Surf Snowdonia: the first-ever wave pool powered by Wavegarden was open for eight year | Photo: Adventure Parc Snowdonia

Adventure Parc Snowdonia, the world's first public wave pool, has closed down. The announcement was made on social media.

Ainscough Group, the surf-themed outdoor attraction owner, stated that the wave-generating machine "cost us a fortune in downtime, repairs, and loss of business."

Furthermore, "it has cost us a loss of reputation with our employees, people we've worked closely with since the start of this journey in 2015."

Adventure Parc Snowdonia has undergone several setbacks since it opened to the public in Dolgarrog, Wales.

The project, kicked off by Conwy Adventure Leisure (CAL), was expected to attract 67,000-70,000 visitors a year, not just surfers but family visitors.

CAL invested a total of £7.7 million, committing £6.2 million in cash and a further £1.5 million through additional equity.

The Welsh government also put £4 million in the wave pool. The economic impact was expecting the creation of up to 60 direct jobs on-site once operational.

Surf Snowdonia: the world's first public wave pool opened in 2015 and closed in 2023 | Photo: Red Bull

Wavegarden's Debut

In 2014, the investors made a seven-figure first-stage payment to Wavegarden, the wave company responsible for the wave-generation technology.

The dream was taking shape for both parties.

The Spanish firm was also debuting its two-lane, 1.0 artificial wave system. The surf lagoon was also built on the site of a former aluminum factory.

The goal was to deliver two six-foot waves - one left and one right - to boost North Waves tourism.

The first trials occurred on July 14, 2015, after Europe's first public surf pool was filled with 33,000 m3 of water drawn from reservoirs in the Carneddau Mountains high above the Conwy Valley.

On August 1, 2015, Surf Snowdonia opened to the public.

The one-hour ticket prices ranged from 19 to 45 pounds, depending on the type of wave - beginner, intermediate or advanced.

Soon after, the Welsh surfing stadium was holding the world's first artificial wave-riding competition and night surfing sessions.

Red Bull Unleashed 2015 featured a series of man-on-man clashes themed on medieval jousting tournaments, set in the beautiful Welsh countryside with its historic castles and rich folklore, aimed to echo sporting combat from another time.

Albee Layer won the event that attracted over 2,000 spectators.

Surf Snowdonia: Wavegarden's 1.0 artificial wave technology had technical issues | Photo: Adventure Parc Snowdonia

Recurring Technical Issues

However, a few technical problems forced Surf Snowdonia to close twice.

The 300-meter-long surf park reopened in March 2016 after a one-million-pound makeover.

The Welsh wave pool was forced to close its doors again in 2020 and half of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In spring 2021, Adventure Parc Snowdonia reopened with a new indoor adventure activity center and a 106-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn.

The Welsh government backed up the struggling project with a further £3.9 million in funding.

However, new mechanical issues with the wave-generating system in August 2022 meant the pool was closed for surfing activities for the rest of the year.

The pool reopened in spring, but the technical failures continued, and the revenues were lower than expected.

Surf Snowdonia used the Wavegarden's first-generation wavefoil technology.

Meanwhile, the system has been superseded by a new electromechanical model named Wavegarden Cove.

"As is customary with any machinery, regular inspections and maintenance are crucial," Wavegarden stated.

"Despite our offer to provide essential ongoing machinery preventative maintenance services, a practice that is now standard across all our global facilities, the operators of Surf Snowdonia opted to carry out this work independently."

The Spanish wavemakers note that since 2019, all projects have used the Cove technology, water treatment system, and preventive maintenance service.

The decision "yielded the desired results for these facilities, with machine availability consistently exceeding 99 percent," even in pools operating 18 hours a day during the peak season.

Adventure Parc Snowdonia's wave pool is now closed even though some attractions and the Hilton hotel will remain temporarily open.

CAL is evaluating what to do with the facility before the 2024 season starts.

Surf Snowdonia: the Welsh wave pool closed several times in eight years | Photo: Adventure Parc Snowdonia

Snowdonia Follows NLand

Adventure Parc Snowdonia is the second wave pool powered by Wavegarden's 1.0 system to close its doors.

The first was NLand Surf Park, a wave pool built in Del Valle, a suburb of Austin, Texas.

The structure opened in October 2016 and closed unexpectedly due to damage under the lagoon.

It only reopened six months later, in May 2017.

Eighteen months later, in November 2018, NLand Surf Park announced they were "closing for the season."

However, the project ended up shutting its doors, with land and assets sold to World Surf League's Kelly Slater Wave Co.

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