This unusual construction project brings waves to inland surfers.

Bringing waves to an inland location is no small feat on its own, but when you also have to make water use sustainable, you’re entering an entirely different way of thinking about landscapes. (Rendering Courtesy of NLand Surf Park)

In the category of unusual construction project, things don’t get much more unusual than building a place to surf that’s about four hours from the nearest ocean. But, that’s what’s getting under construction in Austin, Texas, with completion slated for 2016, or about eight months after kick off.

It’s Sustainable Too

Not only will this surfers’ haven be land locked, it will also be completely sustainable in its water needs after the initial fill. Rainwater will replenish the water levels even during drought conditions at this watery and unusual construction project, according to a press release from White Construction Company, the builders. White will lead 90 craftsmen and professionals to bring the park to reality.

Waves of Surfing Fun

Doug Coors, surfer and engineer, spent 15 years finding a wave-generating technology that would mimic the perfect waves surfers crave. The main action at the NLand Surf Park will be housed in a man-made lagoon, where waves will crest at one, four and six feet. The six foot waves will develop perfect tubes so surfers can have a pipeline experience. The 160-acre park will feature 11 surfing areas with four different surfing levels ranging from beginner to professional.

Unusual Construction Project Details

Rider Levett Bucknall, a property and construction consultancy, provided budgeting services and then served as design coordinator. The company will manage the project and continue as design coordinator, overseeing building the main lagoon, the foundations for the equipment, and a pier with boardwalks.

The lagoon in this unusual construction project will cover over 57,000 square feet, and the entire site has been shaped so that rainwater channels into the reservoir. To further reduce water loss and cost, the lagoon was designed using computer modeling to create perfect waves.

“We designed the park to tread lightly on the land and all its resources, especially water,” said Coors. “Even in the most challenging drought conditions, we will be capable of operating the lagoon with only rainwater.”

To improve sustainability, Rider Levett Bucknall suggested an on-site nursery and substituting drought tolerant native species for invasive non-native plants.

“We view NLand as a long-term, long-vision project,” said Don Miller, project manager with Rider Levett Bucknall. “The trees, plants, and sod will grow in naturally over time, reducing initial landscaping costs. Removing invasive non-native plants and replacing them with drought tolerant native species will also greatly reduce water consumption.”

Adjustments on the Business End

Rider Levett Bucknall changed project schedule priorities, and the budget, so the lagoon can function and the park can begin generating revenue as soon as possible. This mitigated cost-over-run risks. The company also ensured proper phasing, that wave equipment testing would occur, and that the park’s entrance and parking were prioritized.

Cost-saving design strategies meant replacing the poured-in-place concrete pier supports planned for the support and amenity building, with gravel and pavers. That will allow the foundation supports to move as they would on a natural beach at a waterfront.