October 7th, 2016 the world’s second Surf Park and the first on American soil will open its doors in Austin, Texas. Friday will also be a monumental day for Honokea, as Nland Surf was our first project, and we are very proud to see our dream come to life.
It’s been just over a year since Surf Snowdonia opened in Wales, the world’s first dedicated Surf Park. Snowdonia ran into a couple mechanical issues with their Wavegarden lagoon at the end of their first season of operations, which was to be expected when dealing with a completely new technology in a commercial setting. Despite 2 separate forced closures, and only a 7-month season of operations per year, the park has done outstandingly well. Their surf lagoon reported 90% average occupancy, and the park saw over 1,000 people per day. These numbers are impressive because the park is located in Dolgarrog, a small village with very limited population and tourism hours from the nearest major city.
When we were conceptualizing our first project, we did a detailed analysis of every major city in the U.S. and narrowed it down to 10 cities that would be the best place to build America’s first surf park. Here is why we chose Austin, TX as the site of this project:
The people: Austin has a very large population of young professionals, millenials, and college students, and is the fastest growing city in the country. But beyond just demographics, the culture of Austin is ideal for such developments: an early adopter culture that welcomes new technology and ideas, active/outdoor oriented, health/sustainability consciousness, and already familiar with surfing through their large wakesurfing population – Lake Austin is one of the worldwide hotbeds for the sport.
The Destination: Music festivals like SXSW and ACL have put Austin on the must-visit list for young people all over the world. The city sees over 24 million visitors yearly, and the location of the property off highway 71 is only 15 minutes away from downtown Austin.
The Weather: Hot during the summer and not too cold (never below freezing) during the winters, making year-round operations possible.
Texas: Texas is one of the easier places in the country for outdoor developments due to relatively cheap land costs, and pro-business government (though Nland managed to get into a dispute with Travis county about lagoon classification over a year after we finished our work on the project)
Let’s compare Snowdonia to Austin:
The Honokea team spent a year living in Austin, and really fell in love with the place and the people (and the food), only further confirming our decision to build there. We wholeheartedly congratulate Nland on this historic announcement, and are very confident that this project will be wildly successful. We are hard at work on our next project, which we can hopefully share with everyone soon.