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The Inertia

Last week, we brought you a sneak peak of the first surfing trials at the brand new Surf Snowdonia Wavegarden in the UK, which is set to open its doors on August first of this year. The video was sort of disappointing, as the small, mushy wave left many critics unenthusiastic about the park’s opening, concerned that it made no new, significant contribution to man-made wave technology.

The wave, however, was operating at fifty percent capacity and simply served as a test to gently run before one hundred percent power was achieved, said Surf Snowdonia in a press release. “It’s important to note that this was slow testing of the machinery,” said Surf Snowdonia. “Fine tuning of the wave is underway and the two-meter barreling wave, with the 1.2-meter by its side will be here soon!”

According to Wavegarden, the technology can produce a 2 meter wave (6 and a half foot wave! Definitely not Hawaiian, though) that peels 150 meters and runs for 16 seconds. That sounds nice.

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After much anticipation – although still very much in its testing phase – here is a more adequate portrayal of what Surf Snowdonia Wavegarden will be capable of. And although the park isn’t officially open for business, I quickly caught up with filmmaker Steve Thrailkill, who visited the park a few days before the video above was shot to gain a better understanding of this epic wave and the implications it might have on surfing.

And here’s how the whole shebang works, from their site. Looks like, at time of press, the Wavegarden is booked solid in hourlong chunks until August 6th, and it costs 45 pounds per hour for a limited group of people:

Advanced surfers will surf closest to the central pontoon, where the barrelling wave is highest. The 2m wave is for experienced surfers who can demonstrate good competency in trimming, controlling and riding your surfboard along unbroken waves. The advanced wave is for those surfers who want to improve their surf technique.

Level of Ability:
– Effectively paddle into unbroken waves
– Demonstrate an effective pop up
– Ride along the wave face
– Generate speed
– Forehand & backhand surfing
– Starting to initiate bottom and top turns

And what’s it cost?

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Well, it appears to cost from 19 pounds for beginners per hour up to 45 pounds for advanced surfers per hour. You could also purchase an annual membership for 150 pounds and an additional 19 pounds/hour. I guess we’ll see how all the economics work out.

And apparently, in constructing the facility, which is built on an old industrial site, they, “crushed and reused 25,000 cubic metres of onsite material, and 85% of the stone we have used in construction is recycled.” They also “recycled 400 tonnes of steel, cast iron and copper from the site.”

Surf Snowdonia will open for its first customers at 10am on August 1, 2015. To book a session visit surfsnowdonia.co.uk.

This wave looks amazing. What was it like in person?

The best way to describe it is that it’s a mixture between Malibu and Lowers. It’s the most maneuvers you can do on an artificial wave so far. Tom was able to do something like seven maneuvers on one wave. The thing was that it was inconsistent, and a lot of it was just sitting around waiting for the wave to come around. They were still going over the technical settings and wave mechanics. Once it gets to the full potential, it will be amazing.

What implications, if any, will the Wavegarden have on the wider surfing community?

For those who are landlocked and unable to get to the ocean, and for those who are perhaps scared of sharks, for example, it will provide those first-timers with the ability to get into a wave. They’ll be able to learn the mechanics of surfing and the mechanics of a wave without having the fear or drowning or sharks. I think it will also taking high-performance surfing to a whole new level, because now you have a more consistent wave. It’s almost like going to the skatepark and skating a pool. Wave pools are more predictable. In the ocean, it’s often inconsistent. Now, you’ll be able can build a faster rhythm in your surfing. Who knows, it could even bring surfing to the Olympics. Regardless, it will undeniably bring more people into the surfing community. Wave pools could even start sprouting up like skateparks.

This is real. This is real. Snowdonia is real.

This is real. This is real. Snowdonia is real.

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