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Engineers submit plans for NLand-to-Kelly-Slater-Wave transformation

The transformation of NLand’s Wavegarden Lagoon tech into Kelly Slater Wave Company tech took a leap forward this week. Engineering firm Carlson Brigance and Doering Inc. formally introduced their plans to the city of Austin. The plans call for the retrofitting and transformation of NLand into a facility like the Surf Ranch in Lemoore California. It’s a huge project, and the city must still approve the plans.

The WSL purchased Doug Coors’ NLand wave pool through their Tumbleweed Opco, a Delaware-registered LLC. In the middle is the Kelly Slater Wave Co who operates Tumbleweed. According to an article by ATX Real Estate, Delaware corporation records show that Tumbleweed Opco LLC was formed Dec. 11, just 12 days prior to the sale of NLand which occurred on Dec. 23.

The WSL is aggressively building KSWC facilities globally but has faced major setbacks in Florida and Japan.

Plans for the Florida pool were scrapped earlier this year. The WSL didn’t specify but speculation is that either water table, environmental or cranky neighbours killed the Gator State’s version of Surf Ranch.

The Surf Ranch in Lemoore has two narrow lagoons side by side (only one is used). While NLand (further down this page) has a shorter, wider surf lagoon. Image Google Earth

One source told us the WSL rushed the project in Japan in hopes of hosting the 2020 Olympic surfing event at their newly minted pool. However, key Olympic stakeholders said that a location shift from the ocean to a wave system is too big a change to contemplate less than two years before the Olympic Games.

Most recently those entertaining the notion of the Paris 2024 Olympics happening in a pool had their hopes dashed when the Olympic committee confirmed that surfing must remain salted for all Olympic competitions.

As wave pools proliferate around the world many are finding it more difficult to build a pool from scratch. Most recently Cheyne Magnusson and company purchased a shuttered waterpark and wave pool to take advantage of already-in-place-permitting.

NLand wave pool
Original artist mock-up for NLand in 2015

NLand’s Brief History

NLand Surf Park opened in October 2016 in Austin, the American city home to a thriving tech and music scene. Doug Coors and company entertained a variety of wave-generating technologies before deciding on Wavegarden’s Lagoon wave pool.

NLand overcame several obstacles inherent in being the first wave pool in America. They boxed with county officials who wanted to strap the 14-acre lagoon with the same regulations as a public swimming pool. Construction also hit a snag when a tear in the liner flooded nearby neighbors, many of whom weren’t happy to see a wave pool in their neighborhood.

NLand found mixed reaction when opening. Many surfers loved the wave but felt it wasn’t challenging enough. Others, mostly newbies, espoused what a fun set up the whole enterprise is, solidifying the park’s reputation as a family-friendly surf destination..


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