I just heard about the new NLand Surf Park being built in Austin, Texas! That’s right, a surf park will open this spring located 150 miles from the ocean.
NLand Surf Park will be North America’s first inland surfing location. Built in conjunction with Wavegarden, a Spanish company, man made waves will be created in a closed lagoon so people can surf where there are no natural waves.
Check out this video of Snowdonia in Wales:
NLand Surf Park will open later this year in Austin and will offer four different surfing levels, from beginner to professional. There will be different sized waves, including six foot tubes for higher performance. I can only imagine how much fun it will be to have predictable curls to try out. I am already looking forward to making one of those videos with the waves curling over head. The surf park will be located about 15 miles East of the heart of downtown, making it easily accessible for anyone visiting the city.
I can’t help but wonder if these wavegardens will help increase the popularity of surfing similar to indoor skydiving (like iFly) introducing more people to that sport. Indoor wind tunnels offer:
Faster turn around for those working on technique (rather than repacking ‘chutes & riding in planes up to altitude for 60 seconds of free fall)
Less risk (beginner skydiving is extremely safe but there is a tiny amount of risk, often from hard landings leading to twisted ankles or knee injuries)
Easier to schedule without worry about bad conditions
I could see each of these being benefits of inland surf parks too. Having waves recycle every 60 seconds would allow 1 hour at NLand to really help someone’s technique. There may not be very much risk associated with surfing, but beginners still have slight risks knowing about riptides or making sure life guards are nearby. For scheduling, Austin does have some extreme weather like the coast, but depending on wind direction for perfect waves would never be an issue.
These advantages don’t even touch on the sport seeing increased interest from an entire new crop of people being able to participate in surfing. The builders of Wavegardens are working on building many more around the world in addition to those already completed in Europe. That means over the next few years we might see new surfers coming from many new locations that people don’t associate surfing with at all.
It really is fascinating to see what people are doing with technology. Inland surfing looks amazing, and I can’t wait to try it out for myself.
When NLand Surf Park opens I will be sure to stop by and try it out, and I will share my first hand experiences when I do.
If you interested in more, here is the link to the article that turned me on to this topic:
Here is also another video of what to expect: