Good news for all you landlocked surfers living in the U.K.: A company by the name of Wavegarden has recently finished construction of Surf Snowdonia; one of the world’s biggest artificial wave parks. Located in a small mountain town in Wales, the massive facility is supposedly capable of generating “the longest man-made surfable waves on the planet” — and it just opened for business this month.
The park, which took about 10 years and $20 million to complete, is unlike any wave pool you’ve ever seen before. In addition to the fact that it’s far, far bigger than most other inland surf parks (approximately 387,700 square feet), it also generates waves in a completely different way.
To create these huge, barreling waves, the park uses Wavegarden’s patented “wavefoil” technology, which basically works like a giant underwater snow plow. This plow head moves along a submerged track that runs down the center of the pool. As it does this, the wavefoil’s shape causes two large, tubular waves to break away on either side of the central divider. Check out the video to see it in action.
Once created, the waves travel along the length of the pool (300 meters, or about 984 feet), allowing surfers to catch a ride at any point. But the length of the waves isn’t even the most impressive part of all this. Arguably more amazing is the fact that the amplitude and frequency of each wave can be controlled with a computer.
Wavegarden’s system allows park operators to generate waves in three different sizes. There’s a 0.7 meter setting for beginner waves, a 1.2 meter setting for intermediate ones, and advanced setting that generates big 2 meter swells (that’s 2.3 feet, 3.9 feet, and 6.5 feet respectively). The wavefoil can even create different size waves — simultaneously — on either side of the central divide.
Armed with this technology, Surf Snowdonia can cater to surfers of all skill levels. Learners can take lessons on one side while thrill-seeking pros rip giant tubes on the other. And of course, there’s plenty to do outside the pool to keep you entertained as well. The park boasts a restaurant, bar, café, gift shop, and on-site camping, so it’s basically like a ski resort for surfers.
Wavegarden is currently working on a number of other artificial wave parks across the globe (including one in Austin, Texas!), but for the time being, you’ll need to book a trip to Wales to get your inland surfing fix.