Austin's NLand Surf Park is making waves—literally. Its artificial lagoon is the first of its kind in North America, and the largest in the world. And it appears to be 'catching a wave' of renewed interest in the sport.
The Austin installation is a collaboration between Doug Coors, an engineer and beer heir, and WaveGarden, the company that developed the first practical large-scale artificial surf machine.
Because the waves are artificially created, they can be controlled, making an ideal situation for newbies and for training in different kinds of waves...you can have the same wave come at you over and over, or go through a progressively trickier sequence.
Inland surfing is attracting pros as well as newcomers; Surf Snowdonia, in England, the first modern man-made surf facility will host an event on the UK Pro Surf Tour this year, the first time an artificial lagoon has been sanctioned by a competitive circuit.
Even more growth is expected in coming years, since surfing is set to become an Olympic sport in 2020.