Surf Snowdonia, home of the longest artificial wave in the world - Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

Surf Snowdonia, the artificial Wave Garden in Wales, has been forced to close for the winter, eight weeks ahead of schedule. The closure has been brought forward because of a serious failure of the main drive mechanism of the wave generating machinery.

Wave Garden engineers estimate that the fault will take a minimum of three months to repair which means that, even if all goes to schedule, the facility wouldn't be be up and running again until early December.  Even in a couple of wet suits, North Wales would probably be a little chilly for riding barrels. The scheduled reopening is Spring 2016.

Red Bull Unleashed at Surf Snowdonia in September 2015 - Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

Surf Snowdonia opened to plaudits from both the surf industry at large, and the main stream media back on 1st of August this year. Since the doors opened, they've been teaching up to 300 hundred surfers a day how to stand up, catch waves, and ride.

However, this is not the first forced closure of the site due to technical problems. Just weeks after opening, Surf Snowdonia temporarily closed as the reservoir had to be drained to repair a different mechanical fault.

We have absolutely no doubt that the closure of the site is an absolute must, as the safety of everybody riding the waves has to be paramount, and if there's a problem, closing for repair is definitely the right move. However, yet another closure so close after the grand opening has to be a little embarrassing for all involved.

Martin Ainscough, chairman of the Ainscough Group which owns Surf Snowdonia said: “This is a very disappointing day for us all at Surf Snowdonia, and we know it’s especially difficult for our excellent staff and for all of the people who have booked to come surfing with us.

“We are in the process of notifying all customers who have booked sessions and we will refund all payments. During the winter closure period we will be making further investment in order to improve the surf lagoon and broaden [what we have to] offer.

Surfing the barrels at Surf Snowdonia - Photo: James Renhard / Mpora

Ainscough continued by suggesting that there is a lot to look forward to when Surf Snowdonia reopens next year, adding: "By spring of 2016 we hope to open for our first full season with an improved offer. We also hope to re-employ many of the excellent people who have worked with us this season.

“Surf Snowdonia was always intended as a long term investment in our group and our extra investment over the winter will prove our absolute commitment to make Surf Snowdonia a success."

All Surf Snowdonia’s seasonal staff have had their contacts brought to an end early, and some permanent members of the team have been made redundant.

Being unique as the worlds first Wave Garden that's open to the public, it does seem only natural that Surf Snowdonia will have some teething problems, and we're convinced that this latest closure is nothing more than a bump on the road to success.

Frankly, it's incredible that we have such a facility here in the UK, and it's something that none of us should take for granted. Having been there when Surf Snowdonia opened, and witnessing first hand its ability to bring surf events right under the noses of the public when we saw Red Bull Unleashed in September this year, we have no doubt that Surf Snowdonia and Wave Gardens in general are worthy of all of our support.

With surfing in the Olympics becoming increasingly likely after the 2020 hosts Tokyo recommended it's inclusion for the games in five years time, we think Wave Gardens like Surf Snowdonia could be increasingly common, as they allow land-locked countries to hold surf events. And having one right here in the UK? Well, that only increases the chances of further Olympic success for Team GB.

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