culture

A Wave Pool Cometh

A Webber wave pool is coming. Stop me if you've heard this one before.

| posted on February 19, 2014

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?

  • whamo

    They should build one of these in Palm Springs.

    • http://www.surflook.com/ surflook

      Definitely

  • http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/1694415/carli_leavitt.html Carli Nicole Leavitt

    I don’t know if we can say this is actually “surfing”. I mean obviously you can practice your skills, work on technique and improve, but so much of surfing is actually understanding different waves, changing your approach and technique to match each individual wave and learning to work with the ocean rather than against it. This wave pool is awesome and I’d love to try one out – especially on days with no waves, but in reality I think it loses the main aspect of surfing which is conforming to the ocean rather than the ocean conforming to us.

    • Colin D Given

      Couldn’t agree more. Surfi ng is all about being one with the ocean

    • Michael O’Connell

      I say let the ASP build 100 of them around the world and hold their contests there. They can even build a bunch huge ones for big wave world tour. That way the circus has permanent venues without bothering real surfers

      • http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/1694415/carli_leavitt.html Carli Nicole Leavitt

        Hahaha not a bad idea.

  • http://idadehodierna.blogspot.pt/ Dude

    So Webber wave pools is trying copy a wave garden?
    https://vimeo.com/67886627

    • trish

      I heard that wave garden is building a pool in Perth. Opening this year

    • jack

      webber had the idea way way before wave garden and kelly nimrod

    • Beau

      No he is not because if you knew anything about the wave garden, they could never get a wave bigger then waist hight and then took everyone’s money that wanted to build one and took off. Even ripped of Kelly slater.

  • wally

    So does it bother anyone that the little surfer goes under water and never resurfaces?

    • Andie

      Thought the same thing :)

    • Michael O’Connell

      You only get one perfect wave on carousel

  • http://www.augmentis.co.za Rory Mills

    Anything is possible…the only limitations are one’s imagination and one’s wallet!

  • Marc

    I’m not holding my breath for the day wave pools spit out head high reeling tubes.

  • Eoin Fitzpatrick

    A whole article about wave pools and no mention of the wave garden???

  • Dillon

    keeps saying it’s the first of it’s kind, first artificial wave ridden by surfers and all that. The author obviously never heard of Typhoon Lagoon, Wave Garden, etc.

  • Gibbs Baum

    Put me in coach!

  • longthebtc

    no interest unless it keeps folks out of the real waves :)

  • Marcello De Sales

    After the RonJon surf park disaster I will be skeptical after that hype… Doing “fun” simulations in the computer is dumb at this point and I can only feel the way to go is by showing your running prototype to investors, just like the Wave Garden did. Let’s be real, get your prototype first running, then buzz about it…

  • http://www.surflook.com/ surflook

    Can it do both a right and a left?

  • Mark Gregory

    Coming Soon.
    More meaningless words were never spoken.

  • Benno

    if the ‘random’ is taken out the sport has opportunity to grow! Olympics and the like. If people want to be purists, then all that it means less people hassling the oceans, I see it as a win/win for everyone involved!

  • http://www.trendep.com Kurt Knewitz

    we need one here in Dallas!

  • Deb

    Throw a few tiger sharks in there to make it more like real Maui surfing. LOL