Surfs up! Surf Snowdonia Filled with 6 Million Gallons of Water and Opening This Week

Article posted on: 31st July 2015

Surf Snowdonia is the world’s first commercially run artificial surfing lake located in Conwy Valley in the lee of the Snowdonia Mountains. This £12 million pound project has been built on the former industrial site of Dolgarrog aluminium factory. Originally an aluminium rolling and casting works that closed in 2007 the site had become derelict, brownfield wasteland.

Construction of the pioneering wave garden started in 2014 and Clancy Consulting have been providing CDM-C services from the beginning of the project. Ensuring sustainability and minimising environmental impact throughout the project 25,000 cubic metres of onsite material was pulled from the old foundations, crushed and reused in construction. Also 85% of the stone used in construction was recycled, making the new site far more environmentally friendly than it has previously been.
Earlier this month, after emptying to test the pumps, the lagoon was filled to 2.3 metre depth with six million gallons of water in an 18-hour operation. The water (which is rainwater) has come down from Cowlyd reservoir and then through the RWE npower hydroelectric plant next door before reaching Surf Snowdonia. The water was cleaned using ultraviolet light rather than chlorine or other chemicals, again ensuring minimal environmental impact.

The wave-making technology was developed by Spain-based company Wavegarden, a group of engineers who also happen to be surfers and who previously built a half-size prototype in Spain. The technology generates waves by pulling a snowplough-like wedge along under the water. The wedge travels 180m in 19 seconds under a central pier, before being sent back the other way and producing another pair of waves in the other direction. To ensure safety for the surfers the wedge runs behind a metal net to keep the surfers safe without blocking the energy of the waves.
The facility is 300m long and produces waves 1.8m high at the centre but learner surfers will be able to tackle smaller waves at the edges and in the end zones.

Steve Davies MBE, the Managing Director of Surf Snowdonia and formally a full colonel in the army said:
“We have created 109 jobs, the employment is brilliant there are 13 staff from Dolgarrog along with many more from down the Conwy Valley” He continued to say “we think we are going to give our customers a fantastic experience when we open.” 
Bookings are already flooding in for Surf Snowdonia with prices to ride a wave ranging between £19 to £40 for an hour, with this recreational facility set to bring in excess of 75,000 visitors a year to North Wales.

Jo Dennison, a multiple British and Welsh surf champion, has been appointed head coach at Surf Snowdonia and has ridden the Wavegarden in Spain. She commented:
“It is like a real wave – a point break… The progression rate in training is also fantastic, as you get so many waves.”

Surf Snowdonia has already secured recognition through winning the Planning for the Environment Award at Planning Magazine’s inaugural award ceremony held in London back in November 2014. This win highlights how momentous a project this is and the positive impact it will have on the area.

More information about Surf Snowdonia can be found here:

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