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Wave Park Surf vs. Ocean Surfing With Owen Anthony

We recently sat down with Salt Life team member Owen Anthony to discuss his thoughts on surfing at Waco Surf Park and how it can improve your technique and make you a better surfer.


Owen is a 6th grader from Jacksonville Beach, FL. He has been surfing since his dad first took him out when he was 6 years old. He recently made a trip to Waco, TX where he got a chance to surf the waves at Waco Surf Park with friends. He recommends it for beginners and experienced surfers alike.

Waco Surf

Waco Surf Park is located in Waco, Texas, and offers visitors an authentic, customizable surfing experience on a 2-acre lake. The park uses technology to generate a realistic surfing experience that is customizable to all levels. When we spoke with Owen, he explained the 4 different surf experiences that you can try at Waco, and he was able to tackle all of them.

Wave Surf is a perfect place for beginners to get a chance to learn safely in a controlled environment. Beginner classes have no more than 20 surfers at a time and offer slower, gentler waves. Owen mentioned that you can also use a soft top board with the price of admission.


Intermediate classes bring the wave speed and size up a few notches. According to Owen, intermediate surfers can expect chest-high waves during this session. No more than 12 surfers will be allowed in this class at a time. These waves are perfect for surfers who are already experienced riding waves in the ocean.


This was Owen's favorite experience at Waco Surf Park. He explained that expert waves bring a faster, bigger ride for those that have been riding waves for a long time. These waves hit above shoulder height and deliver tubes and aerials. There will be no more than 9 surfers in this class.


Private Sessions
Owen noted that private sessions include a wetsuit and surfboard for surfers to use. You can book private sessions for whatever works for you (or you and your party). You’ll get to customize the surf experience, whether you want to cover the basics or catch air.

Biggest Difference Between Natural and Manmade Surfing

While you can learn to surf in any setting, we agree with Owen who feels that parks like Waco Surf are an excellent way to learn the sport. The experience can be totally customized and prepare new surfers to take on the ocean with confidence.


Wave Structure

Owen says one of the biggest differences between ocean surfing and surfing at a wave park is the wave structure. When you’re riding somewhere like Waco Surf, you have so much more power and height behind your waves. You can really challenge yourself. In the ocean, your waves will be much more mellow and of course, unpredictable.


One other thing that Owen noted is that wave parks offer consistency in training. Much like skaters in a skate park, surfers can customize their waves and spend an entire session perfecting technique. Owen realized the importance of this only when he got home from the surf park and felt like he was able to tackle the ocean with a little more confidence.

In the ocean, waves are unpredictable, and every wave is different than the last. While you will still learn, there is less of a learning curve in a controlled environment. No matter where you learn, find a coach who knows what they are doing. Owen recommends taking it slow and sticking to the small waves.

Thanks, Owen! 


Ready to hit the waves? Make sure you share your experience surfing by tagging us on Instagram @realsaltlife. See you out there!