Profitability is a function of proven costs (capital expenditure to build it, ongoing cost to make waves), proven capacity (wave frequency, wave variability, pool size) and proven wave quality (Is the wave worth paying to surf? ). *It should be noted that any technology still in the conceptual phase will not have any reliable technical info on wave quality, frequency, etc, because as we have learned: It’s all talk til somebody surfs it.
The major issues with this technology are the wave frequency, power draw, and reliability. The wave frequency of 1. 5-2/minute (one right and one left created simultaneously on either side of the central pier) is much higher than most other technologies, but since this is the single biggest issue with wave pool profitability in general, there is still much room for improvement.
While their wave pool technology is marketed with surf-related verbiage, their technology is much better suited for high-capacity splash pool applications than for actual surfing, as their design creates very small, weak waves that lack the steepness and speed for performance surfing.
Much like Lochtefeld’s Waveloch company, American Wave Machines has a sheet wave technology, known as SurfStream, that has been implemented internationally as well as a wave pool concept, PerfectSwell, that has yet to be proven.
The technology is capable of creating quite large waves but the shape of the lagoon and angle of the waves mean the wave energy deteriorates very quickly, making the waves short and somewhat difficult for high performance surfing.
It has been a huge success for his company, but largely ignored by the surf world since it doesn’t feel like surfing a real wave, and as a surfer himself, Tom has had his sights set on creating real surfable waves ever since.
The company has been extremely secretive about any details of their technology, but industry rumors have suggested that their major issues are wave frequency and operational costs, which are both vital to profitability.
ADG was the technology partner for their ambitious wave pool concept, which included a movable bottom that could change shape to alter the waves.
As far as “surfable” commercial wave pools go, Murphy’s Waves is currently the industry leader with three or more, depending on your definition of “surfable. ” The Scottish company installed their first pool in 1989 at Disneyworld and have since built pools in Tenerife, Las Vegas, Al Ain, and more.
An Australian based concept with little media coverage to date, Surf Lakes has a unique concept that involves a central tower that creates wave energy that propagates outwards, breaking in all directions on reefs on the perimeter of the lagoon.
Their technology uses a series of raised chambers that are pumped with water and then use gravity to force the water back into the pool, displacing enough to create a wave.
With so many new manmade wave technologies popping up all over the world and Wavegarden’s most recent announcement rippling through the surf and development communities, this is an appropriate time to provide an objective assessment of everybody out there that is currently making waves (literally).
Despite these issues, Wavegarden’s Lagoon technology remains the only commercially successful wave pools suited for high performance surfing.
Read more here: The Inertia