BSR kicks off 2021 season with changes on tap
While Urbnsurf Melbourne has the curated chic of the Three Blue Ducks restaurant, BSR has BYO barbecue pits. Yes, Waco’s favorite wave is notoriously low on amenities when compared to other surf parks around the world. But that’s changing. As the home of the Freak Peak wakes from its January/February hibernation to fire up the 2021 season, we spoke with Mike Schwaab incoming General Manager for BSR Surf Resort. He gives us a quick glimpse of what surfers can expect at America’s busiest wave pool.
Tell us a little bit about yourself Michael
I got into the surf industry almost ten years ago out in Sydney working for O’Neill Australia, and haven’t really left the industry since! I made my way back to the US with a stint in Hawaii working for Hinano Hawaii (the Tahitian beer’s clothing subsidiary), and then made my way out to Waco- it’s been a wild ride.
Texas is totally opened up compared to some other states in the US, will this affect your business?
You’re opening up with the heavy questions! To be perfectly honest, we see ourselves as a “surf travel destination” that is lucky enough to be located in Texas, so we rely more on national consensus than local mandate when defining our COVID protocols. It seems like most local businesses (both small businesses and large chains) around Waco haven’t changed their COVID policies either, so it’s not like we’re the outliers in the area.
What is different surf-wise at BSR this year?
One of our main focuses this year for surf is improving the overall guest experience. We have big plans throughout the resort and it’ll be an ongoing process, but we already know that everyone that steps into that pool comes out absolutely frothing, so we want to start building up the rest of the on-property experience for those times when you’re not hacking your way down the line.
How far in advance are sessions booking out?
April booked out quickly, to the point that we decided to extend some hours and open additional sessions on some days. As you know, whether it’s in the ocean or in the pool, waves are a finite resource, so we’re doing our best to ensure that we can get as many smiling faces through these doors as possible.
Has BSR Surf Resort officially changed ownership? If true will this change anything?
It’s close! And yeah, for sure! This new ownership team really wants to focus on a comprehensive guest experience out here. There are a bunch of easy additions like a food and beverage program, as well as being able to offer a more well-rounded experience for our guests that includes all of the crazy fun attractions that are already here at the park (including some that have historically not been available to the public). This new ownership group is made up of a bunch of surfers that fell in love with this place after coming out to surf, and they saw how much opportunity there was to add to the stoke factor outside of the water. You’ll definitely see ongoing projects happening over the next few months, with the plan that by season open in 2022 this place is firing on all cylinders.
What advice would you give to our readers planning to visit BSR Surf Resort?
Honestly, it sounds cheesy, but get out here. I absolutely 100% remember my first wave here, and that’s the consensus from all the guests that I speak with. There’s a reason that we have such a large returning clientele, and that’s because this place really is magical. I still can’t believe that I get the opportunity to work here; the crew is amazing, the central Texas surf experience is well-and-truly unique, and every day I suck at surfing less. Win-win-win!