Outdoors

Pool packs in more surfers by making waves from the middle

Pool packs in more surfers by ...
Surf Lakes' functioning 5 Waves prototype, in the town of Yeppoon
Surf Lakes' functioning 5 Waves prototype, in the town of Yeppoon
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Surf Lakes' functioning 5 Waves prototype, in the town of Yeppoon
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Surf Lakes' functioning 5 Waves prototype, in the town of Yeppoon
Different types of waves are formed in different parts of the pool
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Different types of waves are formed in different parts of the pool
The size of the waves can be changed by adjusting how high the wave generator goes before dropping
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The size of the waves can be changed by adjusting how high the wave generator goes before dropping
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In most surf parks, surfers ride artificially-generated waves down the length of an oblong pool. Unfortunately, such an arrangement limits the number of people who can rides the waves at once … which is where the 5 Waves system comes in.

Designed by Australian engineering firm Engenuity Solutions, the setup consists of a large sort-of-pentagonal pool with a piston-like wave-generating mechanism in the middle. The latter is powered by a compressed air system, rising up as air is pumped into it, then plunging down into the water as that air is suddenly released.

Because the mechanism is round, the resulting waves spread out from it in all directions. This means that more surfers can be accommodated, as they're not all crammed across the width of a standard pool.

Different types of waves are formed in different parts of the pool
Different types of waves are formed in different parts of the pool

The bottom of the 5 Waves pool is sculpted differently in different areas, creating artificial reef breaks that produce five separate types of waves – hence the system's name. Depending on what sort of surfing users are into, they'll choose the appropriate zone of the pool. Additionally, the size of the waves can be changed by adjusting how high the wave generator goes before dropping.

Development of the system was commissioned by Surf Lakes, an Australian company that now has a full-scale functioning prototype operating in the town of Yeppoon, Queensland. A number of groups are reportedly interested in licensing the technology, which should happen once its creators have ensured that it's ready for commercialization.

"We need to ensure the wave machine can deliver hundreds of millions of waves every year for decades for people to enjoy, and for surf park owners to confidently build businesses and developments around," says Dr. Chris Hawley, managing director of Engenuity Solutions. "The data from the prototype testing is also being used to optimize the performance of the machine further, ensure ease of construction, improve power efficiencies and bring the highest standard of safety in design to every element."

You can see the prototype in action, in the video below.

Sources: Engenuity Solutions, Surf Lakes

Former World Surf Champion Barton Lynch explains 5Waves (January 2019)

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7 comments
martinwinlow
Hmmm... Why not make it *really* challenging... by introducing a few Great Whites...?
Aross
What a waste of space and resources. The world creates enough waves without destroying habitat for fun. If it could also cost effectively create something useful then it might be worthwhile.
Ray Rigsby
As an old surfing buff, I think this is some very cool stuff! I wish they would of had this back in my day on a board!
ljaques
A real pinkwater adventure, eh, Martin? // I was in Phoenix when the first wave park in the US went in. Being a Cali boy, I pooh-poohed it, leaving it to the Zonies to ride. That was a big thing for them, and I can see how inland Aussies would like to see them. Carry on, guys!
Signguy
Aross. Doesn't look like prime property to me, besides, where else can kids learn to surf without fear of drowning or sharks or...
Tony Morris
Aross. Are you sure the environmental impact of surfers using such a facility will be greater than the impact when they go to the beach?
D[]
I've yet (I stopped looking a couple months ago) to see a decently ridden wave from this machine. The Hanneman kid did ok but it was still the short, beachbreak type barrels that are available in 100's of places anywhere there is surf. I want to see something that runs and peels. Surf Ranch still has, arguably, the best artificial wave. Waco is next. I really want to see something your average rider could enjoy without spending hundreds per wave. And if you don't surf you won't understand, and don't bother learning, it isn't worth it.