Surf’s up ... in Austin, dude!

Riding high.
Riding high. Courtesy

That’s right. In landlocked Central Texas. Guess it figures that if North America’s first inland surfing destination had to be anywhere it would be in Austin. Kinda weird.

NLand Surf Park, a 14-acre man-made lagoon featuring world-class waves, according to a company news release, opened Friday in the heart of the Texas Hill Country 10 minutes east of Austin’s airport off Texas 71.

The lagoon features head-high barreling waves with a 30-second ride for expert surfers, less intense waves for novices, and gentle ones for children and beginners, spokesman Chris Jones said in the release. Equivalent to nine football fields, it can accommodate 120 or more surfers at a time.

"Bringing surfing to the Texas Hill Country has resonated with surfers around the globe. We are humbled,” Jones said in an email Tuesday after the weekend opening. “Austin's new home break was teaming with seasoned surfers, kids and new surfers. They all left the lagoon with big smiles.”

The park was built by Austin-based NLand in partnership with the Spanish firm Wavegarden, founded by engineer Josema Odriozola and sports economist Karin Frisch, who had previously teamed up to build skate parks. The pair built the company’s first surf park, Surf Snowdonia, a year ago in Britain.

"As a surfer and an engineer, NLand has been a dream of mine for the past 20 years,” NLand founder and Colorado beer heir Doug Coors said in the news release. “We have had our share of challenges, but they are behind us and I look forward to sharing our waves with the world."

Among the challenges was a series of lawsuits filed in Travis County state and federal courts dealing with health and safety, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The two sides reached a deal three days before the park was to open in which NLand agreed to send the county daily water-quality reports.

The self-sustaining lagoon contains more than 11 million gallons of rainwater collected from the property. The rainwater is channeled to a wet pond where it’s bio-filtered by algae and fish before it moves to a reservoir and through the filtration system for treatment, the company says.

"My family has a rich history of water conservation and environmental stewardship. I am proud to continue that tradition of innovation and sustainability,” Coors said in the release.

For the serious surfer, SurferToday put out a bullet list of things you should know about the surf park, for example: “The technology behind Wavegarden is based on the movement of a blade called a wave foil.”

For starters, the park will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Mondays.

Surf’s up! In the Hill Country!

Tom Uhler: 817-390-7832, @tomuh