The first artificial wave pool opened for business in London, of all places, in 1934. In 1966, Tokyo’s Summerland amusement park built a new wave pool, the “Surf-a-Torium,” and, for the first time, artificial waves were ridden by surfers. The surf media at the time went understandably nuts, proclaiming a near-future of perfect waves sloshing around wave pools in cities all over the world. And for the last 50 years, that “near-future” has remained distant as ever. Well, unless you’re shaper/wavepool developer Greg Webber. His company, Webber Wave Pools, announced earlier this week that it has banked the necessary cash to proceed with building the thing, and that it has signed an agreement with Australian entrepreneur David Baird to develop the wave pool on a piece of Baird’s property. The location is somewhere in Southeast Queensland (as of now, it’s a secret), and this week’s announcement from Webber includes an optimistic opening date of September, 2015.
Webber’s vision, which he’s been fiddling with since 2005, is a revolving series of never-ending waves, wrapping around an island, which can barrel, or just mush along, depending on who is working the wave’s controls. Sounds great. But, and there’s always a but, Webber has never built a full-scale model of his design. In theory, the Webber pools ought to be able to generate head-high tubes, but, as we’ve seen in recent years, the best wave pools typically max out at waist high thin-lipped peelers. Except for Japan’s Ocean Dome pool, which, before it closed it’s doors in 2008, pumped out hollow, head-high A-frames. Webber’s simulations look fun as all hell, and he’s had success testing his designs in rivers and labs. We’ve been waiting since 1966 for that perfect man-made wave. What’s another year?