In a new twist on competitive surfing, Red Bull launched the first international contest on man–made waves at Surf Snowdonia wave park in Wales. Around 20 competitors competed head–to–head at the world's first commercial wave pool for surfers, and Hawaiian Albee Layer took home first place.
The in-land Snowdonia uses an oscillating underwater plow to create consistent 6.5–foot waves that come at one-minute intervals. Reliable waves in a landlocked arena open the doors for future surfing competitions and possible inclusion at the Olympics. Unlike surfing contests in the ocean, competitors were given the same conditions and essentially the same waves. The venue also allowed more than 2,000 spectators to stand just feet away from the surfers as they rode waves in the 900-foot long lagoon.
Surfers went head–to–head in a best-out-of-five contest rather than the traditional scoring method of half–hour heats with the best two waves scored. North Wales is currently the only place in the world an event like this could take place. However, Surf Snowdonia won't be the only inland surfing location for long. Portugal is looking to install a surfing pool of its own.