Finally. The wait is over. After a series of legal snags, and numerous delays, NLand Surf Park in Austin, Texas is set to open Friday October 7.
This is historic. NLand represents the first Wavegarden technology to open to the public in North America. The Wavegarden has been tested at the company’s research and development facility in Spain, and implemented at Surf Snowdonia in Wales, with more locations planned for the US, as well as others in Africa, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East.
“Today’s announcement comes after NLand reached an agreement with local and state officials over how to regulate the lagoon, a 14-acre body of water with more than 11 million gallons of rainwater collected from the property,” the company said in a press release.
Controversy surrounded how regulators would define the park – officials calling it a ‘pool’, and the folks at NLand calling it a ‘lagoon’. The distinction seems insignificant, but the legal repercussions of the NLand facility qualifying as a pool would have meant treating the water with the same types of chemicals as a public pool. That would have placed a financial burden on the park making the venture not viable. Based on the language used in the press release, it seems ‘lagoon’ won out.
Because NLand is the first of its kind in the US, it’s understandable the park would face certain regulatory hurdles. “NLand represents innovation in technology, sustainability and sport,” said Travis County Commissioner Margaret Gómez. “While this innovation outpaced regulation, I am glad an agreement was reached as this project represents the best of Austin.”
“This is an historic moment for surfers around the globe as our second Wavegarden facility is launched,” said Wavegarden CEO Josema Odriozola. “Together, we have scaled this project to a level never before seen.”
According to NLand’s website, prices will range from $60-$90 a pop. $60 to surf the “inside wave”, and $90 to surf the “reef wave”. It’s unclear on the pricing list how long a single session will be, and how many additional riders will be allowed to surf the wave at the same time.
The opening of the park will further debate about how surfers value waves, and whether wave pool surfing is real surfing. Still, while arguments rage on, one thing’s clear. Austin has solidified itself as a bonafide surf destination.