Find out why BSR changed its name to Waco Surf
Today, after two years of transition, BSR Surf Resort is now officially Waco Surf and open for the 2022 season. Guiding the transition from a wave tank with minimal amenities to a more sophisticated user experience has been Mike Schwaab, (not to be confused with Michael Schwab of Kelly’s technology and Coral Mountain.) Mike’s an energetic character who addresses us “dude” in emails – it’s sincere and endearing and a nice break from the gravitas of a LinkedIn business thread. Despite the party bro exterior, Mike’s super-business-focused, seeing nothing but potential in the space as it transitions from “wild west backyard waterpark” to something totally bespoke. We chatted with Mike to find out what visitors can expect when they visit Waco Surf this year.
Please share with us some of your personal and business history.
Born and raised in Southern California, I started surfing when I was around 19 years old. There was an immediate intimate connection with the ocean and the sport of surfing, and that has really dictated the decisions that I’ve made in my life since. When I turned 21 I moved to the beach in Carlsbad, California and lived there for four years until an opportunity presented itself through my job to move to Australia. What was slated to be a 6-month work contract ended up extending to a nine-year stay in Australia where I found my way into the surf industry and met my wife, Amy (the current Director of Sales and Marketing here at Waco Surf). I worked in operations for O’Neill Australia in gigs that ranged from managing the warehouse and customer service departments to overseeing the planning and execution of the global supply chain. At some point, I was offered a position to run a clothing company on Oahu, and that started the stateside journey that has landed my wife, our old ass pug, Titty, and I in Waco.
Why BSR Surf Resort?
Well, let’s start calling this bad boy Waco Surf now as we are rolling out our new brand identity this year under that umbrella! It started with a few dudes coming to check the place out, and the little glimmer of hope that they might one day be able to own the dream – a Texas-sized wave pool, on a Texas-sized ranch. Although the thought of perfect waves at the push of a button already had the fellas reaching for their wallets – the Wedge Slide and Lazy River sealed the deal. It truly is a magical piece of land out here; it’s as weird as it is beautiful – plus, we have lemurs…
What’s the official name of the wave pool now?
This month we are excited to officially phase out BSR Surf Resort/Cable Park and move into Waco Surf. It’s been almost 2 years in the making, and we’re itching to get the new brand out there!
What was the most challenging issue to address?
When ownership officially changed hands in April 2021, the most challenging part was either leaning into the ‘wild west backyard waterpark’ vibe we have going on or working to elevate it to make this place into something entirely bespoke. We think we found the sweet middle ground by incorporating the roots of our new place and adding in some elevated hospitality and guest experience services from our varied travels across the globe.
How did the change of ownership happen?
Slowly…very slowly. We wanted to see what we were getting into before we made the acquisition. After a little over a year of due diligence and some heavy ups and downs, we got the deal across the line. It was the craziest deal I’ve ever seen or have ever been a part of, but here we are!
What can visitors expect this year that’s different from other seasons?
We’ve spent the last year overhauling Waco Surf with park-wide renovations and new food and beverage programming. For those that have visited our Waco Surf Hotel in the past – yes, we patched the holes in the floor, and we also added a second suite with a few more beds in it! Down by the sandy shores of the Surf Lagoon you’ll see a badass Recovery Pool where you can grab a beer and a taco from our Surfside Shack and watch the waves roll in. Some pretty major upgrades to the actual Surf Lagoon itself were made over the winter break too – including a concrete berm between the sand and water to keep the lagoon sparkly blue year-round.
What are your goals for the park?
The opportunities for our place are endless, and we feel ourselves getting overwhelmed with all we can do here! But to keep it short and sweet – we want to continue to stoke out our regular surfing, sliding and floating community whilst offering upgrades in experience when on site. Whether this means a louder hello when you walk in the front door, or tastier burgers – we’re here to have a fun time with our guests and we want it to be as rad as possible for everyone on-site!