Austin is a very nice city with many charms, but one thing that even the most bullish Keep-It-Weirders have to admit is that the surfing sucks.
That’s something that Doug Coors—the heir to the Coors Brewing Company—has long sought to rectify. Coors has been pursuing a project called the NLand Surf Park, which he announced as North America’s first artificial park for surfers. It was announced in June 2015, but the project was delayed several times. It was initially intended to open earlier this year, but heavy rains delayed construction, and then this summer Travis County sued the park because it didn’t meet health and safety requirements necessary for public pools. It was a bummer, man.
But that’s all behind us now, as NLand and county officials have reached a settlement that will allow the park to open. As long as the park sends its water quality report to county staff every day, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted to hang loose.
That’ll happen with practically no delay—NLand is set to open on Friday, allowing surfing enthusiasts in the landlocked Texas city to finally hang ten without having to drive to Corpus Christi. The park is unique, to put it mildly. It’s fourteen acres, making it about forty-five times the area of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. The waves generated by the pool come at a rate of 300 per hour, ranging in size from one to six feet, sized according to the surfer’s skill level. (The NLand website refers to them as “Reef” for pros, “Inside” for intermediate surfers, and “Bay” for beginners.)
The fact that it took months to happen because of a dispute over water quality is maybe on the bottom-five list of weird things about a massive surf park on the outskirts of a city three and a half hours from the ocean. Travis County Commissioner Bridget Shea, perhaps anticipating some complaints about big brother’s role in over-regulating some chill bros who just want to surf, told the Austin American-Statesman that the dispute wasn’t about petty details:
Delays in the project brought a barrage of complaints from eager Austin-area surfers. Commissioner Brigid Shea said she appreciated their passion, but was concerned about the lagoon being filled with run-off water from the nearby highway and cattle facilities. The daily testing relieves those concerns, she said.