Surf parks in Wales

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A multi-million pound wave garden has recently been given the go ahead in the Conwy Valley.

The Surf Snowdonia site will be located at a former aluminium factory in Dolgarrog and also feature a wakeboarding lake.

A multi-million pound surf attraction in the Conwy Valley.

It's exciting news for landlocked surfers in mid and north Wales as well as those living in nearby Liverpool and Manchester who previously had to travel to Anglesey or the Llyn Peninsula in search of waves.

The lagoon will offer a maximum wave height of 1.9 metres, well over six feet and could open as early as summer 2014.

Using Wavegarden technology these parks claim to be able to generate 'perfectly formed tubing waves that peel for more than 220m without losing power or shape'.  

This is something most UK surfers can only dream about, usually having to battle against large tides, howling onshore winds and sea waves that close-out quickly.

The company behind the technology have a test site in northern Spain and plan to develop another UK site across the River Severn in Bristol

Over the last 10 years, surf parks globally have become hugely popular - overcoming geographical limitations and the unpredictability of quality wave conditions.

They can now be found all over the world, even in deserts such as Wadi Adventure in the United Aran Emirates where Pembrokeshire surfer and owner of Outer Reef Surf School, Dean Gough found himself working as a surfing instructor - surrounded by camels and boardshorts.

In 2009 the LC2 in Swansea opened its doors with a wave pool and surf machine, known as the Boardrider which incorporated the world’s first deep water standing wave machine.

Meanwhile in May 2013 a Flow Rider machine opened at Cardiff International White Water which is expected to attract 18,000 visitors a year. Watch Radio Wales' Wynne Evans in action as he took on the Flow Rider.

Flow Rider machines originate in the U.S. but are now popping up all over the place, from five-star country hotels to onboard luxury cruise ships.

The sport has the look of surfing, the ride of snowboarding and is performed on something resembling a wakeboard/body board.

While these technologies can never replace surfing in the open ocean, they are already proving hugely popular with landlocked surfers, snowboarders, skaters and visitors to Wales wanting to try something different, which doesn't take a lifetime to master.

And if this summer is anything to go by (with the Irish Sea turning into a lake) coastal surfers might all be heading inland too.

Surfing is now ranked in the top 20 most popular and fastest growing sports in all countries, cultures and demographics.

Perhaps this is just the start of things to come, as more and more people who don't have easy access to the coast, attempt to capture the stoke that only surfing can provide. 

And if you’re an old school surfer who still enjoys the odd nasal douche and irritating wetsuit rub, you can find plenty of excellent surfing beaches, right across Wales for free – apart from the obligatory summer car parking charges.

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