Stories Wave Garden

Published on July 21st, 2017 | by RB Team

Photo by Wave Garden |  0

No River, No Problem? Wave Garden – The Alternative for Landlocked Surfers

Over the last couple of years, landlocked surfing has received some significant investment from local wave initiatives and leisure companies trying to bring surfing to areas that don’t have the luxury of being near the coast or access to river waves. Thanks to the hard work of wave designers, landlocked surfers now even find waves as far away from the ocean as in Bend, Oregon or even Denver, Colorado.

Back in 2013, Neil Egsgard wrote an article describing the anatomy of a river wave. With the introduction of more surfing facilities, we wanted to take a look at how the construction of new surf lagoons differs to river waves and also how popular they are. For this article, we have teamed up with Pumping Solutions, the experts who helped to design and install the pump system at Surf Snowdonia.

The world’s first surf lagoon, Surf Snowdonia, was first opened in 2015 in Dolgarrog, Wales. The park is the result of 10 years worth of research and development by, the Spanish company, Wave Garden.

Wave Garden’s goal was to create ideal surfing conditions for everyone, especially those in landlocked locations, to recreate the experience of surfing an ocean wave and to improve on some aspects of ocean surfing such as overcrowding and poor surf.

Surf Snowdonia Wave Garden – The technology behind the waves

Surf Snowdonia is a 300m long, 110m wide fresh water lagoon that uses an angled wave foil to generate perfectly formed waves. The wave foil looks similar to a snow plow, but the specifics of the technology is a closely guarded secret. Because there’s no natural flow to rely on, one needs to be created.

Surf Snowdonia’s wave foil is dragged through the water by a pulley system that spans the two machine towers in the centre of the lagoon. This displaces a large amount of water, which then interacts with the contours of the lagoon to generate perfect, consistent, rolling waves. The contours in the bottom of the lagoon keeps the size of the waves controlled in different sections of the lagoon. This means there’s a wave or everyone from whitewater for beginners to 2 metre high waves for more experienced surfers or even pros.

The waves in the lagoon peel perfectly for a 20 second, 150 metre, ride before dissipating when they hit the grated shores. Because the waves are so uniform, breaking in the same place every time, it makes it the perfect environment for learning to surf or refining specific moves.

There is 6 million gallons of water in the lagoon and because there’s no natural flow of water coming into and out of the lagoon, the water needs to be cleaned and recirculated in another way. Rather than using chemicals to clean the water, it’s pumped out of the lagoon and passed through a UV cleaning system every 24 hours. Alongside other contractors, Pumping Solutions helped to design and install the pump system that circulates the water.

Since the site first opened in 2015 it’s gained a massive amount of interest with over 150,000 visitors to Surf Snowdonia in the first year alone. It’s also attracted some high-profile events such as Red Bull Unleashed in 2015 and the UK Pro Surf Tour in 2016.

With the popularity of Surf Snowdonia, it’s no surprise that Wave Garden are currently working on an additional 19 sites to add to the 3 that already exist. With technology always evolving, it will be interesting to see how things change. One thing is for sure though, the quest for bringing surfing to landlocked areas has only just begun.

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RB Team

The editorial team of Riverbreak is a loose connection of passionate river surfers. As a group, we strive to give the larger community a voice on an international level. Our mission is to connect river surfer around the globe.



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