Surfing may be a sport that is greatly associated with the world’s mighty oceans, but today, it’s no longer an ocean-only activity.
In 1934, the first publicly available wave pool in London was constructed. Although it wasn’t made for surfing, this became the seed that eventually produced a few of our modern-day artificial wave technologies.
While it will forever be true that nothing can beat the ocean as a surfing teacher, the best wave pools do present some merits.
For instance, some avid surfers may live in a landlocked area, with the ocean being at least a few hundred miles away. But, with an accessible wave pool nearby, they now have a chance to hone their surf skills on a more regular basis, even if it’s in a controlled environment.
Top 14 Best Wave Pools in the World
Are you an ocean purist who’s ready to try the novelty of man-made waves? In this post, we’ll talk about 14 of the best wave pools that the world currently has to offer, and how you can make the most out of them!
Note: We’ve arranged this list geographically to make it easy for you to plan your future trips, should you ever be interested in checking them out!
- BSR Surf Resort (United States)
- Kelly Slater Surf Ranch (United States)
- Typhoon Lagoon at Disney World (United States)
- Praia da Grama (Brazil)
- The Wave (United Kingdom)
- Surf Snowdonia (United Kingdom)
- The Wave Palace at Siam Park (Spain)
- Eisbach (Germany)
- Alaïa Bay (Switzerland)
- Roaring Lagoon at Valley of Waves (South Africa)
- Wadi Adventure (United Arab Emirates)
- Wave Park (South Korea)
- Surf Beach at Sunway Lagoon (Malaysia)
- URBNSURF (Australia)
Barefoot Ski Ranch, or more popularly known as BSR, is considered as one of the leading water facilities in the United States.
The resort was initially known for its cable park, lazy river, and royal flush slide. Eventually, BSR teamed up with American Wave Machines (AWM) to build a 2-acre surf lake that utilizes PerfectSwell® Infinite Ocean™ technology.
BSR Surf Resort offers public sessions for beginner, intermediate, and expert surfers. The schedules are typically made available 4-6 weeks in advance.
Beginner waves are slow and they’re 1-2 feet high. The fee for the beginner option already includes a soft top board rental. It can accommodate a maximum of 20 surfers per session.
Intermediate waves are chest high and each session can accommodate a maximum of 12 surfers. The waves here are similar to those fun sessions you get at your local surf spot. Recommended boards include fishes, funboards, longboards, and mini tankers.
Expert-level waves, meanwhile, are head high and are comparable to the famed bowls of Hawaii’s North Shore. Only 9 surfers at a time are allowed during expert sessions. To get the most out of these waves, it’s best to bring high-performance shortboards or bodyboards.
To book the wave level of your choice, you can click here. A beach pass is also available for $15 for those who just want to hang out at the beach.
If you prefer to have the wave pool all to yourself, BSR Surf Resort entertains private bookings. You can check out the fees here and fill out the form to make your reservation.
Address: 5347 Old Mexia Rd, Waco, TX 76705, United States
Kelly Slater is an American professional surfer who is widely recognized for his 11 World Titles in the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour. As both the youngest and the oldest World Champion in men’s surfing history, it’s no wonder why he’s considered the greatest competitive surfer of all time.
His passion for surfing eventually translated to a surfer’s ultimate dream: to recreate the best ocean waves in an artificial environment. Kelly may have ridden the first viral wave of the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch in 2015, but the whole idea was 10 years in the making.
To turn his dream into a reality, Kelly teamed up with some of the best minds in the field of fluid dynamics. Kelly and his team, the Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC), spent years experimenting with different prototypes until they perfected what is now the patented Kelly Slater Wave Systems.
Kelly Slater’s wave pool operates on a simple plow system that is comparable to Wavegarden’s Lagoon. A submerged hydrofoil is pulled down a track beside the 700-meter x 150-meter pool, which creates waves that are 3-8 feet high, depending on the foil’s speed.
To date, the KSWC system produces the longest open-barrel artificial waves available to mankind. If you’re able to ride a wave all the way to the end, the whole experience can take up to a minute — which is probably one thing that a wave pool can beat the ocean in.
For those who are interested in trying out the Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, check out the “How to Get In” section of our article here.
Address: 18556 Jackson Ave, Lemoore, CA 93245, United States
Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon is Disney’s oldest water park. More importantly, it has a wave pool that is big enough to actually surf in! No wonder it’s the park’s signature attraction.
The waves here can go as high as 6 feet. For safety reasons, guests can only surf before the park opens or after it closes. You can either take a beginner or an intermediate surfing lesson, or rent the whole pool privately for 3 hours.
Surfing classes are held prior to the park’s opening. The schedules usually vary depending on the season. Interested guests must be at least 8 years old to join. At this point, the lessons cost $199 per student, including tax.
Each class is approximately 2.5 hours long and accommodates a maximum of 12 students. It also comes with towels, beginner surfboards, and access to light continental breakfast.
To avail of Typhoon Lagoon’s surf lessons, you can contact (407) 939-7529 and then choose “Option 3”.
For the 3-hour private sessions, guests must bring their own surfing equipment, and only a maximum of 25 guests are allowed — including spectators. You’re free to bring your own food and beverages, but glass containers and alcoholic drinks are prohibited. Add-ons include food packages and digital photography packages.
If you and your surf pals are in Orlando and you can’t make it to any of Florida’s renowned surf spots, you can give Typhoon Lagoon’s surf pool a try by making a reservation here.
Address: 1145 E Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL 32830, United States
Wavegarden has finally made its way to South America with its first Wavegarden Cove at Fazenda da Grama, a private residential estate.
Featuring world-class waves and a tropical-themed lagoon that is filled with sand that doesn’t heat up no matter how hot the sun it, it’s no surprise that Praia da Grama is Fazenda da Grama’s prized centerpiece.
Aside from the wave pool, the property also features condominiums, volleyball and tennis courts, bars, restaurants, golf courses, spas, a 25-meter lap pool, and a 150,000-square meter lake for wakeboarding, kayaking, stand-up paddling, and sailing.
Praia da Grama produces 30 types of waves that are suitable for surfers of all levels, with wave heights ranging from 2-6 feet. Waves typically come every 8 seconds, and you can get up to 16 seconds of surf.
Best of all, the wave pool technology is silent, so you’ll only hear the sound of the waves. It truly feels as if you’re not riding artificial waves at all!
Located just 1 hour away from São Paulo, Praia da Grama serves as a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city — that is, if you’re lucky enough to get in.
For now, Praia da Grama is only available to the resort’s residents and their guests. If you don’t become a resident yourself, hopefully you know someone who can help you out!
Address: Miguel Melhado Campos Highway, km 83.5, Itupeva – SP, 13295-000, Brazil
Europe & Africa
The Wave prides itself in being Europe’s first public Wavegarden Cove, making it the first inland surfing attraction of its kind. With its close proximity to junction 17 along M5 motorway, interested tourists can readily reach The Wave by car, bus, or even by bicycle.
At its core, The Wave’s mission is to provide consistent, high-quality waves that can be enjoyed by surfers of all abilities — no matter what the season is. Regardless of your age, fitness level, and current surfing skills, there’s a surf session at The Wave that is perfect for you.
For now, The Wave offers Beginner Surf Lessons, Waikiki Lessons, and Intermediate Lessons. This is the suggested progression if you’re going to start from the beginning. For young ones who want to get into surfing, the minimum age for lessons is 6 years old.
Of course, there are also non-guided surf sessions for beginner to expert-level surfers who just want to practice their wave-riding skills. And, if you’re bringing friends who just want to chill and watch, the spectator pass is available for just £2.
For those who wish to prolong their escape, The Wave also has The Camp, a campsite that is located just a few meters from the surf pool. Indeed, staying at The Wave can be a great alternative to an ocean surf trip!
Address: Washingpool Farm, Main Rd, Easter Compton, Bristol BS35 5RE, United Kingdom
Surf Snowdonia is another Wavegarden pool that is located within Adventure Parc Snowdonia. When it opened in Summer 2015, it became a major tourist attraction in North Wales, garnering over 150,000 visitors during the first year — a number that’s twice the initial projections.
Surfing lessons are available for guests ages 5 and up. Children ages 5 to 7 can enroll in the Little Rippers Lessons, while children ages 8 to 12 can go with the Groms Lessons. For both lessons, a supervising adult should be present.
For adults, lessons are available for beginner to intermediate-level surfers. Experienced surfers who wish to refine their skills, meanwhile, can enroll in Advanced Development classes. Stand up paddleboarding lessons are also available. All lessons can be booked here.
If you simply want to surf without the guidance of a coach, you can book a session for any one of Surf Snowdonia’s four wave types, which are: Beginner Waves, Intermediate Waves 1, Intermediate Waves 2, and Advanced Waves. You can book your wave choice here.
On top of the surf pool, it also has some indoor and outdoor playgrounds, as well as off-site tracks where you can go hiking, trail running, mountain biking, and coasteering. Indeed, Adventure Parc Snowdonia is a haven for the adventure junkie.
With everything that the park has to offer, it’s no surprise that it’s attracting visitors from all sorts of active lifestyles. Naturally, some of them would want to spend more days at the park. If you’re that guest, you can either book a camping pod or check in at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Address: Conway Rd, Dolgarrog, Conwy LL32 8QE, United Kingdom
Siam Park is a world-renowned water park located in Spain’s Canary Islands. As the name implies, the park follows a Siamese or Thai theme.
Hailed by TripAdvisor as the #1 water park in the world for 7 years in a row, it’s no surprise that it draws tourists from all backgrounds — especially to its wave pool.
Out of all the park’s attractions, the team behind Siam Park feels the proudest about The Wave Palace. After all, they currently produce the largest artificial waves in the world. With the help of Murphy’s Waves technology, their waves can go as high as 3 meters (10 feet)!
The Wave Palace is also no stranger to surfing pros. In 2018, World Surf League arranged an exhibition event at the famous wave pool to celebrate the closing of the 2018 Las Americas Pro Tenerife Championship.
The wave shapes at The Wave Palace typically varies between long runners, which are great for turns, and close outs, which are recommended for practicing airs. Of course, smaller and gentler waves can also be arranged for beginner and intermediate surfers.
Guests can reserve The Wave Palace by the hour, which costs around €600 or $667 as of this writing. When your group arrives for your booking, Siam Park’s wave technician will meet you beforehand to plan the waves for your surf practice.
To book a surf session at Siam Park, you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Address: Av. Siam, s/n, 38660 Costa Adeje, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Eisbach isn’t exactly a wave pool per se, but it does warrant a spot here because of its unique “mechanism”. After all, not only is it a famous surfing attraction in a landlocked place, but it’s also located on a river!
This one-of-a-kind surf spot is part of a 2-kilometer-long man-made river that eventually flows into Isar River. Two sections of Eisbach have been carved for man-made waves, making it a popular river surfing destination among locals and tourists alike.
Although river surfing competitions have been held at Eisbach since the 1970’s, it was only in 2010 that surfing has become officially permitted here. Because we’re dealing with standing waves, surfers will be able to ride it for as long as they’re able to hold their balance.
The more famous surf spot, Eisbachwelle, is located near the Haus der Kunst Art Museum. Here, surfers take turns riding the 1-meter standing waves. The water here is shallow and cold, and the currents can be really strong. As a result, this spot is mostly recommended for experienced surfers.
There is another spot located a few hundred meters downstream, which you can find near the English Garden. Since Eisbach is wider in this area, the water tends to flow more slowly, making it more suitable for beginners.
Address: Munich, Germany
Just a century ago, no one would have believed you if you told them that there’s an incredible surf destination in Switzerland.
Sure, Switzerland is mostly appreciated for its natural wonders, but none of them includes oceans. After all, the nearest coastline to the country lies approximately 215 miles away, in Italy’s Gulf of Genoa.
Given its geography, one would think that surfing isn’t really a thing here, but Switzerland actually has an Olympic surfing team. Surfing is typically done in rivers (e.g., Thun or Bremgarten), in lakes (e.g., Leman or Neuchâtel when there are strong winds), or in rapid wave pools (e.g., Lucerne or Zurich).
Fortunately, things have changed for the better for Swiss surfers. With the opening of Alaïa Bay at Sion, landlocked Switzerland now has an official surf spot — one that provides some great views of the Swiss Alps.
Strategically situated at the heart of the Swiss Alps, Alaïa Bay takes pride in being the first surf park and Wavegarden Cove in Continental Europe.
Not only can you perfect your surfing skills without an ocean, but you can also do so in the company of snowcapped mountains. Now, there’s not a lot of surfers who can say that!
Just like the other Wavegarden pools, Alaïa Bay has a range of surf sessions, from Beginner to Beast mode. Check out their complete price list here. Once you’ve found a session that you’re interested in, you can book it here.
Address: Domaine des îles, Rte d’Aproz 65, 1950 Sion, Switzerland
Valley of Waves is a water park located within South Africa’s Sun City resort complex. While it is mainly a family destination for its various water slides and rides, its undisputed top attraction is the Roaring Lagoon, a wave pool that can generate waves as high as 2 meters (6.5 feet).
Driven by Murphy’s Waves, Roaring Lagoon is primarily used for swimming. But, just like the other wave pools on this list, surfers can rent it by the hour.
As of this writing, no exact information is available on the park’s surfing schedules. Based on the clips and posts available on the internet, we can infer that the rental windows are before the park’s opening and after its closing — like most water parks with wave pools.
In any case, you can contact Sun City at +27 14 557 3444 to inquire about reserving the Roaring Lagoon for a surf session.
Address: R556, Sun City, 0316, South Africa
Asia & Oceania
Just as Alaïa Bay has now made it possible to catch waves by the Swiss Alps, U.A.E.’s Wadi Adventure has become the watersport oasis that so many crave in a hot desert environment.
Being a country that’s situated in the Arabian Peninsula, no one would really expect a surf spot in a desert that is at least 100 miles away from the nearest sea. The good news is, Wadi Adventure made it happen!
The park’s claim to fame can partly be attributed to a 2012 short film by Dion Agius, entitled Electric Blue Heaven (shown above). Of course, the park’s amenities itself are enough to pique any person’s interest, given the country’s climate and geography.
After all, not only does Wadi Adventure have a surf pool, but it also has man-made whitewater channels for kayaking and rafting. They also have a dedicated space for wakeboarding. For the land-based activities, you’ll find ziplines, a climbing wall, a giant swing, and an aerial obstacle course.
Wadi Adventure’s surf pool uses Murphy’s Waves technology as well. Its waves can go as high as 2 meters, just like Valley of Waves’ Roaring Lagoon.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wadi Adventure has decided to temporarily close down the park for health and safety reasons, starting on March 18, 2020.
For now, they haven’t released any news about their reopening. However, they encourage interested guests to check their websites and social media channels from time to time for regular updates.
Address: Hazza Ibn Sultan St, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, 88202
In 2020, Asia finally welcomed its first Wavegarden Cove with the opening of Wave Park in Siheung, South Korea. This latest development from Wavegarden isn’t only the largest wave pool in all of Asia, but it’s also the largest Wavegarden Cove surfing lagoon to date!
Given that Wave Park utilizes the most updated iteration of Wavegarden technologies, surfers are bound to enjoy longer barrels and waves, plus more wave varieties than any other surf park.
Aside from the 20 different wave types that you can expect from Wavegarden projects, Wave Park also has a world-class air section. The cove is primarily divided into two parts: the reef and bay sections.
The reef produces waves that are around 1.2-2.4 meters high (3.9-7.8 feet). This portion is recommended for advanced surfers. The bay, meanwhile, has smaller waves that are 0.5-1 meters high (1.6-3.2 feet), which is perfect for practicing beginners.
At this point, Wave Park’s official website doesn’t have a complete English translation yet. If you’re interested in visiting Wave Park, you can check the “Prices” section of this article. The rental prices and schedule are also provided here.
Address: 2690 Jeongwang-dong, Siheung-si, South Korea
Peninsular Malaysia is no stranger to world-renowned beaches and surf spots. Understandably, not everyone who lives in metropolitan areas may have the time and resources to drive all the way to the coast or cross the sea for some fun times in an island.
Fortunately, Sunway Lagoon is here to fill in the gap for city-dwellers (and tourists) who want to cool off without having to travel for hours.
Though its water park has plenty of attractions to offer, the most popular one would be Surf Beach, which is its 13,000-square meter wave pool. It was the largest wave pool in the world when it was first completed.
Surf Beach is capable of churning up waves up to 8 feet. Just like Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon, Surf Beach is only available for surfing at certain times of the day.
Should you choose to rent the pool for a surf session, you can talk to the wave operator beforehand to adjust the waves. The pool is capable of producing lefts, rights, whitewater rollers, and A-frames.
It’s worth nothing that you’re not allowed to bring your own board to Sunway Lagoon, which means you’ll have to rent one of theirs. Here is the price list for the equipment rental.
Address: 3, Jalan PJS 11/11, Bandar Sunway, 47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
URBNSURF is not just Australia’s first surf park, but to date, it is also the first full-sized Wavegarden Cove in the southern hemisphere. Located just 2 kilometers away from Melbourne Airport, tourists who are flying in will have no trouble going directly to the waves.
Fortunately, URBNSURF Melbourne won’t be the only surf park in Australia for long, because Wavegarden is already planning to open another one in Sydney by 2022-2023!
Similar to the other Wavegarden Coves on this list, URBNSURF’s wave pool is divided into two sections: the bays and the point. “The bays” is a safe area for guests who wish to just swim and splash around, and it’s also where beginner lessons take place.
“The point”, meanwhile, is where thing get more serious. This is the area for cruiser, intermediate, advanced, and expert sessions.
“Cruiser” sessions are recommended for beginners who are just learning the basics but can now surf unassisted. “Cruiser turns”, meanwhile, is a new wave setting that’s designed for beginners who are refining their skills in preparation for intermediate-level waves.
Address: 309 Melrose Dr, Tullamarine VIC 3045, Australia
Bonus: FlowRider Resorts
It all started 3 decades ago, when Tom Lochtefeld decided to shoot some water up a ramp — in the bathtub, of all places. He did this in an attempt to simulate the barrels of La Jolla’s Big Rock.
This small experiment eventually turned into what we now know as the FlowRider, a wave simulator that behaves similarly to Eisbach’s standing waves. Its mission has always been to bring the thrill of wave-riding to anyone, no matter where they are in the world.
Now, many water parks in the world have acquired this technology to make surfing more accessible to their visitors. Though FlowRiders don’t give the full simulated surfing experience, it will at least help you with your balance and stability in a fun and safe environment.
Check out the FlowRider Locator to see if there’s any place with a FlowRider near you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Which wave pool technology is the best?
As you go over this list, you’ll notice that a number of the wave pools featured here are powered by Wavegarden and Murphy’s Waves technologies.
The latter is typically used in water parks where the wave pool is catered to visitors who just want to splash around rather than surf. Wavegarden Lagoon and Cove, meanwhile, were primarily developed for surfing.
Then, you also have American Wave Machines (AWM) and Kelly Slater Wave Systems, which are very much capable of making an indelible mark on their lucky guests.
Overall, the best wave pool would depend on the kind of surf experience that you’re after.
If you want to practice airs, BSR Surf Resort and Wave Park’s dedicated air section are awesome for that. On the other hand, if you’re looking to ride minute-long tubes, then Kelly Slater Surf Ranch is unrivaled in that department. In terms of aesthetics, however, the newer Wavegarden Coves are pretty hard to beat.
Q: What should I bring to the wave pool?
Going to the surf park is indeed exciting, but make sure that you read the park’s rules beforehand. This will help you decide which items to pack and which ones you should leave behind.
As a general rule, always bring water, some snacks, a pack of extra clothes, a towel, and some toiletries for your bare essentials. While you can bring your own board, it’s best to check if the park allows it.