Outdoors

Ready to ride the big one? Surf Snowdonia artificial surf park opens in Wales

Ready to ride the big one? Sur...
To create the waves, a "wavefoil" moves back and forth along an underwater track running the length of the lagoon, generating a barrelling wave on each side of the central divider
To create the waves, a "wavefoil" moves back and forth along an underwater track running the length of the lagoon, generating a barrelling wave on each side of the central divider
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Up to 36 surfers can use the lagoon simultaneously, with waves produced at a rate of one per minute
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Up to 36 surfers can use the lagoon simultaneously, with waves produced at a rate of one per minute
The waves are able to peel for up to 150 m (492 ft), with different wave profiles created at different points in the lagoon by way of contours on the lagoon bed
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The waves are able to peel for up to 150 m (492 ft), with different wave profiles created at different points in the lagoon by way of contours on the lagoon bed
The speed and size of waves produced by the Wavegarden technology can be controlled from a computer
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The speed and size of waves produced by the Wavegarden technology can be controlled from a computer
To create the waves, a "wavefoil" moves back and forth along an underwater track running the length of the lagoon, generating a barrelling wave on each side of the central divider
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To create the waves, a "wavefoil" moves back and forth along an underwater track running the length of the lagoon, generating a barrelling wave on each side of the central divider
A central divider splits the lagoon into two sections and covers the wavefoil
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A central divider splits the lagoon into two sections and covers the wavefoil

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.

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.

The speed and size of waves produced by the Wavegarden technology can be controlled from a computer
The speed and size of waves produced by the Wavegarden technology can be controlled from a computer

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.

Source: Surf Snowdonia, Wavegarden

6 comments
Billy Sharpstick
Looks like fun. What happens when the surfer is not paying attention and moves toward the center where those metal frames are?
Bob Flint
I would be more concerned about encountering the moving foil during a fall.
jayedwin98020
He/she kisses his butt, goodbye.
sk8dad
Looks like there is a grating of some sort along the entire length of the rail. Surfers would steer away from it anyway just like avoiding rocks and other surfers in a real break.
RoGuE_StreaK
Initially looks pretty awesome, but then I noticed just how close the curl is to the posts (see 1:15); unless you are right in the pocket or back in the foam it seems way to close for my liking, want to be able to speed right out to the shoulder and cut back, not collide with a post
JPAR
Great, so rather than utilising wave energy to reduce our reliance of fossil fuel, we've now developed a way to do the exact opposite!