Welsh surf park offers world's longest man-made ride
A surf park on the edge of Snowdonia National Park in Wales opens Saturday, a 300-metre (985-foot) long lagoon that promises the longest man-made surfable waves in the world.
The £12 million ($18.7 million, 17-million-euro) project will see barrelling waves crash back and forth across the lagoon, offering a 20 second ride.
The waves are created once a minute by a plough-like weight that moves underwater along a central pier, using technology from Spanish company Wavegarden.
Wavegarden has a prototype surf centre near San Sebastian in northern Spain but Surf Snowdonia, built on a former aluminium works, is the first to be open to the public.
Offering waves measuring variously two metres, 1.2 metres and 70 centimetres high, it is pitched at families, enthusiasts and elite surfers alike, and hopes to attract 75,000 visitors a year.
"All of a sudden surfing is about to become accessible," said Steve Davies, managing director of Surf Snowdonia.
Jo Dennison, a former British surf champion and head coach at the Welsh centre, said the lagoon was "big news" for the world of surfing.
The sport has been shortlisted for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and Dennison said the technology could boost the case for inclusion by offering a level playing field in competition.
She said the lagoon would never replace ocean surfing, but told AFP: "The waves are fantastic. It's just a brilliant way to practise your surfing, your manoeuvres."
© 2015 AFP