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7 clips that show our collective stoke for the NLand wave pool

Premature retrospective? We look at NLand, America’s OG Wave Pool, as it changes hands…

After Surf Snowdonia opened their doors in Wales, America threw out a collective shout of “Us Too!” Doug Coors fulfilled our wish by purchasing160 acres of land in Austin Texas. When he flipped the switch, launching the Wavegarden hydrofoil and throwing out the first freshwater surf in Texas, the world oohed and aahed and came running.

Veteran surf travelers, the surf industry, curiosity seekers, surf teams and frothing office jockeys visited the new wave pool. And while they enjoyed the microbrews, music, Austin ambiance and surf coaching, they didn’t see that Coors was busy stamping the commercial blueprint for future wave pool developments with a model focused on wave-riding learners.

The Purchase

As news comes that the WSL has purchased NLand via a subsidiary of KSWC called Tumbleweed Opco, online pundits speculate a sister wave to Lemoore is in the works.

What does this mean for the legions of soft-tops? The same surf media has lamented the first generation Wavegarden lagoon tech as the wave pool equivalent of a Betamax video player and expect to see a KSWC wave pool device installed pronto.

Last year the WSL went to great lengths to have the surf media session and bro-down at Kelly’s. Soon enough, NLand got compared to Kelly’s in global digital media. But it’s not Kelly’s. It’s NLand. That’s not a bad thing, as many recent articles would suggest.

Be Kind Rewind

So as we do a retrospective of NLand, let’s look at the Wavegarden Lagoon tech not as a pool solely for pros and advanced surfers, but as the fun, rip-able wave it is.

“Is the wave Lances Right? No, of course not,” says veteran journalist and Boardroom Show CEO Scott Bass. “An open mind is required. A free spirit. NLand Surf Park offers fun, exciting, rippable stomach to chest high waves. What’s not too like?”

We’ve chosen a handful of highlight videos to show you why NLand fired America’s wave pool curiosity and stoke.

Wavegarden debuts NLand

Creators of NLand’s wave, Wavegarden, released this clip when the park debuted. “In mid-2016 under the intense heat of the northern hemisphere sun, we began testing the waves at our second public facility, NLand, in Austin, Texas,” said Wavegarden.

In what has become common practice in wave pool launch clips, Wavegarden illustrates how wide the appeal of the technology truly is, stating: “The lucky test pilots include a handful of seasoned pros, a couple of frothing grommets, and a bunch of newcomers to the sport.”

Alt Craft at NLand

NLand is (was) well-suited for longboards and alternative craft. Legendary shaper Matt Biolos said, “I’ve found that you really want a board with built-in momentum and drive. This means lower rocker, fish-type boards, or longer, more relaxed rocker boards. A little Weight actually helps here. It adds momentum. You really want to keep constant forward drive here. Fun shapes, mid-lengths, and fish do well.”

In this surfer-focused clip, Isaac Wood rides a longboard and an egg shape at NLand. The stylish regular foot weaves through a field of soft top newbies on rights that last for 45 seconds.

Lost Team at NLand

Jett Schilling, Eli Hanneman, Eric Geiselman and shaper Matt Biolos tour the Austin facility in this fun, fast rave-up featuring music by Tunnel Vision.
“We brought the athletes here to show what really can be done,” says Matt Biolos. “The little guys were just going crazy, throwing tail. Eric (Geiselman) with his power and control was riding the waves start-to-finish.”

Surfcam with Dillon Perillo and Michael Dunphy

Dillon Perillo and Michael Dunphy rip in this static cam epic one-hour-plus edit pilfered from the Surfline cams. The clip offers a good view of how the waves spread out through the lagoon as the Wavegarden foil races down the track.

Freshwater Cowboys

Surfer Magazine took a handful of pros and bros to NLand when it was the only surf 2.0 pool in America. Albee Layer and Torrey Meister rip through the 12-million gallon facility as NLand spokesperson Chris Jones walks us through all the stats.

Reefahholic at NLand

In May of last year, surf-stoked YouTuber Reefahholic toured NLand and brought us on board for his experience. In the 12-minute clip, he gives us a rundown of equipment he and other surfers are using so we get a feel for what works at a Wavegarden Lagoon facility.

“I woke up yesterday and randomly decided to surf NLand,” says Reefahholic. “Very unique experience and I had a great time. Park was clean, well staffed, and people were friendly. Beautiful place. The whole time it kinda felt like it was a dream. The stoke was different as opposed to a session at the beach. There were a lot of pros and cons. I’d definitely go back, but nothing beats real beach waves. Overall my experience was positive, but it seemed a lot of people had mixed feelings. To say the least, it’s not what you’d expect. The hour goes by quickly.”

From baseball & volleyball to surfing – one journey

Madison tried surfing for the first time at NLand. This clip follows her through the paces of learning to surf in a freshwater lagoon. From dry-land pop-up practice to graduating from a foamy SUP to a 9-foot learner board, Madison explains the trials and tribulations of learning to surf.

Ion Eizaguirre black and white jazz wollup

A slow two minutes of Ion Eizaguirre in Black and White set to jazz is a refreshing clip. While surf clip status quo is faster-than-thou pop punk and over affected indy pop, this clip soothes with the jazz standard “All of Me.” It’s an appropriate way to close out this article reflecting on NLand’s impact on the world of wave pools.


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