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Unique technology opens up Olympic potential for surfing



Wave Pools

Surf Snowdonia launches world-first inland surf lagoon

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 31 July, 2015 - Surf Snowdonia, the world’s first ever publicly accessible Wavegarden® surfing lagoon, will open its doors to the public for the first time on Saturday August 1st 2015.

The globally anticipated inland surf lagoon has been developed at the village of Dolgarrog, in the Conwy Valley, North Wales. Its launch follows an ambitious 13-month construction schedule which saw the first spade go into the ground in June 2014.

The £12-million facility is the first facility of its kind that is capable of simultaneously generating waves for beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers. The Surf Snowdonia Surf Academy, headed up by current Welsh Surf Champion Jo Dennison, will offer coaching for all abilities from ages 5 and upwards.

Surf Snowdonia is also home to a 130-seater café bar, coffee shops, soft play area, retail space, camping village and 50-metre viewing gallery with free parking and admission. It is set to be a major destination for North Wales with in excess of 75,000 visitors anticipated every year.


Steve Davies, managing director of Surf Snowdonia, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be launching what we believe is the most exciting family destination in the UK.

“From Saturday August 1st we will be generating the longest man-made surfable waves on the planet in what is a spectacular 300-metre lagoon. And our surf-side dining, bar, retail and camping pod facilities mean you can come and be a part of the action without even getting wet.

“This is a world-first engineering project which has required the close collaboration of multi agencies and contractors and we’ve worked particularly closely with Natural Resources Wales to make it happen. The project is testament to the skill and dedication of all our partners and consultants that we’ve managed to deliver such a brilliant outcome.

“Surf Snowdonia is a huge economic success story for North Wales. We’ve employed double our initial estimated workforce, many of whom have come from local villages in the Conwy Valley, and we enhance what is an already compelling outdoor adventure tourism offer in North Wales.”




Game-changing surf technology

Surf Snowdonia’s technology is a ‘game changer’ in terms of making surfing accessible to a vastly increased audience, especially those with limited access to the sea. It removes the one barrier to the sport that all surfers regularly fall victim to – the unreliability of the swell.

It has been developed and refined over the last ten years by Spanish company Wavegarden®, a group of hydrological, civil and mechanical engineers who also happen to be passionate surfers. R&D spend to date is in the tens of millions of euros.

Wavegarden’s revolutionary technology will deliver the longest man-made surfable waves on the planet. The advanced wave will move at a speed of 6-7 metres per second and will peel for 150 metres – the equivalent of a 20-second ride.

The consistently powerful and perfectly formed waves will be 2m, 1.2m and 70cm high in different zones of the lagoon. They will be generated at a rate of one every minute. Up to 36 surfers will be able to use the 300m-long lagoon simultaneously.

Josema Odriozola, CEO of Wavegarden said: “We are very pleased with the waves being produced during the commissioning phase. Several professional surfers have ridden the expert wave and their feedback has been very positive especially with regard to the amount of speed and power the wave generates."

“This is enabling them to perform a variety of manoeuvres replicating a real wave experience”, Odriozola added.

Olympic potential

As the new technology is capable of delivering perfect waves every time, all the time, the new wave parks have the potential to host World Championship events and it also opens the door for Surfing to be included in major multi-sport events, including the Olympic Games.

In a campaign led by the International Surfing Association [ISA] – the global governing body for the sport – surfing is one of eight sports shortlisted for potential inclusion at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Fernando Aguerre, President of the International Surfing Association, said: “Pioneering and sustainable wave parks like Surf Snowdonia can be created almost anywhere in the world and the innovative, flexible and multi-use centres will open up surfing to many more fans and participants in urban and rural areas – helping to create great local long-term social and recreational benefits.

 “This breakthrough also highlights how surfing can be easily integrated into global multi-sport events and facilities like Surf Snowdonia can become the blueprint for competitive inland surfing venues at major sports events in the future.

“As we prepare to present our bid to the Tokyo 2020 team next month, it fills me with great confidence that a fantastic inland facility like Surf Snowdonia can showcase world-class surfing action and excite and enthuse the next generation of surfing participants and fans.”

Surf Snowdonia opens its doors at 8.30am on Saturday 1st August. The Wavegarden will operate from 10.00am until sunset, and the park will be open from 8.30am for breakfast through to last orders in the bar at 11pm, 7 days a week. 

Louise McWatt

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