The big news in Texas surfing this week happened more than 200 miles from the nearest beach.

NLand Surf Park in Austin closed for the winter season in the fall with promises of a stellar 2019 on tap. A few weeks later, rumors started circulating that the park was closed permanently and had laid off all its employees.

As it turns out, the rumors were true. According to deed records filed Dec. 28 in the Travis County Clerk’s Office, a Maryland-registered corporation in care of the Kelly Slater Wave Co. purchased NLand from owner Doug Coors of the famous beer family.

NLand opened in 2016 using wave-making technology developed by Wavegarden in Europe but had fallen behind in the artificial wave arms race. BSR Surf Resort, which opened last year in Waco, produced a better, more surfable wave, and Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in Central California is considered by most to be the gold standard when it comes to wave pools.

What surfing’s 11-time world champion and his company plan to do with the NLand property is unclear. Earlier this week, however, an online report surfaced indicating that the Wavegarden technology was removed from the park, thus clearing the way for KS Wave Co. to potentially install its own proprietary wave-making equipment there.

One thing that is certain: Landlocked surfers who had become accustomed to getting their gills wet in Austin are certainly hoping that Slater decides to open this particular park to the public.

His Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, has been an invitation-only locale, meaning if you aren’t connected in some way to Slater, play quarterback for the Saints or enjoy some measure of celebrity, you aren’t surfing that wave.

No matter what happens, the KS Wave Co.’s decision to purchase the NLand property has left everyone guessing what the future holds. In the meantime, there is hope on the horizon for people who want to shred a pool. BSR Surf Resort is still on track to re-open this year after installing a filtration system and doing other major upgrades to its park this winter.

Stay tuned for more details on the Austin wave park as they become available.

SURF FOR THE WEEKEND?

After a pretty stellar fall and an active winter thus far surfwise here in Galveston, the waves have taken a bit of a breather over the past few days.

That could change today with rideable, clean surf forecast for this afternoon. Pay attention to the cams. The water temp was still a balmy 59 degrees on Thursday, which is pretty warm for early January.

Stephen Hadley is a longtime surfer who lives and works in Galveston. If you have an idea for this column, email him at stephendhadley@gmail.com.

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