The first inland surf park is making its debut in North America, and it’s happened right here in Central Texas.
KVUE was at the grand opening of the NLand Surf Park in Del Valle on Friday.
Avid surfers were seen riding the waves that traveled up to 6 feet high in the 160-acre park.
“I didn’t know what to expect when I came here. Now that I came here, it blew my mind, because you can catch a wave every four minutes,” said Austin resident Chalet Arnold.
The owner, who has a background in engineering, said creating these man-made waves required some interesting technology.
“There is a snow plow underneath the water, that snow plow is being dragged through the water, creates a ball, and we shake the bottom of the lagoon to essentially create perfect waves,” said Doug Coors, NLand Surf Park CEO.
The park also offers lessons for surfers of all levels, so even beginners can learn the basics in a controlled environment, and they don’t have to worry about sharks, jellyfish or other sea creatures.
“It’s a little pricey, but I could see myself coming out here a lot,” said Austin resident Cody Cowart.
Surfing at NLand costs anywhere from $60 to $90 a session.
To keep people safe, the company also has about 20 to 30 lifeguards on watch.
However, the opening of the giant park did not come without hurdles. Travis County officials were previously concerns about the water quality at the lagoon.
Travis County and NLand were arguing over whether the 14-acre body of water at the surf park should be regulated as a swimming pool or a lagoon.
Attorneys for NLand sued the county this past summer, saying their lagoon, which is 45 times larger than swimming pool, should not have to meet the same standards as a pool. They settled the suit earlier this week.
The county’s environmental quality program manager said he has come to an agreement with NLand to ensure the water quality is safe for everyone.
“The chlorine needs to be in levels comparable to other swimming pools, we want the water clarity to be comparable to other swimming pools, and we additionally added a requirement to sample for E.coli and we want the E.coli to one-half that standard that’s set by the state for rivers and streams, and lakes,” said Travis Weber, Travis County Environmental Quality Program Manager.
In the past, there were similar instances in other states where large man-made bodies of moving water caused illnesses and even death, which is why this is a cause for concern.
NLand’s Spokesperson Chris Jones said the lagoon is made up of rain water that is bio-filtered and thoroughly treated with ozone and chlorine, so it should be safe for everyone.