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The Cove at The Lakefront, FlowRider surf simulator

Where to Surf Like an Olympian in Dallas-Fort Worth

local waterparks with FlowRider surf simulators

After decades seen as counterculture, surfing finally has its day in the sun—making its debut as an Olympic sport at the Tokyo Games (the same goes for skateboarding this year too). Tune into the one of the many streaming services (visit nbcolympics.com for all the options) and watch replays of U.S. team member Carissa Moore surf in her gold-winning performance.

If all the buzz has your kids stoked to try this sport for themselves, you’re in luck. Several family waterparks around Dallas-Fort Worth offer unforgettable rides on surf simulators called the FlowRider, which allow you to experience the thrill of stand-up surfing and bodyboarding with guaranteed waves and without the usual risks of swimming in the open ocean.

Lifeguards stand close by to give pointers to first-timers and to help when you wipeout. Access to these surf simulators is included with regular waterpark admission. Some parks have a double FlowRider, meaning there are two lanes going simultaneously—that means less time waiting in line for your next turn, and you can also get a competition going with the surfer in the next lane. With practice, you could be a pro in no time. Here’s where to find FlowRider surf simulators at a waterpark near you.

The Cove at The Lakefront

Where: 417 Lakefront Drive, Little Elm; next door to The Rec at The Lakefront.
What: FlowRider Double.
Height requirements: Must be at least 42 inches tall to bodyboard/boogie board, and at least 48 inches tall to stand-up surf.
More details: The Cove at The Lakefront is an indoor waterpark with a retractable roof—DFW’s newest such attraction—opened in March 202. Taking a break from surfing? For a view of the action from dry land, head up to the dining area on the second-level mezzanine overlooking the FlowRider and the video wall behind it. One side of the screen is tuned to a sports news channel, and the other side displays live footage of FlowRider participants.
Cost: Access to the FlowRider included with daily admission to the waterpark: $14 for adults 15–49 years; $11 for children 2–14 and seniors 50 and older; free for children under 2. Annual memberships available.
Hours: Open year-round. Summer hours through August 11 are 11am–8pm Monday through Friday, 10am–6pm Saturday, and noon–6pm Sunday, but hours to vary by season.
Contact: 214/618-2047; thecoveatthelakefront.com.

Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark

Where: 2970 Epic Place, Grand Prairie.
What: FlowRider Double.
Height requirements: Must be at least 42 inches tall to bodyboard/boogie board, and at least 48 inches tall to stand-up surf.
More details: Epic Waters is an 80,000-square-foot indoor waterpark that’s part of the Grand Prairie’s Epic Central park. (Don’t miss the FlowaPalooza competition and family festival August 13–15. See below for details.)
Cost: FlowRider access included with regular admission. Daily passes must be purchased online in advance. Tickets at the door are not guaranteed and depend on availability for that day. Admission fee varies by the day and by height but generally starts at $34 for those under 48 inches tall and $29 for those over 48 inches. Free park admission for children 3 and younger. Annual passes are available, and summer passes are valid through September 7.
Hours: Open year-round. Hours vary by season but open from 10am–9pm daily through August 10. Check the park’s calendar for specific dates and times.
Contact: 972/337-3131; epicwatersgp.com.

FlowRider surfing at Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark
Photo courtesy Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark

Jack Carter Pool

Where: 2601 Pleasant Valley Drive, Plano.
What: FlowRider Single.
Height requirements: FlowRiders must be 42 inches tall. Note that general participants must lay down on the bodyboard or ride on your knees. If you’d like to stand up on the board to surf like the pros do, Plano Parks and Rec requires you to take a class and sign a waiver. The class for this summer, sadly, is already sold out, but a few spots remain for an adapted class open to those with special needs (they must also be at least 7 years old and 48 inches tall to stand-up ride). Sign up online here for the class on Thursday, August 5.
More details: In addition to offering the FlowRider at the outdoor pool, this Plano Parks and Recreation facility has a body slide, deep water pool with diving platform, dual rider tube slide, lazy river and more features.
Cost: Included with daily admission to the pool: $9 for Plano residents and $13 non-residents for adults 16 and older; $5 for Plano residents and $8 non-residents for children 3–15 years; and free for children 2 and younger with an adult. Free admission with annual or monthly membership to the Plano Parks and Recreation centers.
Hours: Open daily through Labor Day Monday. Regular hours are noon–6pm Sunday and Monday and noon–8pm Tuesday through Saturday.
Contact: 972/208-8081; planoparks.org.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

Where: 1800 E. Lamar Blvd., Arlington.
What: Surf Rider (made by WaveLoch) single lane
Height requirements: Must be 48 inches tall to ride, can surf or bodyboard.
Cost: Surf Rider access include with admission. One-day tickets from $24.99 when purchased online; and free for children 2 years and younger. There are options for memberships and season passes, including two-park passes for Hurricane Harbor and nearby Six Flags Over Texas.
Hours: Open at 11am daily through August 15, then open weekends through September 26. Closing times vary by day.
Contact: 817/640-8900 for automated info. Live chat online with the option to chat with a guest relations member, or send a note online with your phone number for a callback; sixflags.com/hurricaneharbortexas.

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FlowaPalooza

Want to see the surfing pros in person? Don’t miss the FlowaPalooza at Epic Waters, returning Friday, August 13–Sunday, August 15 with fun both inside and outside the waterpark. You’ll witness competitors in the FLOW Tour National Championships and again November 11–13 when the winners return to Epic Waters for the FLOW Tour World Championships.
Family Fun: The three-day surf competition and family festival features live music each day, carnival games, door prizes, and more family fun including goat yoga, the Creature Teacher and lawn games.
Surf With a Pro: During special Flow with a Pro clinics (bodyboarding and surfing, on Friday, August 13), you can join in the FlowaPalooza and learn how to ride the waves from pros for your chance to win a free entry into the FLOW Tour competition.
Cost: FlowaPalooza weekend admission is $44 for daily general admission; $70 for 3 days; $130 for VIP 3-day pass. 3-day passes for competitors are $85, or $150 for VIP. All the outdoor activities and live music concerts are free, so you’ll only need to pay for waterpark admission if you’re enjoying the waterpark, watching the FLOW Tour competition from inside the facility, or participating in the Flow with a Pro clinics.

FLOW Tour Championships
Photo courtesy of FLOW Tour

Know of any other North Texas locations with a FlowRider? Let us know! Fair Park has a FlowRider surf simulator on the Midway, but due to health and safety guidelines, it will not be operating during the 2021 State Fair of Texas. Stay tuned for the FlowRider to reopen (fingers crossed) in 2022.

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Top image: The Cove at The Lakefront