DAN ALDERMAN, Adventure guy, Austin, Texas
You So Haole, You Don’t Even Know You Haole
From driving my Firebird across Florida to New Smyrna Beach in 1985 to cramming three guys into a Nissan pickup and exploring Baja 15 years later, the surf trip has always been an experience that holds a level of anticipation equal to Christmas morning for me. Waking up really early, pounding coffee, blasting bad music and stopping by a truck stop for snacks are all part of the ritual that you hope delivers fun waves. A few weeks ago, I found myself with that same nervous energy as I drove to Waco to ride the man-made wave at BSR Surf Resort.
Winding my way into ranch country east of Waco I could only imagine the guts it took to build a man-made surf wave in the middle of Texas. But similar to the baseball field Ray Kinsella built in the middle of a corn field, this would be my Field of Dreams!
The Wave Is Going to Break There – Don’t Be Here
After pulling into the property, past the wakeboard cable park on the left, you’ll make your way into the lobby and San Diego based surf shop, Surf Ride. Living in Carlsbad for 15 years, Surf Ride was my go-to board shop and I was stoked to see them setting up camp at BSR Surf Resort. I signed the necessary waivers, made my way to beach and was absolutely floored at the set up. This little piece of ranch land was transformed into a beach area you might find in Central America. And while I can’t do it justice, trust me that it was badass.
The beach stretched the entire length of the property and was lined with lounge chairs and cabanas that are available on a first-come basis. The loud speaker played old school punk from bands like Pennywise, Social Distortion and Bad Religion. At the back of the property sat a heated pool, overlooking the waves, complete with swim bar. And the waves, that reeled consistently across the pool, just begged to be ripped. It’s Candyland for Surfers.
Scrub It Kook
Now it was time to enter the line up which is very organized by both the guy driving the wave in the tower as well as the water patrol with each group. Each hour-long session consists of 9 surfers forming three groups of three. Once the driver starts the machine, each set consists of three waves, one minute apart and you rotate through the groups. If you miss your wave, you go to the back of the line. For the first 30 minutes, the driver runs all Rights and then switches for the last half-hour to run all Lefts. Each side gives you seven to eight waves.
Although the wave looks completely user-friendly and reels like a shoulder-high jetty wave or point break, catching them is much different than ocean surfing and a little counter intuitive. In my experience, when surfing a jetty, you want to get as close as possible to the rocks and paddle with the refracting wave. But the machine wave actually breaks into the wall and there’s a flat double-up that doesn’t break right against it. But with a tip from the water patrol, and a few misses, I realized that I needed to sit about 10’ off the wall, paddle at a 45* angle away and then fade into the pocket. And once you get it dialed it, you’ll feel like you’re surfing the left at Trestles.
Full On Rick Kane Style
I started on the Rights and got a few good ones, but now that I knew how to actually catch the wave, was ready to go front-side. Immediately I picked up the first one and rode it all the way to inside and had a nice cutback and little floater. I proceeded to pick off the next three and continued to get a better feel for how the wave broke, parts that flattened out and places where it got hollow on the inside. And although there isn’t a lot of paddling, my arms were starting to get noodled and I missed the next two.
Frustrated, I got back in line only to hear the driver call for the last set and there was zero chance that I wasn’t going to grab it. I got in perfect position, paddled like it was my job and dropped into the most perfect Left I can remember riding. Following a drive into the pocket, I snapped off the top, cut back and faded into a sweet little inside barrel to end my session at BSR Surf Resort.
Nobody Listens To Turtle
BSR Surf Resort is a slice of heaven for landlocked surfers that grew up near the ocean. And although you’ll never be able to replicate the experience of a Costa Rican surf trip, after work session in Huntington Beach or the feeling of being salty and sunburned at Sebastian Inlet, BSR has definitely harnessed the stoke. After my hour-long session, I jumped in the heated pool, had a few beers and reflected on the afternoon.
With perma-grin in place and the Al Merrick Flyer packed up, I said goodbye to BSR Surf Resort for the day. But there is no doubt in my mind that I won’t be putting together a surf trip with the boys and heading up to this oasis in the middle of ranch country.