It's been more than three years since Wavegarden first debuted their man-made lineup in a Spanish forest to the surfing world. In the ensuing time, we've seen the likes of some of the world's best surfers cut their fins into the wave's freshwater face, leaving you hard-pressed to find a surfer alive who wasn't eager--or at the least curious--to test out the peak themselves. And now, construction is nearly underway to break ground on the first Wavegarden that will be open to the public.
A company called Conwy Adventure Leisure has signed a contract and made a significant seven-figure payment to Wavegarden to use their technology in their upcoming venture. The multi-million dollar surf park, known as Surf Snowdonia (Snowdonia is the name of a nearby national park) will feature a 300-meter-long and 113-meter-wide lagoon, mimicking the layout of the Wavegarden testing facility in Spain, but will hold three peaks: advanced, intermediate, and beginner. But unlike the two-foot waves featured in the Basque testing location, this model is said to be capable of producing almost a 6-foot wave every 60 seconds. The company is gearing up to begin construction as early as next month and hopes to attract more than 70,000 visitors annually.
Progress on the project has been delayed in the past due to ecological issues, but with construction about to begin, the company is very confident that the park could be open as soon as summer 2015. In addition to the Wavegarden, the park will also feature a café, restaurant, bar, and access to numerous woodland trails that line the area.
Andy Ainscough, director of Conwy Adventure, hopes the park will not only benefit surfers, but the nearby town of Dolgarrog as well. In 2007, the town's aluminum factory closed. The factory, which occupied the same ground as the surf park, had been a focal point for the area for more than 100 years. More than 70 jobs were lost and the plant's closing has reportedly tugged at the growth of the town.
"The factory had been the heart of the village for over 100 years and since 2008 the 55-acre site has sat empty with only small piles of concrete rubble to look at. Understandably, the village was eager for something positive to happen and have been very supportive of the Wavegarden concept," said Ainscough. "This will bring jobs and lots of extra people passing through the village and spending their money in the shops. We're also looking to accommodate the local schools with special offers and offer discounted rates to locals where possible. We also hope that our restaurant will act as a central hub for the village especially as the village pub closed just recently."
Surfing is a valuable commodity, whether in an ocean or not.