July 28, 2021
With new wave pool parks opening up around the world, it's possible to get waves in places you wouldn't expect to. A few of our Bing family members have had the chance to get some Bing Surfboards under their feet at land locked wave parks you may be eager to surf. The parks may actually produce waves that rival the quality of your local home break. The feedback from each family member can help you know what Bing to ride at a wave park near you.
I surfed The Wave in Bristol which uses Wavegarden technology. It's quite a surreal setup as it is an hour away from the nearest surf-able beach and built in a relatively rural area. The trip from the carpark to the wave itself is quite a long walk but most people skate (or at least I did). When you arrive it's more akin to a ski centre or something, with the checking in and other formalities. There is a really nice bar area and restaurant and the setup is pretty chilled with groms and employees skating around. The pool itself is smaller than I expected, but the shape means it's quite an efficient use of space.
The first time I went I was on the advanced setting and the wave was quite fat but the last two visits I surfed the expert setting. Many people talk about noticing a difference between the fresh water and salt water, but I didn't notice anything really. I feel like a slightly higher volume board works better but mainly due to the shape of the wave, the kind of wave that in the ocean you would opt for a fish or similar.
The expert setting has a small barrel section, it takes some tucking in but if it was at your local reef you would be pretty stoked! This setting is quite difficult to do turns on as you do not have that much speed coming into the steeper section.
I rode a 5'7" Bing Cypress on my first visit and a 5'10" Bing Dart on my last 2 trips. Both boards worked really well and I feel like the small pocket and steepness of the wave required a smaller board rather than a longboard or a midlength. There are smaller settings that might suit a longboard better but the requirement to wear a leash kills the vibe a little!
It was good fun and a great option during long flat spells. It's also pretty fun to stand on the pier drinking beer and watching mates rip or kooks getting dragged along the wall. It's not like surfing in the sea, though, and I would not really drive away from the coast unless it was a special occasion or flat!
The first thing I remember thinking was how loud the wave machine was. It was so unnatural compared to the ocean.
It took me a couple of tries to get the takeoff down (the wave machine hums like a jet plane and a wave essentially appears out of nowhere, then you have to paddle towards the white wash to catch it and pivot towards the wall to ride it), but once I got it down it had the a perfect second turn section that practically did all the work for you. We surfed the "Trestles Right" at Waco first and that section kind of reminded me of a wave I surfed years ago in El Salvador.
My best wave was one of the Trestles Rights where I did a "three to the beach" combo ending with a little head dip. At the time I thought it was a total barrel, but looking back at the footage it's more of a head dip, or "leash barrel" as my friend calls it, hah.
I'm always trying to identify the "holy grail" surf trip. At this phase in my life, with three young kids, this pool was pretty hard to top and I kept comparing it to Mexico. The distance of Waco from San Diego is similar to Southern Baja (about 2.5 hours), but you can guarantee you'll get waves and the pool has a mellow wadding area for kids to swim in. With the BSR lodging being adjacent, it definitely checks a lot of the boxes.
However, I'd still pick Mex any day over a wave pool. It's hard to top a real surf trip-dust in your sandals, salt in your eyebrows, the combination of risk and reward. I see wave pools more as training ground than a true surf trip experience. The combo of both- say going to Waco then flying down to Mainland Mexico, might be the call though!
Beef: Honestly just straight intimidation haha (in the best way possible). I've never felt so much excitement but also so terrified all at the same time. Seeing the wave pool in person is so surreal, I've seen tons and tons of videos but to be there in person felt pretty crazy.
Hunter: When I first got there I felt pretty out of place surrounded by concrete and very luxurious amenities. It was hard to imagine that I would be surfing in the middle of nowhere out in Leemore and in such a new and alien environment. None the less felt immense excitement for what was to come.
Beef: I wish I could say I wasn't nervous my first wave but in reality my entire body was shaking and I felt my heart was going to explode. Hearing the train coming and seeing this wave start building bigger and bigger as it's coming towards you is quite a daunting feeling. My worst nightmare was missing the paddle in but surprisingly once the wave got to me it was like second nature and went very smoothly. Once I stood up I instantly got a rush of adrenaline and had the biggest smile on my face. It really felt like the most perfect wave and was so fun to get some turns in and cruise until the barrel section. I could tell that the barrel section was coming and got a little nervous but really wanted to give it my all and not fear the wipeouts I'd seen the people before me go through. I did get in there for a little but got sucked over the falls pretty hard which to my surprise just made me burst into laughter when I popped back up haha. After that first wave all of my fears melted away and I just wanted to go again and again very determined to make it out of the next one.
Hunter: Because I didn't want to blow it and miss my first wave I had a lot of emotions going through me. But once I paddled in and stood up I instantly felt comfortable and saw the potential of what this wave could offer. It definitely took a little getting used to but once I figured it out and got some turns in all of my worries went away and I had a bunch of fun (before I got thrown over the falls at the end).
Beef: My best wave was during my second session, a really fun right. To my surprise I really enjoyed going backside which made me excited because I was pretty nervous about the tube section going right. I just hung out in the pocket and trimmed for most of the wave to play it safe which paid off in the end with a pretty nice little cover section that felt really good:)
Hunter: My favorite would have to be from a session we had after the sun went down. I took out a vintage Greek foam spoon that was kindly lent to me by my friend. I remember being not a single knot of wind and the pool was like a sheet of glass. The water was lit up a bright turquoise blue from the lights and everything was pretty magical. Dropping in seeing the perfectly formed curling barrel start to wrap around me was an unreal experience that I wish I could recreate.
Beef: I rode a 7'2" Bing Alpha Pin which most people were pretty surprised by. Almost everyone there was riding short thrusters and performance boards but that's not necessarily my style so I went with what felt comfortable for me and I think it worked great there. It trims so well and held up in the barrel sections and I was really happy that's what I went with.
Hunter: I rode a 6'6" Bing Twin Fish Prototype from Matt. I thought it worked really well. Even though it was a little bigger than most of the shortboards that are typically ridden there I still think it was able to hold its own. It felt loose and fast, how I like my surfing. Although it was one of my first times riding a twin fin, I felt extremely confident that this board could take me and place me in any spot on the wave that I wanted.
Beef: My biggest take away was I love barrels haha. Since I started surfing I've always been attached to longboarding but the wave pool really expanded my mind to a different way of surfing and a want to chase some bigger waves and ride some shorter boards. It was such a good change of pace for me and I'm excited to expand my surfing from there and push myself out of my comfort zone a lot more.
Hunter: My biggest takeaway from surfing at the ranch would have to be the self analytical aspect of it. Since the wave is almost perfect I found myself thinking less about the wave and more about my own surfing ability and what I can do. Add to the fact that they have multiple instructors/coaches that are constantly giving you advice and trying their best to help. That and being able to watch yourself and see how well or poor you surfed really had me thinking of things I could do to improve my surfing.
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This winter was hard. Was it for you? Did you get good waves? Did you have big, life-shifting moments? Even if you were in Southern California it was really wintery. The weight of the cold months weighed on me like the snow itself. The deep, heavy puddles didn’t empty until just recently.
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