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Fish out of Water - January 2017

NLand Surf Park Brings the Ocean to Central Texas

by Keith Miller

The name Coors became legendary after Adolph Coors founded the famous brewery, the Adolph Coors Company, in Golden, Colorado, more than 140 years ago. Now, one of his progenitors, Doug Coors, has launched an endeavor that may bring new prominence to the family name, but this time in a completely different arena: surfing.

Late last year, the 160-acre NLand Surf Park opened in Austin, Texas—the first true inland surfing resort in North America, and the result of a 20-year effort by Coors, an engineer and the park’s founder and CEO, to bring perfectly breaking on-demand surfing waves to an inland location. Now, guests can experience constant surfing waves in the park’s 14-acre lagoon.

NLand offers waves of varying types, heights, duration, and difficulty. Reef Waves are steep, high-performance, six-foot-high waves that provide a 35-second ride. Inside Waves are what NLand refers to as its “party wave,” on which friends can catch a long ride together and perfect their turns. Bay Waves are playful white-water swells intended for new surfers and juniors. A surfboard is offered by the park for braving all three wave types. Whether one is an expert wave rider, an occasional surfer, or a first timer, NLand wants to be the go-to place for catching breaks.

“In a single session, guests can catch anywhere from five to 12 waves on our high-performance Reef Wave, and upwards of 20 waves on the Inside Wave,” says Bob Logan, the park’s operations manager. “It means they enjoy more time surfing than they’d experience at many ocean breaks.”

NLand worked with Wavegarden, headquartered near San Sebastián in northern Spain, to create generators that rapidly produce different surfing waves. Further, Coors wanted to ensure NLand would not use Austin’s water resources and could continue to operate even during drought conditions. His team engineered a catchment system that allows the park to sustain itself.  Rainwater is routed into a pond and biofiltered by algae and fish prior to being fed through a filtration system.

Though Central Texas may not be known as a surfer’s paradise, NLand believes it’s an ideal location for the surf park. “Austin has the perfect blend of attributes for a project like this,” says Logan. “Austinites love the outdoors and are active and embrace innovation. Austin’s temperate climate means surfing can happen year-round. The city enjoys 300 days of sunshine each year, and it’s growing by leaps and bounds.”

NLand appeals to a broad range of demographics to maximize its success. Non-surfers can purchase shore passes to watch the action from the park’s pier, on the beach, or even along the lagoon’s shore. The park has a capacity of around 120 people surfing simultaneously and accommodates many more along the shoreline and pier. Says Logan, “Even if you aren’t a surfer, NLand is a unique place to kick back, soak in the views, and enjoy the music with family and friends.” 


NLand Offers Extensive Surf Coaching

NLand Surf Park doesn’t want to just be where surfing addicts go to hang out; it wants to also be a place where people can learn to surf and improve their skills, far from the ocean. The center boasts world-class instructors and offers a variety of coaching sessions and clinics for all skill levels. Here are a few of them:

  • Learn-to-Surf Coaching: Instructs with a fun, interactive, 90-minute introduction to surfing for juniors, ages 8-14. Children begin with 30 minutes of dry land training, then hit the waves for their first ride. Kids ages 5-8 may surf with a private coach.
  • New Surfer Coaching: Teaches fundamentals like board balance, paddling, and popups. By the end of the session, students catch their first ride on whitewater Bay Waves.
  • Level One & Two Coaching: Improves mastery of fundamentals such as paddling and pop ups, and teaches new skills like turns and Eskimo rolls, and fosters the move to more agile longboards and funboards.
  • Ocean Surfing Clinic: Prepares surfers for waves in various ocean conditions across the globe. They learn how to duck dive, exit a rip current, navigate a lineup, and handle rogue waves.
  • Catch More Waves Clinic: Teaches the art and science of moving in the water.
  • Reef Wave Coaching: Focuses on Reef Waves and is reserved for private sessions with one to two surfers. The Reef Wave is one of the most consistent, high-powered breaks in North America.