The beginner surfer’s guide to NLand Surf Park

Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for more details about the expert waves at NLand, check out The experienced surfer’s guide to NLand Surf Park.

A view of Nland as you enter the surf park.

A view of NLand as you enter the surf park. Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz

Located on the outskirts of Austin, NLand Surf Park has wave-generating technology modeled after the original WaveGarden that debuted five years ago in the Basque Country of Spain. 

The surf park offers three kinds of waves designed to suit surfers of all skill levels.

The lineup at NLand. Photo: NLand Surf Park

Here’s a guide for beginners looking to learn how to catch waves at America’s first surf park.

Getting there is easy. NLand Surf Park is located approximately 12 miles east of downtown Austin, directly off State Highway 71. Turn right directly into NLand’s dirt parking lot after you pass Navarro Creek Rd.

It’s very important to note that if you want to surf “The Reef” wave (which is designed for intermediate to advanced surfers), you have to book it in advance on their website. Otherwise the beginner waves usually seem to have plenty of room for walk-ins to register and surf.

If you’re brand new to surfing, you’ll want to bring a bathing suit when the weather’s warm and a wetsuit from late fall through early spring. Bring a towel to dry off with and maybe layout on. The sun’s strong there most of the year so sunscreen is advised.

What you don't need to bring is a surfboard. They provide that for you. You’re also welcome to bring your own surfboard (make sure it’s a thicker board given the lagoon is freshwater and lacks the buoyancy that the ocean provides).

A longboarder rides the "Reef" while beginners paddle into the "Inside" wave. Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz

A longboarder rides the “Reef” while beginners paddle into the “Inside” wave. Photo: Courtesy of Cyrus Saatsaz

It’s $60 for one hour if you’re surfing the beginner waves. If you want private coaching, they charge $85 for one hour of surf lessons and a surfboard is provided. If you want to bring others to take pictures of you surfing, they charge $5 for visitors who don’t want to go in the water.

It’s very easy to learn how to surf there. It’s this aspect of NLand that’s perhaps the most appealing. 

It’s a controlled environment with consistent waves produced every couple of minutes. There’s a pier that splits the surf park straight down the middle, and the engine that generates the waves is located directly underneath the jetty.

The engines are continually motoring back and forth, creating waves for both sides of the pier and both directions in the water.

There, surprisingly, is a current that the engine generates following the wave, so some paddling is required. Not much though. So you have a consistent wave coming through and no serious paddling to worry about.

This video shows numerous beginners standing up and riding the “Inside” wave at NLand Surf Park.

Nearly every beginner surfing there seems to stand up at least once and those with a limited amount of experience seemed to catch long rides with nearly every wave generated.

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