05 Jul, 2016

First Hand: Family Surf Trip to Surf Snowdonia

05 Jul, 2016

Surf-Snowdonia-Jonty-Storey-1024x683Surf Snowdonia, located in Northern Wales on England’s West coast, is the world’s first and only true surf park. Built on the site of an old steel mill in the village of Dolgarrog, which sits on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, the site features a Wavegarden Surf Lagoon, surrounded by lodging, retail, and a restaurant, all on a beautiful 55 acre parcel.

snowdonia map

The catch: Snowdonia is not exactly convenient to get to. The closest major city is Liverpool, roughly 1.5 hours drive to the Northeast. Despite the location, Snowdonia’s pool has been nearly at capacity since they opened in July of 2015. Apparently they’ve proved what surfers have always known: Surfers will travel great distances to surf.

The Honokea team has yet to visit the park, and until we do, we find great joy in reading other people’s experiences with what can only be described as surfing’s equivalent of Jurassic Park.

“Raphael loved her independence – bombing around the Lagoon – look at that face – as if she would ever get into any trouble… lord help us! It was actually a real revelation – our kids had such a sense of freedom around the lagoon – we put them in bright coats and then we could watch them all the way round – either from our pod or the restaurant – the staff were super friendly, fantastic with the children – which allowed us to really relax. “ -Wink

Surf snowdonia

“I loved being in the water with the whole family at the same time… it was such a pleasant, stress free vibe.” -Wink

The following account comes from Hannah ‘Wink’ Lamiroy, wife of former British pro surfer Sam Lamiroy, and mother of 2 adorable little groms, Raphael and Huxley. She has a blog aptly named ‘Wink‘, where she shares her stories of travel, child-rearing, and her favorite cooking recipes along the way. Wavelength, Europe’s oldest surf publication, set up a trip for the Lamiroy clan to trek the 7 hour drive from their home in Cornwall to Surf Snowdonia for a little road trip this past May. It’s always great to hear different perspectives, and since most surfers to visit Snowdonia undoubtedly had nothing but waves on their minds, its fascinating to hear from someone like Wink here, who is more concerned with the family and what the place has to offer beyond the surf. At Honokea, our design concepts have always put a focus on fun for the whole family, surfer or not, so its great to hear that Surf Snowdonia has done the same!


Sam was just a little excited when Wavelength Surfing magazine asked us if we would like to take the whole family to Surf Snowdonia for a few days! The idea was to see what a ‘family surf trip’ to this artificial wave in the Welsh mountains would actually be like? For me though… i must admit, i was a little more sceptical… i have been on quite literally hundreds of surf trips with Sam over the years and have loved every minute of it. But when you throw a young family into the mix (cue Huxley age 7 and Raphael age 4), it can be a little more, how shall we say? challenging? its kinda handy to have half decent facilities to hand (i.e near a washing machine, loo, kitchen, possibly TV?) – you’re preferably on a warm beach, with waves and a little flat lagoon for the kids to play in, maybe a beach cafe that serves sun downer cocktails? You don’t want to spend hours in the car looking for waves… and so on… 

So, as i say, the prospect of a long car hike through the winding Welsh mountains in May (not summer), staying in a pod (I was not entirely sure what that was) and surfing this artificial wave on demand (holy crap, i’m definitely going to stuff that up) and just for a few nights (surely not enough time to actually unwind?) and on top of that Lewis and Matt (Wavelength’s trusty photographers) are going to shoot the entire trip…argghh, no pressure then… so all this didn’t really have me jumping for joy… don’t get me wrong, i was really excited to see the wave, its just i thought the whole thing would probably end up being a bit of a mission… Sam would get his surf on, I would flounder and we’d kind of wait around… so onwards with a bit of trepidation then…

Read her story here.