footprint and scope, there are a range of standing wave options to bring to your mixed-use development: stationary surf machines can act as the glue that draws people to the retail development, keeps them there longer, and gets them to come back.

Man on Flowrider
Baha Mar Resort


For smaller footprints, there is the stationary surf machine. You’ve probably already seen, either in person or in pictures, the iconic FlowRider® surf simulator in resorts, on cruise ships, or in water parks. However, you might not know that it is available in different models for different capacities (up to four riders simultaneously) and venue types. A FlowRider can be installed outdoor or indoor, bypassing the weather gods.

With high-quality equipment and waves large enough to accommodate up to three riders at a time, FlowRider’s stand-alone waves can provide optimal throughput and efficiency.


Whether lakes, rivers, or seas, we human beings are drawn to water, so why not in a retail development? We’ve seen water parks in mega malls such as West Edmonton Mall, Mall of America, and American Dream. But if you don’t have a mega footprint, a stationary surf simulator can also serve as a magnet for guests.

With a FlowRider, you will appeal to physically active consumers who want to challenge themselves in a new way; you will allow them easy access to a new sport. You will also be able to attract parents eager to have their children engage in hours of fun without a screen, not to mention groups of teenagers looking for an Instagrammable activity.

Adding a FlowRider to your venue can be used to draw a diverse audience. You will not only bring in people who want to participate in surf-like activities, but also guests of all ages looking to experience the SoCal lifestyle in their landlocked towns. A key USP of owning a surf-simulator is the repeat visitation it encourages. It’s similar to a skatepark or ski-hill, the only difference is that you can fit a FlowRider into a mall.

People watching person on flowrider
Surf House Helsinki


A surf attraction can extend the time consumers spend in a retail environment. Why? Because when you see surfers surfing, the chances are, you will stop to take a look. It doesn’t matter if they ride the waves like they own them or completely wipe out, you will watch.

So when you put a FlowRider in the middle of a mall, surrounded by bars, restaurants, and shops, people will stay and watch. Whether participants waiting their turn with their friends or spectators drawn by the novelty of a water sport on dry land, they will be sticking around to spend money on food, drinks, and merchandise.

To maximize return on investment, a venue like this can be a family focal point during the day and transformed into a bass-pounding, laser-beaming party central at night. In addition to selling flowboarding sessions, imagine generating ancillary revenue through hosting competitions , professional surf shows, live bands, and private and corporate events at a location that guests won’t soon forget.

This is exactly the idea behind Flow HouseTM, a standalone entertainment venue pioneering the fusion between flowboarding, F&B, retail, and events. Guests are already revelling in the California surf lifestyle in 15 Flow Houses across Asia, Europe, Middle East, and the Americas.


As with any other sport, the more you do it, the better you’ll get. When you offer surf in your retail center, guests will come back again and again to improve their skills and feel that sense of achievement with the help of dedicated FlowRider instructors. And that look parents get when they see their child standing smugly on a flowboard for the first time? It’s gold!

This skill-based attraction gives you a reason to sell annual passes, and it gives teens, young adults, and parents a reason to hang out, make friends (read: community), and enjoy everything else your retail center has to offer.

Location-based entertainment and consumer expectations are rapidly evolving in favor of skill-based attractions. With FlowRider’s small footprint and high throughput, our product offerings are crafted to solve the needs of the location-based entertainment revolution.

This is just a brief overview of how surf simulators can be an amazing part of retail spaces. To discuss how FlowRider can fit into your unique development, fill out the contact form linked below.