Surf Snowdonia is the first inland surf lagoon in the world. Built on a derelict industrial estate, this hugely ambitious regeneration project is the size of six football pitches and is located in the shadow of the highest mountain range in Wales.
Wales is famous for spectacular outdoor scenery which attracts walkers, riders, surfers and travellers from across the world, but it had to wait until relatively recently to boast the longest zip line in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s also got the world’s first inland surf lagoon, an exhilarating new tourist attraction in the Conwy Valley which has created 80 jobs and a whole new generation of thrill-seekers.
The Welsh Government provided more than £4 million in funding to this unique wonderland where guests can surf, surf kayak, bodyboard or just relax. It’s already established this action-packed area of the country as one of the world’s surfing and outdoor sports paradises. Now featuring a lake and a Wave Garden, its home was Dolgarrog Aluminium for 100 years until 2007, when the site shut down and an action group was set up to oversee its development.
They helped turn the derelict landscape – described as a brownfield wasteland by its new organisers, who admitted theirs was ‘a crazy idea’ – into the surfer’s dream, removing a century of heavy industrial waste alongside Natural Resources Wales.
Dolgarrog also tells you a lot about the potential for recycling in Wales. As well as creating a bat sanctuary in a Second World War air-raid shelter, the owners use pure rainwater from the Snowdonia mountain reservoirs to both power a hydroelectric plant and fill the surf lagoon.