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Local school children putting The Wave through its paces

When planning your next family surf holiday, it’s unlikely the UK will spring to mind.

But this week sees the opening of The Wave, a £25 million project that brings surf culture to the rural outskirts of the landlocked city of Bristol in southwestern England.

The project has been nine years in the making and has been developed to be as environmentally conscious as possible. The 180m long lake is powered by Wavegarden technology, using 100% renewable energy. It is the first inland surfing destination of its kind in the world.

Up to 1,000 waves can be generated in an hour, with gentle swell for beginners and faster tubes for experienced surfers. Wave heights start at 50cm and peak at 1.8m. 

The park is the brainchild of Nick Hounsfield and has been almost a decade in the planning. It’s hoped that the project will raise awareness of environmental issues, as well as promoting social change. The first youngsters who were specially selected to hit the waves pre-launch included a group of local schoolchildren, a youngster who had lost his hands and legs to meningitis and representatives from local environmental campaign group, Plastic Free North Devon.

The 75 acre site is located on rural land near Bristol in the southwest of England

“What a day,” commented Hounsfield. “Seeing our First Riders today has made all the hard work well and truly worth it. I feel incredibly privileged and grateful to be part of this, as well as excited about the potential we have to bring greater health and happiness to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.”

And away from the lake, The Wave will also eventually boast gardens, meadowland, woodland and family-friendly camping. Twenty-five safari tents are planned to open next spring. In-keeping with its environmental commitment, the project will include the planting of 16,000 trees, 570m of hedgerow and 13.5 acres of wild flower meadowland.

“The Wave is not just about surfing, it’s about sharing incredible experiences in a naturally healthy space. It’s about improving health and wellbeing, helping people feel like the best version of themselves and having a shedload of fun in the process,” added Hounsfield.

Chilling out between waves

The Wave also offers expert coaches, all of whom are trained in teaching ‘adaptive surfing’ for learners with a wide range of physical disabilities. 

The park will open year-round. A one-hour surf costs from £30 per child (six to 16 years). One-and-a-half hours of coaching starts at £45 per child. All prices include wetsuit, wetsuit boots and surfboard. The lake has dedicated areas for beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers. The Wave is open every day except Christmas Day, 7am-8pm.

The Wave London is scheduled to open in 2023.