Big Surf closing for good Monday?

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TEMPE -- When closes its gates at the end of the day Monday, it could be for good.

Big Surf closing?

Big Surf closing for good? - Tempe's Big Surf is closing is gates Monday, and after 40 years, its future is uncertain.

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Golfland Entertainment Centers has operated the 40-year-old park since 1991, but it's giving up its management contract effective Dec. 31, so it can focus on the seven parks that it actully owns, including Golfland/Sunsplash in Mesa. The rest of the GEC properties are in California.

The 12.5-acre Big Surf opened in 1969, and features a 2.5 million gallon wave pool, one of the biggest in the world.

Boasting the title "America's original water park," one of Big Surf's most notable claims to fame was locally invented wave machine capable of creating surfable 5- to 6-foot waves. Those waves have been toned down to a gentler 3 feet, and over the years, conventional surfboards have given way to boogie boards.

The El Paso-based company that owns Big Surf, Inland Oceans, has not said anything about the future of the Tempe facility, which also has a kids' wading pool and several water slides.

In addition to being a summer staple for four decades, Big Surf also hosted a variety of concerts in the '70s, including Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and Chicago.