Surf Snowdonia, Dolgarrog

Give us a pioneering Client, a challenging site where nothing else would seem to work, to design and construct something nobody has ever built… It would appear this is the perfect blend for success.

The project has come together relatively quickly, yet the team had been looking at options for the site for over three years. The introduction of Wavegarden to the equation was a game-changer – as it has been for Dolgarrog and North Wales. This is not another cheap and cheerful water park – it is a world-class surfing facility, generating the perfect 2m high wave, day in day out, all year round, catering for beginners and experts alike. We have had many projects on the books but this is one of the most exciting and is in closes harmony with our core values. We can’t wait to get the wet-suits on and start surfing!’

The site of the former aluminium works in Dolgarrog had lain derelict since 2006, when the Ainscough Group purchased it. Although the site had an open mixed-use local plan policy relating to it, numerous feasibility studies for lodge and outdoor recreation uses had floundered, and it was clear the creation of a national tourist destination would be required to make it viable. The  sensitive setting, close to the Snowdonia National Park boundary, made a landscape-led approach the obvious way forward. The site sits within the flood plain of the River Conwy, and this combined with the challenging ground conditions, drove the masterplan proposals and ultimately the disposition of uses across the site. The client’s brief was for no material to leave or be brought to the site, hence the need to design the scheme in 3-dimensions from the outset.

Having researched the world leisure market, the team came across the ‘Wavegarden’. The Wavegarden© concept was developed over a period of seven years by a group of Hydrological, Civil and Mechanical Engineers – who also happen to be passionate surfers. R&D investment totalling €7m led to the construction of a full-sized prototype in Northern Spain which was tested by some of the Pro-Tour’s greatest surfers, to rapturous approval. CGIs produced by Virtual Planit played an important role is demonstrating how the new surf lagoon would be integrated into its rural setting.

The Wavegarden© at Surf Snowdonia is the first publicly-accessible surf lagoon up and running in the world. Projects are being developed across the globe from locations as diverse as Barcelona; Berlin; Australia and… Hawaii. The new technology immediately opened up the opportunity to host competitions and gave credence to the bid for surfing to be included as an Olympic sport.

Our Client has real vision and genuine passion for the project, yet every decision made has been grounded in commercial reality.