The Inertia Founder

The Inertia

It’s time. It’s time for middle America to taste the glory of surfing.

Today, Honokea Surf Villages and Resorts distributed a press release announcing that the much anticipated Wavegarden in Austin Texas, named NLand Surf Park, will open its doors this Spring 2016. The park will span 160 acres and feature a 13-acre lagoon that includes a host of surrounding accoutrements like lodging, food, retail, and a surf school.

“Working in Austin with the Coors family to create the biggest, greenest surf park in the world was a great experience and something I know Texas will be proud of,” said Honokea founder and CEO Kenan “Keno” Knieriem Jr in the release. “More importantly, it provides a place to build community and to share the joy of surfing.”

The project has been more than two years in the making, as the Honokea team relocated from Hawaii to Austin in 2014 to begin working with the Wavegarden team and the Coors family to select the site, plan construction, and work with the community.

“They personally connected with Austin’s legislature and leaders in sustainability and conservation to blend Austin’s cultural and community standards into the surf park,” reads a press release distributed by Honokea today. “Together, they came up with a surf real estate development that is environmentally friendly, great for families and is a model that can be scaled over time and integrated in other cities.”

Naysayers might find comfort in this: respected Hawaiian waterman Brian Keaulana is co-founder and president of Honokea, and he (obviously) believes in his product:

“The wave technology is awesome, and both the pros and the groms love to surf the wave,” said legendary waterman and Honokea co-founder and president Brian Keaulana. “We are expecting a future world surf champ from Austin.”

The company also asserts that it has taken extraordinary measures to minimize the  development’s environmental footprint. The press release reads:

“Hawai‘i is recognized as the birthplace of modern surfing but also a culture that learned to thrive on limited resources by creating sustainable technologies like fishponds and vast plains of irrigated agriculture like taro fields,” said Keaulana. “Combining centuries of indigenous knowledge with the best practices of today shows how we can learn from the past to design a better future. We applied this to our original master plan in Austin to share the aloha spirit for generations to come.”

Last June, I was able to surf the Wavegarden test facility in Zarautz, Spain and meet Wavegarden Co-Founder, Josema Odrioloza. The team asserted they had 21 deals in the works last summer, with Austin, Texas as one of them.

In December, Kelly Slater revealed an impressive video of his prototype, but with multiple deals in the works at various stages of completion, the Wavegarden appears several lengths ahead in the great wave pool race when it comes to a commercially viable product.

And while the advent of wave pools continues to inspire discussion around how artificial waves will influence the future of surfing, only time will tell.

One thing is for sure, though. This April, surfers in Texas can cancel their Surfline subscriptions. The waves are shaping up to be extraordinarily consistent.

The park in Austin will leverage the same Wavegarden technology that exists at Surf Snowdonia and the Wavegarden in Spain. Photo: Surf Snowdonia

The park in Austin will leverage the same Wavegarden technology that exists at Surf Snowdonia and the Wavegarden in Spain. Photo: Surf Snowdonia

This is the First Real Surf Snowdonia Wavegarden Session

Although modified to fit the Austin lagoon, the wave will leverage the same technology as exists in Snowdonia and Spain. Photo: Thrailkill

The Wavegarden prototype in Spain. Photo: Wavegarden

The Wavegarden prototype in Spain. Photo: Wavegarden

Update: An earlier version of this article stated that the park will open in April, as indicated by a press release distributed late last night.

  • freerider

    Is Brian Keaulana getting paid for any of this? That might taint his point of view. I always thought “Aloha was free”. These guys are gonna make you pay 40.00 dollars an hour for your so called Aloha–at those prices–I think your aloha might wear off pretty quick……

    • freerider

      Yes– and your benefactor is so humble he names the park after himself–the “Doug Coor’s” Wave park–Hilarious–if it wasn’t so pathetic…….

      • freerider

        I think the first thing these Wave Pool guys need to do afre a few months–is take a trip to Hawaii and surf small Makaha…We’ll see how much Aloha there is–when these wave pool guys start showing up at Makaha….

        • freerider

          Can’t forget the Inertia boys–more inland Surf zombies will probably equal more Inertia website hits–which will equal==more money for them–i wonder if their view is tainted also

  • Kevin Wilks

    Here’s another point of view since so far only haters have responded. I’m stoked! I’ll work my butt off and pay whatever I need to have access to this in my bank yard. I’m planning on buying my first ever sesson pass (to surf! ?!?! Lo)
    I grew up in Okinawa for 6 years then moved to Hawaii for a few and finally got to finish school in Oceanside, Ca. I lived and breathed the ocean for 11 years. Surfing is my calling and complete elixir. I miss the eff out of it and being transplanted into the heart of Texas really hit me hard. At least I can know that instead of driving 3 hours to Corpus Crappy I can now get a wave 45 minutes a way that’s as close to naturally perfect as man can create.

    • freerider

      OK –3 hours a week equals almost 500.00 a month–maybe some can afford it–a sanitized version of the beach. But real surfer know–the whole surf experience–is much more than just riding a wave……

      • Kevin Wilks

        I guess I need to clarify more so. As a “real surfer” (even having learned the lifestyle in Hawaii (if that helps to solodify my credentials with ya)), and a working adult, I will gladly pay for that which I’ve been stripped of for alost 20 years. Is it expensive? Fuk yeah it is. Is it worth it to me, and many other landlocked ” real surfers” ? Fuk yeah. Trust me, I’d rather be on a beach laughing with you than trying to explain why NLand is going to be a godsend to all those needing a fix.

        • freerider

          Well–who knows–too early to tell how this will all pan out. Sometimes–I don’t even care if there are waves–I just head to the beach to clear my head–get away for all the bs–feel the sand under my feet–look at the blue horizon over the ocean–smell the salt air–watch the sunset—and all the other good vibes that go with being there–you can’t put a price on– or recreate these intangibles……..

          • Kevin Wilks

            yeah, i dont think there will be any sand pit crab fighting going on there. I used to spend the weekend at Barbers point with my buddies. Camping on the beach, watching the most shooting stars I’ve ever seen and getting into trouble at night when we werent in the water with the sharks. Those times cant be manufactured. sad face. Perfect barrels await I’m keeping my chin up!

  • Rex Lewis

    That video made me hate the surf industry even more. I was surprised to actually have a reason to go to Austin but not after that.

  • freerider

    Can someone tell me how (Seriously) the Hawaiians got involved in this scheme? Its ‘the first’ I’ve ever heard of “Honokea” “Surf Villages and Resorts” (Sounds big time).– Seems the Spanish inventor might have approached them to try and bring some authenticity to this scheme….If you have any info.– I’m sure others would be interested also…..

    • Tyler Marshall

      The Honokea guys worked their butt off for a couple years. The whole Hawaiian crew moved into Austin to make this happen. We can thank the vision of Keno, Honokea founder, for getting this going. I was fortunate enough to see it grow from a grassroots passion thanks to the guys at Honokea. -Tyler Marshall

      • freerider

        Umm–something seems a little fishy about all this…..

  • Eli Hanslik

    I can hardly wait until this park opens! I surfed all over the world, including 4+ years living on Kauai. I can spend $40 and surf perfect waves with off shores for an hour or spend $200+ for gas + lodging and drive 4-7 hours to Corpus or S Padre and maybe catch some decent chop. OK, ocassionly, it gets really good. This sounds like a sure thing. Surfs up in Austin! Bring it on. You nasayers can hang on the coast and surf chop all you want. We’ll have offshore winds and perfect waves in Austin 🙂

    • freerider

      Glad you have a trust fund…

  • freerider

    Hey–if Brian and Keno want to share the joys of surfing–lets gets some soft tops and tourists and head for Makaha…..

  • trey

    If it’s $40 an hour that is not expensive. (coming from a licensed skydiver though- most expensive damn sport ever)… The indoor wind tunnel, which is pretty much a tool for real skydiving, is about $17 per minute (equivalent for a minute of freefall / 1 skydive) which is way more ridiculously expensive than this. But it helps will progression so so much and is so worth it when you take your new skills to the sky. It saves so much time and it’s easier to train in a perfect environment without all the factors. So $40 an hour at the main break is what? 1 wave every 10 minutes (6 waves an hour) ? $6.67 a wave? That’s not expensive at all and is well worth the training for me. If it’s $40 for about 6 waves I’ll definitely be driving out to Austin in the week to knock out some hours… and skydive san marcos :)….. can anyone do the math about how many waves you can get at the main break within the hour (weekdays off peak not crowded) ?? thanks.

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