A few weeks ago, a couple of us took a trip to Austin, Texas, to go surfing, which felt odd. Austin’s a beautiful city, full of smiling people, incredible amounts of meat, and not nearly as many fat people as I’d imagined. On the outskirts of town, just beyond the airport and surrounded in millions upon millions of angry fire ants, is NLand. It is not a place to wear flip flops, because the fire ants have an insatiable appetite for toes and ankles. It is, however, a place to surf. And people are surfing–not right now, of course, because they’re shut down for maintenance. But they will open again, and people will surf there. When we were there, the pool was packed, and the schedule was full to capacity for the foreseeable future. Need proof? Look no further than Surf Snowdonia, the UK wave pool that has been plagued by problems since the day they opened the doors. Despite angry locals and numerous mechanical issues, Surf Snowdonia was hugely successful in its first year.
According to WaveLength Magazine, somewhere around 150,000 people surfed at Surf Snowdonia in its first season. That’s more than twice what was expected, and although most of the visitors are from the UK, nearly 20,000 came from overseas.