Lib Tech at Chelan’s Lakeside Surf Wave Pool

Environmentally nicer… Lib Tech EcoImpacto Construction X Lakeside Surf.
A river wave powered by a river!!!

Kai Huggins at Slide Waters in Chelan, WA
Spray master Kai Huggins

Robert and Cousins, co-owners of Slidewaters/Lakeside Surf, have been working on making the world more fun for the entire family. When they invited us to come check out their latest project, the world’s largest and North America’s first @citywave, we were frothing! Washington State has waves out on the coast but the water is cold, the surf is often big, messy, and the coastline can be hard to access. Slidewaters is located east of the Cascade mountains in Chelan, which is known for beautiful Lake Chelan, an abundance of outdoor recreation, and being a sunny, rain shadow protected, warm dry oasis and refuge from Western Washington’s famous rain… Basically it’s our Palm Springs and now that it has surf it’s our “East Coast”!

Video by Tim Stanford. All photos by Tim Zimmerman.

Austin Smith-Ford at Slide Waters in Chelan, WA
Austin Smith-Ford emerged in an oasis wrapped in a mirage

We had been talking with the Lakeside Surf crew about a visit for a couple of years but Covid threw curve balls at everyone; our factory was shut down for 10 weeks last spring, and Slidewaters faced even more extended challenges. This spring things are looking up and we got the good news that Slidewaters would be opening on May 29th and we were able to make the trip happen.

Greg Goulet at Slide Waters in Chelan, WA
Greg Goulet feel good flow master

Our goal for this trip was to check out the wave, talk with the the crew about our experience and help them get extra dialed in before opening, experiment with board shapes and sizes to figure out what worked best, get some photos and video have a darn good time. We selected a diverse crew that included talent from two NW riverwave hot spots… Greg Goulet and Paul Whitworth, Boise Idaho river wave shredders and owners of Prestige Skate shop. The Huggins family from Oregon, who rip the Bend river wave set up. 2 time Mavericks champ and our Nor Cal rep, Ken “Skindog” Collins, and two of his crew from Santa Cruz, Austen Smith-Ford from the east side, and Xica from the west side of town. We also brought one of Washington’s best surfers, Sky Fischer and family, Stephanie and Current, along with his talented surfer/artist dad Todd Fischer.

Xica at Slide Waters in Chelan, WA
Xica far from Santa Cruz but right at home on rail

When you arrive at Lakeside Surf, the first thing that you notice is the attention to detail and quality in each element of their build; the white sand gardens and beach volleyball set up, the colorful arena seating, the bright blue of the wave, the Miami beach inspired lifeguard tower/control room, and the Surf Club, bar and food truck patio overlooking the wave. The next thing you focus on is the wave… you are immersed in the sound of rushing water and you can’t take your eyes of the miraculous flowing energy of the wave set up… you can’t get in the water fast enough.

Ken "Skindog" Collins at Slide Waters in Chelan, WA
Perpetual grom/stoke master Skindog comfy in the water and everywhere else

The ride itself is amazing… at 54’ wide and 6’ tall, it’s the largest City Wave ever built. Traditionally City Waves are around 36’ feet wide and 5’ high. The extra width at Lakeside Surf gives it an ocean wave feel and really frees you up to link turns and build speed before throwing everything you have at the cutback hack and head back the other way. The added height opens up the wave face and gives you more room to draw different lines and play comfortably without being concerned about fitting your board into the wave. They are able to control the flow of the water, from mellower settings to faster more aggressive settings. I am pretty sure we tried 3 different settings and each one was fun and rippable. It was hard to tell if there was a favorite, the wave keeps roaring. The water flow at the lowest setting we tried is more than enough to have your board gliding effortlessly and working well. It feels like it’s your turn again and before you know it… you are in the flow zone.

Birds-eye view of Slide Waters in Chelan, WA
Plenty of room for hecklers and fans… Xica in the zone

Boards… our thoughts on boards were everything works but smaller boards with narrower tails work best… the water is moving fast and you are looking for control and the extra maneuverability and freedom a smaller performance shortboard shape offers. A small board really brings the wave to life. Everyone downsized from what they would use in the ocean. Some of the river guys upsized from what they would ride in their smaller home waves but even the smallest river wave shapes worked. Larger boards work but wider tails were a bit hard to control and longer lengths can feel a bit awkward and catchy in the wave face. We tried all kinds of fin set ups and with the power and rapid flow rate of the wave it felt like a tri fin set up offered the optimal balance of speed and control. Some favorite boards we brought were the Nudebowl 5’5”, Short Round 5’4”, KA Swordfish 5’6”, RNF 5’6″, Puddle Jumper 5’1”, PJHP 5’ 4” and 5’ 6”, Rocket Redux 5’6, 5’ 8” and 5’ 10”, and the Quiver killer 5 6’ and 5 8”.

Austin Smith-Ford at Slide Waters in Chelan, WA
Austin Smith-Ford one hand on the wheel of his RNF

Wrapping it up… the crew at Lakeside Surf were fantastic hosts, the location is amazing, the vibe and set up is great, and the wave is ridiculously fun and more than a bit addictive. The amount of time you get on your feet ripping in one session could equal weeks or months in the ocean. On top of all that, Slidewaters, like our board building facility, is powered with renewable hydro-electric power like our factory! We couldn’t be more excited about Washington’s new “east coast” home of our warmest most consistent surf spot. Good times guaranteed and the only sharks are at the bar 😉

Pete Saari and Lib Tech Surf at Slide Waters in Chelan, WA
Lib Tech co-founder Pete Saari Swordfish cocktail hour

Opening May 29th. Book your visit at www.lakesidesurf.com

Sam waiting his turn at Slide Waters in Chelan, WA
Sam will be there…

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