We visited the Wave House® on Sentosa, the entertainment island of Singapore. The Wave House Sentosa is one of many all over the world. It's a 6 500 m2 playground, that combines sport, music, entertainment, shops as well as food and drinks. In this microcosmos of beach lifestyle, the main attractions are the FlowRider ® and the FlowBarrel ®. We first tried out the Flowrider, which wasn’t easy at all, even with some board experiences and balance skills (read more). But it was a new challenge - and we both love challenges!
After an hour "flowriding" we needed to sit down and have a drink - the Flowrider was quite exhausting and we both had a nasty bail on it. It can't be compared to surfing in our view, but it is fun and we were stoked and full of energy afterwards. It was even more exciting to meet Heinz Iten, one of the four co-founders of the Wave House Sentosa. He is Swiss and a real sportsman. From the moment we shook hands we felt his energy and drive. We just started with the interview, when he asked us, if we also tried the Flowbarrel. We didn’t - so he offered us a private session and of course we went for it. Even more exhausted after this second surf, we finally sat down with Heinz and talked about how a Swiss guy became co-founder of a Wave House and about his passions.
Heinz, how did it all start with the Wave House project?
It all started back in 2008, when I was still manager of the Swiss Club in Singapore. Tom Lochtefeld, who invented the Flowrider technology, asked me, Terry Goh and Xt Tan, a lawyer, to take part in that project. So Tom brought the technology, Xt did all the contracts, I was responsible for the restaurant concept and Terry, who already ran a successful wakeboard company and bar, was managing the surf and event activities and brought in his expertise in nightlife. This way we had an expert for everything.
How do you see the connection of the Flowrider and the “real” surfing?
Oh, I am not a surfer, you know. My profession is the eating and drinking and my big passion is mountain biking. So I get my thrill, when mountain biking up in over 5000 metres or climbing peaks like the Mera Peak (6461m.) My best trip was with my wife on my 50th birthday, when we biked through the Himalaya. So Terry takes care of all the activity around the Flowrider. They made me to try out the Flowbarrel, which is like a big tube wave, once at the beginning of the project in San Diego. It immediately sucked me in and throw me around - I couldn’t move my head for three days afterwards.
Are there many surfers coming to the Wave House?
Mostly, I would say, there are non-surfers coming. Locals, who book the Flowrider as a side entertainment for their events here. The Wave House appeals to a certain lifestyle of beach and surfing. That brings the people here from the city. And the Flowbarrel is more of a marketing instrument, to attract people. But there are some good surfers coming as well from time to time.
How did you financed the Wave House and what can we expect from the future?
The Sentosa Development Cooperation built the basic infrastructure for 14 Million Singapore Dollars. We partners did a leaseback with the cooperation for ten years and invested about 3 Million. Most of the turnover is made through the events and the food and beverage. The Flowrider on the other hand, is like I said earlier just marketing. We soon will expand to China - three projects are already official, which will be realised in the next one and a half year. Most of them will be in so called “Destination Malls”.
Thank you Heinz for the Interview and your time.
We wish you all the best for your future projects!
About Heinz Iten:
Growing up in Oberaegeri (Zug, Switzerland), Heinz always wanted to become a cook in order to see the world. After many years of job experience his ambition also led to a degree in the hotel management school in Zurich. And from then on the list of his successful undertakings is long: chef de cuisine in the Hyatt Bangkok as well as the Shangri-La in Singapore, eight years leading the restaurant Raten in Switzerland, introducing the franchise Mövenpick restaurants in Singapore and manager of the Swiss Club Singapore for almost eight years. The Wave House® won’t be his last project as others are in the pipeline already. And as an active sportsman he is also always striving after another adventure.