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Earlier this week it was announced Coors and Wavegarden will be collaborating to open North America’s first inland surf park, NLand. Today, they announced more details on their mission to put Austin, Texas on the map as a world-class surf destination. NLand is set to open in 2016, it Wavegarden’s second commercial facility after a park in Snowdania, North Wales opens this summer. They gave us the first artist’s rendering of the park itself, promising a facility the size of 9 football fields with a self-sustaining water supply. But really, everybody just wants to know what the wave will be like.

Philosophical debates aside, the most practical and important detail to know is NLand CEO Doug Coors and his team announced a quality wave in the lagoon’s main break. “For experts seeking high performance conditions, the main break will provide 2 waves every minute, approximately 6 feet in height, that peel in unison in a perfect, cylindrical motion until they reach a close-out section, ideal for practicing explosive maneuvers,” they announced in a press release. Those waves, they claim, will offer rides more than half a minute long. My legs are burning just thinking about that kind of ride. Head high, with an even enough tempo and speed to throw turn after turn after turn. That’s like doubling the length of a ride at First Point Malibu without (hopefully) having to scream and yell and hustle your way through each section, letting all three thousand floating heads on the inside know you’re coming, dodging and weaving your way to the pier only to finish it all in some grandiose fashion. Oh, the claims. “Victoryyyyy”, in the immortal words of Johnny Drama himself. And that’s when I realize this is the detail, the feature that will make inland surfing an accomplished endeavor.

Aside from the main lagoon designed for advanced, high performance surfing, waves up to 4 feet will be on hand for other surfers throughout the rest of the park. So now I think of all those little kids I had to dodge on the above First Point Malibu set wave. They sit on the inside section, picking off what they can. Some get waves and get better and better as they grow while for others it’s just another after school activity where they get to goof off with friends just a little bit longer. Either way, they’re not getting many waves and certainly aren’t getting the cream of the crop. A short closeout here, a small peeler there. Considering the average surfed wave is anywhere from a few seconds to ten seconds on a half decent day, the quality of those wave counts in Austin just offered a solid leap to the future of high-performance surfing. These kids are going to have the opportunity to put some real practice into their craft, at least the ones who legitimately fall in love with the sport. Athletes will grow out of the middle of America, essentially fulfilling a real life North Shore script.

So we can spend the coming year arguing about the “experience” of surfing artificial waves having no comparison to dancing with the ocean herself, but so what? “Historically, surfing has been limited to those lucky enough to have access to the coastline”, says Josema Odriozola, Wavegarden’s Founder and CEO. And of that simple sentence, one word stands out the most to me about this project’s relevance in the grander scheme of our selfish pursuit of waves: lucky. It’s the perfect word to describe what separates the die hard salties and entitled standouts in lineups up and down the coast. We’re just flat out lucky to be where we are and do what we do. We throw tantrums and throw the stink eye far too often because we forget that fact. Now, somebody’s just simply giving that opportunity to people formerly faced with a 3 hour drive to the coast.

And in the meantime, while all the Austin locals and tourists from Oklahoma need a few years of wave time to catch up to the rest of us I’ll happily take my road trip to Austin for a spot in the lineup of that main lagoon. Austin Texas just became a surfing destination. 2 head high waves a minute. We all drive and fly far longer for less. So sign me up.

 

Architect’s rendering of NLand Surf Park, opening in Austin, Texas in 2016 Photo: Courtesy of NLand Surf Park

Architect’s rendering of NLand Surf Park, opening in Austin, Texas in 2016
Photo: Courtesy of NLand Surf Park




  • Juan, we are beyond stoked here in Austin about our new surf park. Please, be our guest and come join us next Spring when it opens. I think it will be as incredible as it sounds. Plus the park is just 2 miles from the airport, you don’t get that with most surf trips.

    As a past contributor on The Inertia, participant in the 2013 Surf Park Summit and lifelong Texas Surfer, I feel compelled to point something out. It’s often assumed that Texans are not “real” surfers. I think you’ll be surprised Juan that Texas surfers will not “need a few years of wave time to catch up” to our Cali surfing brethren (okay maybe the Oklahoma crew will).

    Most of us here make regular treks to the Coast and have lived at the ocean during different phases of our life. I used to surf daily at 1st point in Malibu for 5 years, Maui for a season and Central America for months at a time. Soon I’ll be adding Austin to that list!

    Thanks for the article Juan.

    • Bjorn Toroque

      you find surf where you find surf. the dudes surfing the great lakes are surfers in my book, as are the texans wake surfing the tankers. and there are some rippers out of galveston. excited to head out there next year.

    • TheloniousGonzo

      And I know a ton of folks here in Austin that can’t wait to hit your park!! This is awesome! I am a local photographer and aerial drone operator. If you guys need/want some footage of the park, from the ground or the air, let me know. I am all in on getting some inland wave action right here in the middle of Texas!

    • gloriameas

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  • RB2

    You can always spot a texan at Puerto Escondido, if they are not bobbing out there, they are the one(s) going over the falls and looking bad.

    • Thomas Sizer

      I grew up in Texas and live in SoCal now. Most of the best surfers I know are from Texas. The guys that actually put their time in out in the lineup are really good. Every state has its kooks. And well, there are a lot more kooks in Cali than Texas.

      • Albee Doh

        “Most of the best surfers I know are from Texas.”

        Then you don’t know very many surfers.

        • Thomas Sizer

          I know plenty. I surf every day.

          I think a better way to put it would be if you looked at the demographics of each line up you would find fewer kooks, and more dedicated/skilled surfers in the Texan lineup.

          • Albee Doh

            Per capita, perhaps. But Texas’ waves suck and it’s surfable coastline is a mere fraction of CA’s so you just won’t pull the numbers to make this a valid comparison.

            If Texas had as many good spots that fired with the same level of consistency the variables to your equation would radically alter the resultant sums.

            Texas has yet to produce even one tour surfer of note. Hell, Texas has yet to produce a top ranking amateur who could win in anything bigger than shoulder high.

            Don’t get me wrong, I love Austin (my favorite US city), but the comparisons just aren’t valid.

          • Thomas Sizer

            Yeah, obviously California has a larger/more surfable coastline. And I’m not talking about outliers. I’m talking about average surfers in the lineup. In general, you’ll see more guys landing airs, throwing big turns, and just surfing better in tx.

            Being able to surf small waves well improves your over all skill set.

            You’re that chick with the van right? Damn, you spend a lot of time trolling!

          • Albee Doh

            Trolling?

            Trolling is the internet equiv of bullying. I go straight with the facts, something many people appear to have a lot of trouble with.

            And I’m not a chick.

            Keep it on the level, Thomas. I only get nasty when provoked.

          • Thomas Sizer

            Oh crap. My bad. I thought you were a girl after you responded with information for that lady who had questions about car camping for females.

            Yeah, Totally my bad.

            And yeah, you’re not a bully at all. But I feel like you go around looking for arguments. Which is cool, it’s just not my thing.

          • Albee Doh

            I don’t have many guilty pleasures. Throwing the occasional fact-down smack down is one of them. It’s one of the methods I employ to refine material.

          • Good For You

            you seem like such a cool dude.

          • Albee Doh

            Nope. TOTAL asshole. But thanks!

  • Jo Ann Richmond

    Just out of curiosity, where is the initial fill water coming from? We are still not out of a drought even with all of the rain we had in May. I understand sustaining the water with a rainwater collection system, but I highly doubt there is going to be enough rain between now and when the park opens to do the initial fill… Not trying to be a downer here, but just trying to think from a conservation point of view……

    • B Jameson

      lol.

  • More waves, more stoke. I am a SoCal local and we need a wave park here as well to ensure everyone can enjoy what surfing offers. Good for Austin and someday maybe every state will have a wave garden. Also good point on how they plan on getting the water to fill the garden from Jo Ann below.

  • AJ

    Really? To a state that’s practically in perpetual drought? Take this to Nevada, where the tourists belong. Don’t California my Texas. If you’re bringing water to Texas, we’ll take it in our Lakes and Springs.

    • B Jameson

      signed, AJ the native austinite. yarite

      • Albee Doh

        Yeah, because the name “Jameson” just reeks of Native American lineage.

  • Albee Doh

    A water park of this size.

    In Austin.

    Humans are f-ing idiots.

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  • luckless pedestrian

    T-Street in Texas!

  • luckless pedestrian

    T-Street in Texas!

  • luckless pedestrian

    T-Street in Texas!

  • luckless pedestrian

    T-Street in Texas!

  • Jetty-rat

    Serena Surfergirl Nava wants to be a team rider. Look her up, and she’s from Texas!!!! 3 time Texas state champ and now one of the best female surfers in the Costa Rica circuit. CGS and The Federation. You tube and facebook, look her up!!!

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