Pool packs in more surfers by making waves from the middle
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.
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.