Surf park set for opening

Surf Snowdonia
Surf Snowdonia

ONE of the biggest names in the Wigan business world is set to celebrate another special coup.

The Ainscough name is famous for its crane hire, metals, building supplies and, of course, most recently the formation of Wigan Youth Zone.

But now, it’s time for something totally different.

Andy, son of businessman Martin, will open Surf Snowdia on Saturday, an exciting £15m project in North Wales which will see the first commercial man-made wave park opened in the world.

The in-land lake covers an area the size of six football pitches with the lozenge-shaped lagoon now dominating the Conwy valley is 300m long and 110m wide.

It also holds more than six million gallons of water.

It’s a world’s first too with no other park like it on the planet.

Andy is heading up Conwy Adventure Leisure Ltd, a relatively new firm set up under the Ainscough banner to oversee the development which will open in the village of Dolgarrog. There are currently no other non-commercial wave parks open in the world. The site has been in the Ainscough’s hands for several years, initially with the aim to build houses on it.

Explaning the project last year, Andy said: “There was an initial plan to build housing on it but it became obvious we wouldn’t get planning permission so we started to look towards leisure, maybe something like a Centre Parcs. However, we then decided to do it ourselves which is when I got involved about 18 months ago - that’s when we came up with the concept of a wave garden.”

Andy, a keen partaker in outdoor leisure himself, says the firm looked at other options such as a kayaking but it was the revolutionary wave garden which took their fancy.

The lake would consist of an underwater foil operating beneath a pier which pushes the water upwards and outwards. A prototype has been built in Spain and that has been deemed a huge success.

The new lake will be called “Surf Snowdonia” with the water measuring 300m long and 113m wide with waves ranging from 1ft to 6ft so both beginners and advanced surfers will be able to go along.

Andy will be asisted by Steve Davies who takes the reins as managing director.

He said: “Beneath the waves is the most closely guarded commercial secret of this project - the wavefoil,” said Mr Davies.

Work on the project has been ongoing since October 2012 when planning permission was gained.

Four-times Welsh surf champion Jo Dennison was recruited to work as a coach.

She said@ “I think it’s going to shape the future of surfing. You can’t compare it with surfing in the ocean, it’s definitely a special thing to be in the water with nature, but this is a fantastic training facility.”