By: Alex Murphy
Deep in the heart of Texas, surfers are getting an experience like almost nowhere else in the U.S. While many people may not think of the Lone Star State as a surfing destination, Waco Surf at BSR in Waco is working to change that. Read on for our Surf Trip Travel Guide to BSR Surf Resort.
BSR Surf Resort Surf Trip Guide
When planning a surf trip to BSR Resort, the surf resort offers three ways to book your surf pool experience. The first is through their “Stay and Surf” package that combines access to advanced surf reservations with an overnight stay at either the Waco Surf Hotel, their seven on-site surf cabins or one of their four private homes on the property. Second is via a private booking, where groups of individuals or companies with an unlimited number of surfers take over the pool for as little as one hour, and in some cases entire days. During these private sessions, guests can choose their own waves from a roster of 40 different profiles (see below for examples), creating a truly unique experience for each group.
Finally, the third way to book is for those surfers who pay attention to BSR’s website or follow their Instagram account to get alerts when spots open up for surfing availability. Anyone planning a trip is highly encouraged to take advantage of the Stay and Surf or private booking options.
BSR’s surf pool uses American Wave Machine’s PerfectSwell technology, allowing the pool to create a wide variety of waves that create rides up to 17 seconds coming from the right and left sides of the pool. The wave technology can produce swells for surfers of all experience levels, including beginners with knee-to-thigh high waves, intermediate with waist-to-chest-high waves, and advanced with shoulder-to-head high waves with a wide array of turn, barrel and air sections. Waco’s waves come in 3 to 4 wave sets with a wave every 8 to 10 seconds starting every 78-90 seconds. That can add up to an incredible +/-160 perfect waves per hour.
No one is left behind at the ranch property that covers almost 500 acres. Those opting out of surfing but still looking for a day on the beach can enjoy the natural sand beach and numerous cabana options. New this year Waco Surf installed a beachfront hot tub and the Surfside Shack that serves up tacos and beer all day.
During the summer guests can also take advantage of the surf views at the pool bar, and those looking for additional adventure can try out the world’s longest lazy river or any of the three super slides. The resort also offers a world-class cable park for individual use and has a wakesurf program that includes your own Super Air Nautique G23 boat and captain who will pilot you on the same lake that’s hosting next year’s World Wakesurf Championships.
Below, read the excitement from GM Mike Schwaab when he gets to introduce someone to BSR.
I always froth when I get the opportunity to show this place off to someone that’s never been here before (or has only seen as far as the wave lagoon). The waves are the most publicized aspect of this place, but our property actually extends almost 500 acres – less than 100 of which are seen activated today. Between the Lemurs that we have living on the property, the working hay farm out the back, and the variety of ranch style houses with private lakes throughout the compound, people usually leave saying “what IS this place?!” It’s already such a unique location, but also has so much undeveloped land for us to continue adding weird and quirky additions over the next few years.”Mike Schwaab, General Manager, BSR Surf Resort
Here’s what you need to know before planning your surf trip to BSR.
Getting to BSR Surf Resort in Waco, Texas
While Waco does have its own airport, many visitors chose the direct flights into the larger regional airports like Austin’s Bergstrom International and Dallas, which has two options with DFW and Love Field. You can Uber or get a shuttle to Waco and if you are driving, both Austin and Dallas are only about a two-hour drive to Waco Surf.
What to Pack for a BSR Surf Resort surf trip
- A favorite surfboard or two. Most surfers feel like their own board works well in Waco despite the freshwater buoyancy differences. While the waves are fast and steep, a rocker helps. Waco Surf offers a full quiver of Lost and Firewire surfboards across most lengths and volumes for those that don’t want to pay to ship their boards.
- Wetsuit. The water temperature fluctuates dramatically both month to month and within the day at BSR Resort. The average temperature will be the average of the air high and low temps with up to 20-degree changes during the day. It’s trunks and sunscreen from June to October but bring options for the spring and fall as it gets into the 40s during the fringe months.
- Camera. The action is up close and personal from the cabanas for your own surfing footage at BSR Resort. Pro tip: BSR photographs most public sessions so you can purchase what your buddy might have missed.
- Sunscreen and water. Bring a (non-glass) hydration vessel to fill up your water bottle as the resort features several FloWater filling stations to cut back on plastic waste.
BSR provides guests with an array of wave types including:
- Beginner. The resort’s Malibu wave setting offers an open face peeling wave with a small crumble at the take-off. The waves for the most part run constantly, and are great for longboards and advanced beginners. Waco offers a guide in the water to help never-evers get pushed into these waves.
- Intermediate. 2022 will have a re-formulated Intermediate Wave with a yet to be revealed name. The new Intermediate waves come in 4-wave sets and have an easier entry point, slower pace, more size and break in deeper water. These are all big upgrades to the current wave.
- Advanced. The 2022 Advanced line-up will feature the New Lowers 4-wave set. Waves 1 – 4 each have unique characteristics of speed, angle and power. The 4-wave set nature creates differing reef levels that create separate barrel profiles.
- Air Sections. Instagram has made the Waco Air Wave the most viewed wave in the world, and it’s a must for anyone trying to perfect their air game. Note that this is only available during private sessions.
- Sissy Sauce. Named after the beloved Rudy’s BBQ treat sauce, this features a little wedge slab barrel that pops you up at the end of the wave.
- The Wedge. A single wave set heavy beach break barreling wave that almost always guarantees a pitted finish.
- The Grom Bomb. Rolled out for the Rip Curl Grom Search event, this double barrel wave has claimed many boards from folks that simply aren’t groms.
- Interested in a private session or executive surf retreat at BSR Resort? Submit your info below and someone will get in touch.
Where to Stay at BSR Surf Resort
The most accessible place to stay is at the actual resort. The Waco Surf Hotel is right on the wave and is both fun and convenient. For something close with a little more vibe and ranch quality, try the surf cabins on the cable park lake. If you are bringing a group, the resort offers a series of AirBNB options that are great Waco vacation rentals within a short walk or bike ride to the surf lagoon. Other options are in town and about a 15-minute drive from BSR. Nearby Waco hotels include the Aloft Waco Baylor, and the Waco Hilton and Courtyard by Marriott, which get you into downtown Waco, where you can walk to plenty of places for coffee, dinner or drinks.
What to Eat
The resort has three places to eat, including its main restaurant overlooking the cable park, the Grill at the Super Slides and the Surfside Shack taco and beer bar. Food can also be delivered to your cabana or beach chair while you enjoy the surf.
If you are leaving the property, Waco is filled with great Mexican food. For tacos, downtown Waco is home to Hecho en Waco, where you can pick from a big menu of TexMex. For a more on-the-go option, travelers to Waco may enjoy one of the state’s smaller chains with Torchy’s Tacos. Ask any Waco Surf employee and you’ll likely get pointed to one of the many taco trucks dotting Bellmead Blvd.
If you’re headed to Texas be sure to leave room for BBQ. Those looking to fill up after a long day at the surf pool can check out multiple barbecue spots, including Guess Family BBQ or Vitek’s, where you can order brisket and sausage by the pound. Another option, Rudy’s will deliver out to the resort. Rudy’s has delivered so much to the resort that the BSR staff named a wave after their BBQ Sissy Sauce.
Anyone looking for a little more of an Austin vibe should head out to Milo’s All Day. In just one corner of Waco you can find a great farm-to-table meal, the fantastic Balcones Distillery, and your choice of two sinful dessert locations, Milk Bottle Cookies and Splendid Oaks Confections.
For those following a more liquid diet, Waco offers many hole-in-the-wall bars and hangout spots such as Sloanes, One Day and Freight (if you’re after an immersive Baylor College experience).
When to Visit
Texas is known for its heat but Waco is surprisingly temperate. While visitors can expect a few days of triple-digit temperatures in July, August and even early September, Waco doesn’t get prolonged humidity, making summer a great time to visit. BSR Resort opens in March, when it can get chilly, but April makes for a great springtime visit.
The waterpark elements of BSR open in late May which is also Texas monsoon season that can bring afternoon thunderstorms. Fall is generally fantastic and trunks are still worn into early November. The resort stays open through mid-December for those willing to pull out booties and their 4/3 full suit. It’s a very different resort depending on when you go so plan accordingly. During mid-summer BSR Resort is a cranking party, Texas style, while spring and fall are much quieter with most guests solely focused on surfing.