After months of media hype that culminated with Albee Layer’s win at the Red Bull Unleashed event, the manmade peaks in Wales’ Surf Snowdonia wave park have been put on hiatus. According to officials from Surf Snowdonia, the machine that generates the left-and-right-hand lineup suffered a serious malfunction recently, forcing the company to cease all operations until spring while repairs are made.
“This is a very disappointing day for us all at Surf Snowdonia, and we know it’s especially difficult for our excellent staff and for all of the people who have booked to come surfing with us,” Martin Ainscough, Surf Snowdonia’s owner, told the BBC.
Since debuting earlier this year, Surf Snowdonia—which utilizes Wavegarden technology—has garnered praise from some surfers and has left many pundits believing that a decent manmade lineup has finally arrived.
“Yeah, I think it’s going to change things. I was pretty skeptical at first and thought it was going to be more of a novelty, but after surfing it for a few days, I was a believer,” said Albee Layer, following his win at the aforementioned Red Bull event. “The more we— all of the guys in the event— surfed it, the better we got. If they could make a few more tweaks to it— maybe make it a little bit bigger and engineer some sections— I think there’s definitely something there.”
While the the news that the park won’t pump out sets is sure to disappoint surfers who already booked stays at the venue, the gravity of the situation is much more severe for the 60 seasonal workers and eight full-time staffers who were terminated as a result of the temporary closure.
This latest malfunction was by no means the first snafu to plague Surf Snowdonia. Since it opened at the end of July, the company has closed twice — once to repair a tear in the liner and another for an additional mechanical failure.
While this latest news has dealt a gut punch, the organization remains optimistic that, when it re-opens, logistics will run smoothly.
“During the winter closure period, we will be making further investment in order to improve the surf lagoon and broaden our offer,” added Ainscough. “Surf Snowdonia was always intended as a longterm investment in our group and our extra investment over the winter will prove our absolute commitment to make Surf Snowdonia a success.”