In the spirit of competition, Xero Gravity Action Sports is looking to accomplish a feat that has never been done before: build a $309 million action sports and entertainment resort, which will be located south of Orlando, FL.
“This does not exist,” Larry Walshaw, CEO of Xero Gravity, tells SI.com. “The only thing that exists is various venues that are singular in nature. There is nothing under one roof.”
With 75 acres reserved in Osceola County just miles from various worldwide attractions—including ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex four miles away—that Orlando is known for, Xero Gravity plans to lure action sports tourists and locals with a complex that includes a 14-story ski and snowboard mountain with nine snow tubing lanes, five acres of real surfing with up to 10-foot waves and a boogie boarding area, a 25,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor skateboard park, a USA-BMX sanctioned race track, two skydiving pods, a 20,000-square-foot indoor dodgeball trampoline area, a rapid river, rock climbing up to 140 feet high, a zip line through the park, two 14-story competition waterslides, free fall jump zones, a rope challenge course plus a hotel with pools, restaurants, bars and more.
Think of this as Mecca for action sports—if it happens.
[daily_cut]The two biggest early hurdles have already been overcome, Walshaw says, with property secured and the county’s blessing. Currently the company has entered the capital market trying to raise equity in hopes of having their dreams realized by 2018.
With the sports tourism market robust and individual action sports growing in popularity, Walshaw expects to tap into that trend with seasonal visitors. But they also plan to draw locals with teams and competitions in a variety of sports. To add to that, Xero Gravity expects to create television-ready competitions on-site with competitions every day. “Americans love competition," says Walshaw.
“It will have a competitive spirit to it,” he says. “We are creating a place to go have fun. If they choose to, they can compete individually and as teams. Our company is creating the next step in the tourism sports industry.
“The industry has really grown over the last five to six years, but there is nothing out there like what we have. You have a few skate parks. If you want skiing you have to go to the mountains, for surfing you have to go to the beach. People want to do more than go ride rides, people want more activity in their vacation.”
If Xero Gravity succeeds, they expect more than one million annual guests to add plenty of action to their vacations, something we’ve never seen before.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.