World Surf League buys NLand Surf Park

Stu Nettle
Swellnet Dispatch

Over the weekend news broke that the Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC), operating under the guise of a subsidiary, has bought NLand Surf Park in Texas. The park was owned by Doug Coors, scion of the Colorado brewing company of the same name.

NLand, if you're not aware, was running the Wavegarden technology, but that will be pulled out and scrapped, replaced by the KSWC hull and train.

KSWC are owned by the World Surf League who released the following confirmation: “The World Surf League has acquired land and assets from NLand in Austin, Texas. Additional information will be made available at the appropriate time.”

The NLand pool is much wider than Lemoore, it can run a right and left simultaneously, so we can assume that KSWC will do likewise.

The news may mean little to Australian readers though it gives us a glimpse of the future. Doug Coors, much like Dirk Ziff, was raised far from the beach, but in adulthood he developed a fascination with surfing and had the resources to bankroll an artifical version of surfing as he understood it. 

Meanwhile, KSWC is currently scouting for similar opportunities on the southern end of the Gold Coast. The difference in our case being that Ziff will be gifted the land by local government to create a Public Private Partnership that will benefit Australian surfers - or so we'll be told.


Westofthelake's picture
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Westofthelake commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 11:54am

Inside foam ball fun time section

"The math is simple. you get 50 minutes per session: from the top of the hour to 10 minutes prior to the next session. They stop your 'hour' at 10 mins to the hour to clear the water, let the new group enter the water & (presumably) to allow the lagoon waters to settle down. You need to be in the water & ready to go before your actual starting hour, otherwise you will miss opportunities.

So, yah, the math: The wave runs every 2 mins & 10 secs. That's 23 waves per 50 mins. NLand has a priority system in place. They have staff in the water, on boards, to enforce it. If not.....chaos would reign.

Anyways, if you have 5 good surfers in there, that's about 4 or 5 waves that you'll get a shot at riding in your 50 mins.

Your wave opportunity aka possible wave count goes up if the surfers in your group are lousy, can't catch the wave, fall a lot or if you have less than the full complement of 5 in your group.

At $90.00 per session.....well, value is in the eye of the beholder, is it not?"


indo-dreaming's picture
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indo-dreaming commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 3:20pm

$90 a session isn't too bad at all if you get a few of those waves in Kelly pool, guys now spend $500 a night at some resorts in Indonesia, and often get days where it's crappy or storms etc.

Yeah sure their stay is not just surfing includes accommodation and meals etc...but still if you break it all down they are still paying a few hundred dollars per surfing session.

Please Stunet give me an ignore button for Talking Turkey, Shatners Basoon, Dale Cooper, Factotum, Pupkin, and any new fake profile he decides to create.

Westofthelake's picture
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Westofthelake commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 3:44pm

I guess it's all relative to disposable income and how much you're willing to pay for the experience.
$90 US equals about $125 AUD, which equals (according to 5 waves per sesh) $25 bucks a wave.
In anyone's language, that's pretty expensive 'fun'.

I can see a big sign as you enter the wave zone,

"What ever you do, try not to fall off."

Hirsty's picture
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Hirsty commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 10:54pm

Chalk and Cheese!!!


Garryh's picture
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Garryh commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 11:54am

The first of many wave pools to "fail financially?" (perhaps?)


shoredump's picture
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shoredump commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 1:03pm

Yay. I can access Austin fairly easily. I’ll defiitely line up for a go. Surfing pool waves, at least the first time, is as fun as surfing the ocean. I’ll be enquiring about 1st wave of the day. $90 an hour is fine. How much would you spend on alcohol in a month? This is the first I’ve heard about a Qld one being built

blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 1:28pm

I can see it now. The 30ft tall statue of Kelly with a board under his arm that, from certain angles and in just the right light, actually does look a bit like him. The replicas of his trophies lining the cabinets in the entrance hall. The smell of chlorine almost over-whelming the tinge of stale urine. The sun stroked parents. The over-priced merchandise, Kelly dolls, Kelly t-shirts, the re-badged ex-Quikbilly stock, pencil cases, school bags, mouse pads. It will all be there.
...... so in the end it becomes just another Gold Coast theme park down at the struggling end of the market, never quite enough business to turn a profit. The engineering slowly becoming less reliable, rust stains on the concrete, cracks in the fibreglass roofing. All to the greater glory of a quick buck that never turned up.

shoredump's picture
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shoredump commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 2:10pm

Spot on. Just like a bowling club, but for our generation, and the açai bowls will outsell the Kent Old middies

memlasurf's picture
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memlasurf commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 2:16pm

BB you sound like Charlton Heston at the end of the Planet of the Apes....

lost's picture
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lost commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 5:50pm

That photo mems ! - has me laughing every time you post.


Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups commented Friday, 11 Jan 2019 at 5:58am

Fark how's the sunburn on his back? I guess after the nuclear war they forgot how to make sunscreen.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 2:21pm

WavePool magnate's crowd numbers would require onsite Hospital Psych Ward.

[Flowrider Excepted]
Qld laws have long prohibited any Fibreglass craft in Wave/Pools.
Foam Boards are also restricted to outside park hours.
10 adult/kids @ $42.50/hr can stand-up surf Foam Boards sharing pool break
Wave Pool numbers offset as 2 groups of 5 per peak/bank for each instructor.

Instructors say they can nudge numbers up to set 12 but prefer safer 10 size.(see)

Any Wave Pool operator promising more is full of shit! (Dial the Premier!)

Not sure if Water Parks can restrict Wave Pools to Surfboards only.(A bit Surfist ?)

Ride operators ban 2 watersliders in same Pool. Imagine 2 fibreglass boards...(Sirens)
Lifeguards would need to flag all clear before next ride! (Unridden waves go wasted)
WavePools will need tightest restrictions of all Qld Theme Parks. (Gatetakings?)

No Stadium of note is planned for any Oz Wavepool comps... only Bar Umbrellas.
Readers can see that Qld may not rubber stamp the Whiteshoe Wetdream piss-up.

N.T. + NSW have similar established Wave Pool operating laws & surfer restrictions.

W.A. Flow wave allows up to 2 consenting (BYO) Fibreglass Surfboards/flowwave.

I have not seen or read any change to East Coast WavePool Laws...(Anyone?)

Stu mentions Gold Coast...
Here's another WSL angle on GC..(Be sure to read 'Nick Carroll Comments')

amb's picture
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amb commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 3:43pm

id be saying its not a wave pool, its a lake which has man-made waves.

kneehighdesigns's picture
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kneehighdesigns commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 2:24pm

@blindboy, "you hit it out of the ball park ", spot on with that comment !! when will these organisations learn? can they not look to the past and see whats failed before them . So many online stories about wave parks that are coming , and then not coming for Eg one planned for the land near The M1 , logan mtr way interchange in SE Qld ? I drive past regularly and nothings happening there 12 mths on . I'd love the chance to ride the perfect pool wave like most others but really how do you charge $$ ?? and also give someone an uninterrupted solo ride experience without being bombed in on by 25000 other frothing chargers. thanks stu for the updates anyhow.

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Feralkook commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 2:26pm

I wonder how this news sits with Greg Webber and his project, I am sure that team will be reviewing their project plans in a bid to go live before Slater's crew. Two wave pools in the south east, we are blessed, that should take some of the pressure off the local line up's, then again as someone said above, yea, nah.

lost's picture
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lost commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 5:53pm

Does anyone actually believe Webber is ever going to have a pool built anywhere. It all seems talk and academic to me.


freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 4:15pm

The cost per wave just reflects the simple physics which was lost in all the froth about wave pool utopianism.

Water is a very dense medium and to push it around to make waves takes tremendous amounts of expensive energy.
That cost has to be recouped.

$90/session. I'l try it once.

It does sound the clarion call of Grade A bullshitt for those chancers and carpet baggers trying to sell the idea that wave pools will lead to some form of democratisation of surfing.

Wavepools, in that respect, are utterly unlike, say, skateparks, where the govt tips in money for a build and makes something that is free for everybody to use, at any time.
Wavepools cost a lot of money to build and run and require very high fees for the public to access.

Can't wait for former Surfing Australia head honcho, now WSL exec Andrew Stark who has been hired to assist with the rollout of KSWC tubs in Aus to pitch the tub as an Olympic training facility that needs to be subsidised by taxpayers.

Blowin's picture
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Blowin commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 6:00pm

Why the fuck are Aussie taxpayers giving a US billionaire free land ?

Aussie taxpayers providing the land upon which to build a training facility for the private company Surfing Australia.....which also operates under taxpayers subsidies.

This is after they close our best breaks to host their circuses and promote them to the world attempting to turn their line ups into a liquid version of the Hyams beach car park.

How much money are we tipping in to underwrite their business plan ?

A single cent is too much.

Fuck the WSL .

The WSL should be made to provide a day of waves in their wave pool for free to every surfer in Australia who misses out on a days surfing due to anyone of the WSL affiliated events staged in Australia. This includes women’s , men’s , WQS , juniors , longboards etc . Every single day they use our beaches should be paid back to every Aussie surfer with free waves at the pool.

lost's picture
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lost commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 5:58pm

I vote for Blowin.

As a aside I was surprised to see local board rider comps on the Northern Beaches where thy just run with everyone else in the line up. Competitors seem to get priority but everyone else just surfs on. Has this always been the case or did other surfers just say fuck it at some point ? Down south the water is cleared.


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ryn_kng commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 9:17am

I saw a similar thing on the mid-north coast last winter, except the guys that weren't in the comp just ignored all the calls on the loudspeaker for them to move. Eventually guys in the comp started dropping in on the free surfers and vice versa. could have ended up pretty ugly. Is there any rules or has it always been a kind of gentleman's agreement to move on?

lost's picture
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lost commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 10:42am

Don't know the rules but here the competitors seem to have priority and everyone else takes whats left. Occasionally that means a drop in but people pull out pretty fast if not a competitor. No loud speaker asking others to get out or move along. There are a lot of board riding clubs here - two at some beaches and then there is the lid riders and mals. I guess if they tried to clear the water for all these there would be a riot.


blindboy's picture
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blindboy commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 4:22pm

Yeh I think you are on the money there freeride. The dollar signs light up in a lot of eyes when the word "Olympics" is mentioned.

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter commented Monday, 7 Jan 2019 at 8:49pm

Fuck Dirk, If we give up one square foot of this land to him and his chronies as a commercial gift , the whole Public/Private Partnership will be a very one sided affair. ie more Private than Public .It's corporate bullshit at it's finest .

sharkman's picture
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sharkman commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 9:19am

Hmm taxpayers money , used to gift Ziffy and Kelly entrance into Australia's wavepool market....lets look at what Andrew Stark who is now the CEO of KSWC Australasia...

Starky increased revenue to $7m for Surfing Australia , built the Surf Academy , convinced Govt's to fund the Olympic team to the tune of $6m....but the great competitive results spent on bureaucrats , less funding for juniors , to the point now where Australia's junior surfing ranks are empty , which does not bode well for the future of Australian surfing.

Starky is great at raising funds from Government sources , and big corporations , but hasn't got a clue about the surfing culture , so he left SA , with the worst competitive record in the History of Aust surfing , so he will probably be able to con $'s and grants for the our expense once again,still!


freeride76's picture
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freeride76 commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 9:41am

Gunna be interesting to see how this corporate fuckery plays out.

The reason the Australian leg of the CT has three events is that Pro Surfing/WSL is underwritten by the Australian taxpayer to a level not seen in other countries.

Will that support be ongoing if our pro surfing talent withers?

I can't see a future top 10 or top 5 surfer in our junior ranks, let alone a future world champ.

Last genuine top 5 Aussie surfer to make the CT was Owen Wright in 2010, almost ten years ago.
Sorry JW in 2011.

Will the Aussie taxpayer be so keen to foot the bill if our pro surfing fortunes continue to decline?

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 9:47am

To date, it's been succesfully argued that the HPC and related staff incomes are necessary costs for young Australian surfers to realise their dreams. It's a pretty easy argument to make with plenty of analogs out there from the Cricket Institute, Soccer Academy, and the original Australian Sports Institute. They're all places where talent is scouted and put through specialised sporting programs. And hey, most surfers enjoy watching young Aussies on the CT webcasts, so fair enough, right?

Yet the KSWC wavepool is significantly more expensive than the whole existing HPC enterprise, while being just one tool, so they'll have to prosecute a damn fine argument to make it look like a necessity. That campaign has already begun with Bede Durbidge stressing how invaluable a recent trip to Lemoore was, the subtext being 'we need a wavepool here if we're gonna compete at the Olympics'.

There'll also be a parallel argument about recreational surfers having access to the pool - i.e 'it'll benefit the common surfer'. It's a way of ameliorating the perception of a government leg up. Yet if a KSWC/WSL pool is subsidised by the governmnt that puts it at a distinct advantage to anything Greg Webber or Wavegarden, or any future wavepool business in the region that may get built. There's too much money at stake for licensees to take that one rolling over.

Regardless, stay tuned for variations of the above themes coming from the KSWC/WSL camp.

belly's picture
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belly commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 9:53am

Stu, do you have any data on the energy required to create waves at these pools? It would be then quite easy to calculate the co2 impact based on the Australian off-the-grid energy mix.

stunet's picture
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stunet commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 10:12am

Nah, no data. All I know is the raw cost per wave for the Lemoore pool - $28. That came from a quote in a story, I think from Randy Rarick, who'd been chatting to the engineers, and from memory it includes things other than energy. So while being no small amount it's still anecdotal.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 11:00am

freeride76 It's funny cause it's true. AIS Cricket/Soccer/Surfing booted from Charts.
Why waste Taxes on HPC drug injecting rooms of Skater suites with Wave Jacuzzis.

Tried'n'True Surf 4 The Dole + compulsory Bag of Pot ration produced all OZ Champs.
Sack the Mad Professors & move the HPC to Nimbin for a Weet Bix + Milo Detox.

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wilba82 commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 11:06am
truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 12:19pm

As per prices ...above I quoted a set of longest run Oz Wavepool commercial fees.
Includes total package board hire/lesson + Supervision/Training as current ventures.
I can't imagine a Wavepool firing up for under cost nor the Theme Park ramping up.
Also consider Cave of Waves runs on Oz Standards so includes safety crew wages.
One can see Dreamworld Wave Pool merely breaks even to hook extra park goers.

Before you say but the waves aren't big...Smaller party pools rival Surf Lakes Demo!
Check out quiet achieving Indian Company giving a bang for your bucket.

I'm guessing that 12 surfers @ $50/hr pays utility cost being $600/hr- breaks even.
You Punters can attribute your fav wave design into hourly running cost.
Also consider our Gold Coast wave pools may actually be running on full steam.

This may explain 30yrs Oz cbd standard Wave Pool heights.(Syd/GC x 2/Darwin)
Could also answer why proposed urban Large Wave Pools delay plans then fail.
As we know! Most Larger Wavepools are Lake fed apart from *Japan (Anyone?)
Ask yourself! How many Large-Wave Pools are utility fed by water grid City Centres?
Airports need High Water Pressure to Clean Aircraft/Runways.
Melbourne Airport Wave Pool should be well underway...Anyone?

Main Water Double back surge + Junction points + Nearby Reservoir Boost.
Urban WavePools must max out #1 Water flow sweet spot to dictate location.
Therefore future 'urban' WavePool locations must be few & sold out...( Investors?)

tubeshooter's picture
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tubeshooter commented Tuesday, 8 Jan 2019 at 10:20pm

On the sale of NLand .. "the sale follows an inverted purchase pyramid of sorts , with WSL at the top , absorbing the property through Tumbleweed Opco , a Delaware registered LLC. In the middle is the Kelly Slater Wave Co who operates Tumbleweed. According to an article by ATX Real Estate , Delaware corporation records show that Tumbleweed Opco LLC was formed on Dec 11 , just 12 days prior to the sale of NLand which ocurred on Dec 23. " ,, ..

Fazesurf's picture
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Fazesurf commented Wednesday, 9 Jan 2019 at 2:39pm

You could have a left and right pulled through the middle of that pool at the same time too!

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 12:19am

Wave Pool Liners are dumbing down surfing.

First we'll let Hollywood do the talking. Do you see Magic? or Have you been had ?.
This is Kelly's most telling WavePool video. Watch as the future of surfing plays out.

Wow! How's that Dude Skimming then Slotting that Barrel seemingly like forever...
Dude runs free then emerges from barrel restrained with ankle strap & nosecone?

Kelly freaked out when Skimboarder was freestylin in his pool.( Jump off was next)
Kelly said like hell...Straight to the office...Held down his best skim & drilled/Strapped.
Watch the long version... Old school drill clean thru WTF - Planet of the apes collar!

No freestylin' with loose boards... He's overly paranoid about tearing the lining.
My way or the highway! So the Skim guy's wings were clipped! No flying today!

So Wave Pool bedding has strapped down free surfing maneuvers. (No stadiums)
People ain't gonna pay to see gladiators chained to decking boards in athletes arena.

Pool lining quickly became Huey's curse haunting every wavepark.

2015 Snowdonia back of 1st contest,pool lining tears & again later closes twice.
2015 Surf Ranch Empties redesigns & relines / refills WavePool 3 times.
2016 N Land -Fins/Noses rip lining-Flooding Homes (extensive damage/close)
2018 Waco Texas Tea Pool (Clay)Brain Bug forces Drain/Reline of Wave Pool.
2018 Surf Lakes Feet crash thru Cheap Concrete tearing lining > Sandbag patch.
Surf Lakes likely to be drained & completely relayed + relined (Cost? Wow!)

Here on this page we read of another NLand - empty & redesign/Reline/Refill

Depending on cheapest- Waco to dearest- Surf Lakes the drain'n'refill cost is huge.
Snowdonia drained-refilled 23m litres twice over. Surf Ranch 57m litres 3 times over.
Surf Ranch wastes 1.14m litres/day (5 Golf Courses) Turn off his Taps-Now!

Swellnet "Something in the Water" [Garryh] unleashes most frightening Lining fear.
Site of URBNSURF Melbourne Wavepool lies a darker secret. (Toxic Site) Link

Should Wave Pool Lining fail here as elsewhere then all Toxic hell will break loose.

Surfing is losing cred in every neighbourhood it destroys...Residents are protesting.
Add that surfers endorse Toxic everything & are biggest fuel & Town water wasters.
Irukandji & Bluebottles in municipal baths are more welcome than 'WavePool Guy'.

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 12:29am

If you got thru that you deserve a treat. How about a Chunky NLand (Read Walkover)

truebluebasher's picture
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truebluebasher commented Thursday, 10 Jan 2019 at 12:21pm

Kelly's water guzzling Surf Ranch is mind boggling. I had to do a doubletake.
These links are pretty cool + you can also double check.
Surf Ranch requires 300,000 Gallons /day or 1.14million litres/day.> see Stab Link
This water is sourced from desert 'wells' & shared much like our dams.
Note: exampled daily 300,000 G Tank Size.

Wave Park Hours run 9-5. Groups of 6 catch up to 12 L/R waves/hr (surfers count)

Kelly's wavepool of 1.14 million litres / day supplies 48 surfers
A nuclear PowerPlant of 1.14 million litres / day supplies 100 Houses-250 people
Water Stores of 1.14 million litres / day supplies 1000 houses-2,500 people
Stats: (Average via google- knocked off highest & lowest plants)

Water utility usage findings:
Nuclear Power Plant is 5 x more water efficient than Kelly's Surf Ranch.
Town Water Plant is 50 x more water efficient than Kelly's Surf Ranch.

Australians deny Nuke Power as it uses way too much water. (Ban Wavepools?)
Australia is in Drought/How can Surfers use 50 x more water? (Ban Wavepools?)
I referred to surfers as most wasteful humans. Seems I was being way too kind.
Greens should unite to deny endless wavepool top ups...Free Straw with eachwave!

'Look over there! I saw another plastic bag'...Not this time you don't...You greedy pigs!