This year could see the opening of the first inland park exclusively for surfboarding in North America. NLand Surf Park is developing such a park on 159 acres near the airport in Austin, Texas, three hours from any coastline.
It will feature a 1,082-foot-long, 492-foot-wide lagoon, in which a hydrodynamic blade, or wave foil, will move underwater from one end to the other, creating waves up to six feet high and rides up to 35 seconds long, at a rate up to 300 waves per hour.
NLand’s Golden, Colo., address hints at who’s behind this effort: Doug Coors, of the brewing dynasty, an engineer and avid surfer. Coors told ThinkProgress that he’s been investigating wave technology for 15 years. Beyond that, Coors isn’t revealing much. No renderings or cost estimates had been released as of mid-December.
The history of surf parks, which dates back to the 1960s, is rife with false starts and flops. But Felip Verger, a spokesperson for Wavegarden, the Spain-based firm providing the wave foil technology, says NLand is “well under way,” under a site-development permit the city issued in June 2014.
The 10-year-old Wavegarden has 15 engineers and two architects on staff. It opened its first surf park, Surf Snowdonia, in northern Wales last August. That park’s 985-foot-long, 360-foot-wide lagoon accommodates up to 36 surfers simultaneously. News reports peg Surf Snowdonia’s cost at between £12million and £14 million, with financial support from the Welsh government.
The publicity around Wavegarden’s projects has raised questions about its technology, especially after mechanical problems forced Surf Snowdonia to close weeks before its season was supposed to end.
Greg Webber, Founder of Webber Wave Pools in Australia, claims that in order to increase the waves per hour it can produce, Wavegarden’s technology sacrifices ocean-like authenticity. Webber’s own technology—which has yet to get beyond renderings—involves a kind of underwater monorail driving computer-operated hydraulic hulls that alter the waves’ size, shape, draft, and angle.
Verger insists that Surf Snowdonia will reopen in March. Wavegarden is determined to open surf parks on five continents within the next five years. It has an exclusive agreement in Australia with Perth-based Wave Park Group, whose Founder, Andrew Ross, tells BD+C that he wants to have 10 surf parks operating by 2025. Ross estimates a 350x130-meter surf park would take a year to build and cost $14.5 million to $18.1 million, plus land costs.
Surfing is one of several sports that have been shortlisted for possible inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. And Wavegarden is one of several wave-making technologies vying for the International Olympic Committee’s attention.
A leader in this field is Murphys Waves, a 15-year-old manufacturer based in Glasgow, Scotland, that has installed 14 surf parks, including Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon. Its hydraulic Point Break Surf System can generate surfing waves as high as 11 feet, and offers computerized control of the wave’s right, left, and point breaks. Jim Stuart, its Sales Director, says Murphys Waves is working with a client in Malaysia on an Olympic Surf Competition System, which he wouldn’t talk about except to say it will produce waves up to 13 feet high.
American Wave Machines, Solana Beach, Calif., uses pneumatic air pressure to create waves in smaller pools that are scalable for different indoor and outdoor spaces, and are designed to maximize the number of rides per day. Founder Bruce McFarland says AWM’s technology will be deployed at the $3.7 billion American Dream entertainment complex being built in Secaucus, N.J.
American Wave Machines uses air pressure and digital controls to produce wave swells.
Transportation & Parking Facilities | Mar 23, 2023
Amsterdam debuts underwater bicycle parking facility that can accommodate over 4,000 bikes
In February, Amsterdam saw the opening of a new underwater bicycle parking facility. Located in the heart of the city—next to Amsterdam Central Station and under the river IJ (Amsterdam’s waterfront)—the facility, dubbed IJboulevard, has parking spots for over 4,000 bicycles, freeing up space on the street.
AEC Innovators | Mar 3, 2023
Meet BD+C's 2023 AEC Innovators
More than ever, AEC firms and their suppliers are wedding innovation with corporate responsibility. How they are addressing climate change usually gets the headlines. But as the following articles in our AEC Innovators package chronicle, companies are attempting to make an impact as well on the integrity of their supply chains, the reduction of construction waste, and answering calls for more affordable housing and homeless shelters. As often as not, these companies are partnering with municipalities and nonprofit interest groups to help guide their production.
AEC Tech Innovation | Jan 24, 2023
ConTech investment weathered last year’s shaky economy
Investment in construction technology (ConTech) hit $5.38 billion last year (less than a 1% falloff compared to 2021) from 228 deals, according to CEMEX Ventures’ estimates. The firm announced its top 50 construction technology startups of 2023.
Game Changers | Oct 4, 2019
Call to action: BD+C is looking for the industry’s next game-changing projects
Is your firm working on a project that could be the next advance in design, engineering, technology, or construction? If so, send us information about it for possible inclusion in our upcoming “Game Changers” feature.
Game Changers | Jan 17, 2019
The coming bonanza in marijuana facilities
AEC firms are rushing to fill orders for cannabis facilities in the 33 states where the sale of marijuana is now legal.
Game Changers | Jan 16, 2019
In the age of Amazon there's nowhere to go but up
Multistory warehouses could help speed ecommerce delivery in urban centers.
Game Changers | Jan 15, 2019
IPD super teams hit jackpot for clients
Meet the firms achieving double-digit returns using true, shared-risk, multi-party integrated project delivery.
Game Changers | Jan 9, 2019
Developers invest in mega amenities to draw top-notch tenants
As the competition for highly coveted tenants and patrons heats up, developers take the amenities arms race to new extremes.
Game Changers | Jan 17, 2018
Is farming ready to grow up?
Armed with the latest agri-tech and millions in VC funding, vertical farming startups believe they’ve cracked the code on indoor farming.
Game Changers | Jan 16, 2018
Shape shifters: Kinetic architecture allows buildings to perform beyond their intended purpose
Kinetic architecture can bring practical and aesthetic value to an already ambitious project.