I caught the foaming, crystal clear wave just right as I launched my surfboard forwards with a thrust of my hands and a daring leap of my body. I leapt to my feet and gained balance as the board slid majestically down the face of the surf. Arms outstretched, I drove the board this way and that towards the shore and alighted gently as the wave died with a quiet sigh on the water’s edge. Wow!
When you think of surfing, perhaps the first image that comes to mind is one of blue skies, a bluer sea, golden, sandy beaches and the slow-motion running of the red-suited Baywatch crew. (That’s enough now, calm down!).
Otherwise, maybe it’s the sun-kissed beaches of Hawaii, the Gold Coast of Australia or even Cornwall, as the tanned, tousle haired surfers show off their skills.
How about surfing in a green valley of Snowdonia in North Wales?
Not my first thought either, but a former aluminium factory adjacent to the River Conwy in North Wales has been transformed into the Surf Snowdonia Adventure Parc, becoming in the process, the World’s first commercial, artificial surfing lake and the only one in the UK to boot.
It is only seven miles inland from the coast at Conwy.
The Parc opened in August 2015.
Thousands of tons of contaminated soil were removed and huge quantities of rocks recycled in creating a 300 metre lake. It has a smooth, lined bottom throughout.
An innovative device runs repeatedly down the centre of the lake, which creates a large wave to either side, giving a consistent 150 metre wave ride for surfers every 90 seconds.
Expert Instructors are on hand to provide surfing lessons, from beginners to the more experienced. The design and clever engineering has created perfect waves for all levels of surfers or body boarders.
All wet suits and safety equipment are provided. As I detailed at the start, these guys can have anyone acting out their surfing dreams within a remarkably short space of time.
In addition, there is a ‘Wipeout’ style Splash and Crash lagoon which consists of water-based assault courses. There is also ‘The Blob’, a large inflated air bag. Sit at the end whilst your friends jump off a tower, hitting the other end to send you high in the air for a crash landing in the water. Excellent fun.
To make this a destination for extended stays rather than just a day out, wooden ‘glamping pods’ are on site. These sleep up to four people and are basic but very comfortable places in which to sleep. Each has underfloor heating and is supplied with electricity. There is a verandah with a chair and a bench and your own picnic table immediately outside the door of the pod.
Close by is a barrel sauna and two open air, hot-tubs, all free for residents to use and terrific for soothing away those aching muscles.
The costs are maybe not what you expect, from £25 per person per night and a real bargain. Wake up to hear the sound of crashing waves from your pod.
A large tepee style tent for use by groups is also on site as is a kiddies soft play area.
The spotless shower and toilet block is a minute’s walk from any of the pods.
Catering is not in short supply, for there is a ‘Surfside Deli’ for snacks and drinks whilst the ‘Surfside Café-bar’ provides more substantial fare in the form of pizzas and burgers with accompaniments. Here I had one of the best burgers I have ever tasted.
Desserts are standard but tasty. Bottled beers and a few keg beers are also to hand.
Breakfasts consist of all the usual ingredients, either continental or the ‘full English’ and served by friendly staff.
This is a fabulous and unique place to spend a few days, which my friends and I enjoyed enormously. Make no mistake, this is a physically demanding experience, but so worth the effort. What a great idea.
The surrounding countryside is stunning.
So taken were we with the place that we extended our stay to take in a couple of days walking around Snowdonia, including the impressive Mount Snowdon, of course.
Surf’s Up, Dudes!!
For further details and videos of the action go to: www.surfsnowdonia.com.
The Parc can be found at LL32 8QE