UK surfers have a new place to ride the waves in the unassuming location of the Conwy Valley in North Wales. Surf Snowdonia is a one-of-a-kind inland surf facility that claims to produce the "longest man-made surfable waves on the planet."
10 years in the making, Surf Snowdonia is the first Wavegarden surfing lagoon to be opened to the public. The £12 million (US$19 million) facility measures 300 x 120 m (984 x 394 ft) and is about the size of six soccer pitches.
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To create the waves, a snow plow-like machine, or "wavefoil," moves back and forth along an underwater track running the length of the lagoon. As the wavefoil moves, it generates a barreling wave on each side of the central divider.
The speed and size of waves produced by the Wavegarden technology can be controlled from a computer, with heights of 0.7 m (28 in), 1.2 m (47 in) and 2 m (79 in) possible. They are said to be powerful, consistent and able to hold their form over any distance, limited only by the length of the facility.
At Surf Snowdonia, the waves are able to peel for up to 150 m (492 ft). Different wave profiles are created at different points in the lagoon by way of contours on its bed. Up to 36 surfers can use the lagoon simultaneously, with waves produced at a rate of one per minute. The facility is filled with rainwater taken from neighboring mountain reservoirs.
Surf Snowdonia is built on the site of a former aluminum factory. Its construction saw the removal over 100 years-worth of heavy industrial waste, with 400 tonnes (441 US tons) of steel, cast iron and copper being recycled. Around 25,000 cu m (883,000 cu ft) of hardcore has also been recycled, with around 85 percent of it reported to have been used in the construction of the new facility.
Surf Snowdonia was constructed over a 13-month period and opened on Saturday, Aug. 1. The first Wavegarden project in the US will be located in Austin, Texas.
The video below shows surfers in action at the facility.