Land-locked Austin, Texas, is set to unveil North America’s first outdoor surf park, NLand Surf Park, this Friday. The founder and CEO, Doug Coors (yes, the beer heir), both a surfer and an engineer, has spent the last 20 years bringing his dream to fruition.
NLand Surf Park partnered with Wavegarden, the company largely regarded as the leader in wave technology, to bring the surfing experience to Austin. The idea was to create a surfing destination, providing quality waves palatable to every level of surfer. With a nod to the environment, the park adheres to a self-sustaining format utilizing a rainwater catchment system for its water needs.
As the pioneer in North America for commercial use of simulated surf technology, the verdict is still out as to how the public will respond. Surfing icon, Kelly Slater, has his own version in the works set to launch sometime in the 2020’s. There do exist other indoor surfing products; Disney has had it’s own prototype, Typhoon Lagoon, for some time, among others.
Yet to be seen is if the skills in the “pool” are transferrable to the real thing. Sounds a bit reminesent of the surf movie “North Shore” where Rick Kane took his indoor wave park skills to the shores of Hawaii only to find riding the waves of the Ocean a lot different than he anticipated. Surprising no one.
Will artificial waves make an impact on pro surfing? Too early to tell, but the surfers that have tried NLand have all vouched for having a good time.