AXTELL, Texas (KWTX) A newly-opened Central Texas surf park that's already making huge waves in the professional surfing world caught the attention of a couple of heavy metal musicians, too.
Metallica’s lead guitarist Kirk Hammett (left) and bassist Rob Trujillo (right) flank park owner Stuart Parsons. (Courtesy photo)
Two members of the iconic band Metallica spent Sunday and Monday at BSR Surf Resort, part of BSR Cable Park near Axtell, to get their "surf on" before departing Tuesday morning to continue on a world tour with a concert stop in South Dakota.
Lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Rob Trujillo rented out the property for a bachelor party to enjoy some private time catching man-made waves at a facility that’s the only one of its kind in the world.
Jack Burton, one of the inventors of the modern day snowboard, was also on the guest list.
The celebrity stop was just the latest in a long line of well-known people who have traveled to Central Texas to check out the hottest new surfing spot in the world.
"It's definitely exceeded all our expectations," said owner Stuart Parsons, a former competitive barefoot skier.
"People ask me all the time 'how did a barefoot skier come up something so revolutionary for surfing?’” he said.
The surf park is using unique technology to make the perfect wave for surfers which is not only fun for the average thrill-seeker, but also a training tool for serious surfers.
"What the surfing world has embraced is they are learning so fast because they don't have to wait for a wave to produce it," Parsons said.
The park, which opened in May, is quickly becoming the hottest spot for world-ranked surfers, too.
Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Shane Dorian and Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who lost an arm in a 2003 shark attack that inspired the movie "Soul Surfer," have already come to town to try it out.
Their experiences have been shared on social media sites with tens of millions of followers.
"One guy did one trick that he'd never done before because our wave pool has the ability to do it and it hit 1.2 million people immediately," Parsons said.
The park has also caught the attention of those training for the debut of Olympic surfing in Tokyo in 2020.
Just weeks ago, more than a dozen Olympic hopefuls who are part of the 2018 World Junior Surf Championship training team came to the park for what appears to be just the beginning.
"We got a call yesterday from the head of surfing for the Olympics in Japan," Parsons said.
"He wants to mimic the waves there back here so when they're training they're training like they are in Japan."
That means getting video, digitizing the waves and then reproducing them in a computer model so Parsons and his team can make the wave from 6,500 miles away.
On Sept. 22, the eyes of the surfing world will be on the landlocked surfing spot, as the worldwide “Stab High” surfing competition take places at the park, drawing competitors from around the world including one from Tasmania as well as Oahu, Australia, Maui, and New South Wales.
The event will be live streamed and later broadcast on ABC Sports.