It's that time of year again… The sun is on its way (hopefully), the bank holidays are rolling in and I'm getting twitchy sat at home dreaming of camping trips.
My absolute favourite place (possibly in the world) is Wales. The scenery and outdoor life there is just epic. I usually drive over to Abersoch to get some sun, sand and sea — it's a great spot for surfing when the swell is in, but it's hard to judge when you have to plan a journey ahead and book time off work, etc.
This is where Surf Snowdonia changed a lot of people's lives.
Surf Snowdonia hosts the UK's first wave pool — an automated machine that creates consistent waves every 90 seconds. It's hypnotic to watch the waves pass up and down the man-made lake (built in the old power station's spot) and a real sun trap on a bright day.
Based in a small village called Dolgarrog (right next to Conwy) it's super easy to get to, and cuts about an hour off my journey in comparison to Abersoch. Regular events are held (including Red Bull Unleashed) so its great for a day out even if you don't fancy getting in the water.
For the rest of us however… it's an awesome day of water, wetsuits and waves. With lessons available for all levels, and also the option to take a free surf and play around on the water, they really do cater for everyone.
I had an hour lesson with one of the awesome teachers there — she was really down to earth and gave great tips. A quick session indoors helped us warm up and prep for getting out on the water. The adrenaline rush you get hearing the motor kick in and start moving down the length of the pool is crazy, knowing the wave is coming up behind you! I managed to get a great session out of it and didn't want to get out… I'll definitely be spending a big portion of my summer there.
Andy Ainscough (Managing Director of SS) kindly sat down with me and we had a chat about the place and his reasons for opening it. Hearing about the history of the plot was really interesting — there are still water pipes leading to the pool that flow down the side of the mountains nearby.
It's worth having a good walk around the village while you're there (helps you stretch out after all the surf!), then head back to the restaurant for a beer and an awesome pizza. Best day ever.
So a huge thank you to Andy for taking the time out to chat to me, and for my lesson on the waves. There's no way of explaining the thrill of this experience, you just HAVE to get there and try it for yourself. I promise you'll love it.
The amazing photography in this post is by Scott Cross — head to his site for more mind blowing shots!