By now everyone knows what a cool place Austin is to live. But, don’t look now, it just got a lot cooler.
In 2016, the NLand Surf Park opened. It is America’s only surf park and is only a short drive from downtown Austin.
No one in our family has ever surfed before. When I brought it up, my daughter, Brooklyn (age 10) jumped at the chance to go. You have to be at least 8 years old to surf. You can pay for a private lesson, where the surf coach will ride tandem with kids younger than 8.
As you might expect, this isn’t a cheap activity. Surf passes range from $50-90 for about an hour in the lagoon. Private lessons or clinics are between $85-$190. These give you 30 minutes on shore where you learn the ins and outs of surfing. Either way you go, the price includes a soft surfboard.
You can also bring friends and family. If you want to get close to the action, you’ll need to pay $5 for a pass into the surf area. There are plenty of shaded spots to sit or you can walk between the two surf areas and get a bird’s eye view.
If you get the munchies there is a snack shack in the lagoon area. There is also a great restaurant near the entrance. We did a morning surf and it was lunch time when we finished. After an hour in the lagoon, you will be ready to eat!
A few quick tips before you come out:
– Make a reservation
– Don’t forget sunscreen
– Bring a canteen to fill up with water or bring some of your own
– Drones aren’t allowed, but cameras are
– If you are surfing, wear a rash guard shirt
– Show up early to fill out your waivers
The concept of the surf park is pretty awesome. The lagoon is 3 football fields long x 3 football fields wide. It is impressive. The wave generator creates a 6′ reef wave near the center. The artificial reef reduces that big wave to one much smaller that is perfect for beginners.
The waves themselves come ever 2 minutes. Plan to ride about 24 waves during your session. Halfway through our session I was already getting tired.
The surf coach was great. With a few key tips he had both Brooklyn and I up and surfing in no time. Brooklyn had the added advantage of someone pushing her into every wave, so she was not nearly as tired at the end.
While there can be quite a few surfers at one time, it’s easy to spread out. The angle of the wave also helps create space for everyone. Here is a clip of the action from our visit.
It looks like the NLand Surf Park is serious about safety too. You’ll watch a safety video before you start, they have four lifeguards around the lagoon and you will see plenty of coaches in the water. The water itself isn’t that deep. I was able to walk across the majority of the lagoon. There is only one spot where it hits 8′ deep.
All and all it was a five star experience. Brooklyn and I both got up and made some good runs. There are no sharks, so that’s a plus! Lunch was amazing. The only real downside is that Brooklyn wants to surf every day now!
If you live in Austin or you’re just visiting, you have to give this a try. It is one of the most unique experiences in Austin and the entire country.