Wave Pool Reviews by You: Adventure Parc Snowdonia with Llywelyn Williams

Search “wave pool” through social platforms and you’ll find a hive of influencers and pros claiming “best pool ever.” But what about us mortal surfers who have to trade hard-earned currency for a crack at perfect waves. We might feel differently after sinking a day’s wage for some surf time. Doesn’t our opinion count? Sure there is Trip Advisor, but it’s KarenLand – a minefield of complaints about the Cappucino foam being too airy or whatever.

Consider this installment on WavePoolMag a platform for the proletariat, the neighborhood bro and Jane Doe. Each month we will ask a dedicated wave pool surfer to deliver some quick thoughts on an artificial surf spot they’ve visited. It’s not rocket science or a complete guide (a sample of which you can find on our YouTube channel.) but it’s a fun peek into the world’s wave pools from a consumer standpoint.

This month Neil “Moonwalker” Armstrong spoke with Llywelyn ‘Sponge’ Williams about his relationship with Adventure Parc Snowdonia.

No matter the future advancements of wave pool tech, Adventure Parc Snowdonia will always hold a special place, as the first pool to be built with modern tech.

Adventure Parc Snowdonia is surrounded by rolling green fields, and bucolic country towns with unpronounceable names – Eglwysbach, Trefriw, Llanddoged, Llanrwst – these are real names, I didn’t just sneeze and hit the keyboard. This Welsh wave pool wonder has a core crew and many fans throughout Wales and middle earth. Well, the middle of England, as it’s close to both Liverpool and Manchester.

Accomplished adaptive surfer Llywelyn ‘Sponge’ Williams gives us his opinions on the Welsh wave.

Llywelyn Williams was hit by a car and lost his leg. He’s continued surfing and today competes in adaptive events n the AS2 (surfing kneeling) category. He was instrumental in bringing the Welsh Adaptive Surf Championships to Adventure Parc Snowdonia

How often do you surf at Adventure Parc Snowdonia?

I’ve been to Adventure Parc Snowdonia many times over the years, and have grown a relationship with the owner and staff. I try and get over as many times as I can. I live near the beach so it’s easier to get in at home for a quick dip if there’s a small wave. I tend to use the wave pool more regularly in the summer months as the ocean is calm.

Have the wave pool sessions helped your surfing?

To have wave after wave pretty much the same has helped me to read the wave and know what sections to get my turns on. Also from having videos to analyze the same wave with different turns has helped me with placement on the board.

The wave at Adventure Parc Snowdonia suits many skill levels
The wave at here suits many skill levels. Image: Adventure Parc Snowdonia

What are you riding there?

I’ve gone from a 6″ DHD shortboard to a 5’2″ JS Flaming Pony. I’m also using a 1984 Romonsky kneeboard on the wave. Snowdonia only has the one wave setting but has different take-off points for advanced, intermediate, and beginner. As it’s freshwater it does affect board float, but you get used to it.

Ocean or wave pool?

Living by the sea and having regular surf in the winter months means I’ll occasionally drive over to Snowdonia as it’s guaranteed to be sheltered from the strong winds we get here in North Wales. And during the summer it’s definitely worth the money, who wouldn’t be happy to spend money to get some fun waves in the sunshine than some food or pint after?

They also give me some waves, for being a regular, and to help me train for future competitions. I’m an adaptive surfer and to be honest, Snowdonia has made it super accessible for everyone, the ground is flat, the staff is there to help you into the pool, and disabled toilets are easy to use.

Hourly cost 

Rides here are longer than most wave pools and once surfers navigate a small take-off zone, they can expect a long, playful wall reeling out in front of them. The wave is fun and a good value in terms of ride time.

Intermediate LVL & LVL2: $62

Advanced: $70

Number of surfers in water: 3 on each side

Number of waves for each surfer per session: 12

Single ride cost: $5.75

Seconds per ride: 18 

Cost per second: 32¢

Wave’s technical information: First-generation foil/plow device that pushes out chest-high rights and lefts every 90 seconds.

Hours of operation/seasonal hours: Open April – December 9 AM – 5 PM.

Getting there: Fly to Manchester or Liverpool and rent a car. It’s a 90-minute drive. From London, it’s a 3-hour train ride to Llandudno Junction, which is 8 minutes from the Parc.

Where to stay: You can stay onsite at the Hilton Garden Inn starting at $200 per night and save by bundling activities. The nearby Conwy Valley Hotel is $100 per night. The famous glamping pods are available for hire as well.

Cultural hits: It’s Wales! So signs are in both English and the old tongue which consists of mostly consonants and the letter Y. The Snowdonia National Park is a stunning glacier-cut mountain range worthy of a hike. In fact, the whole area is where England goes for a hike.

Oddity: The site for Adventure Parc Snowdonia was once an aluminum mine that Andy Ainscough transformed into the world’s first modern surf-focused wave pool.