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OG wave pool maker celebrates 50th anniversary

Most of the dialogue on WavePoolMag is geared toward next-generation surfing pools produced by Wavegarden, American Wave Machines, Kelly Slater Wave Co and friends. But the wave pool engine that planted the collective “what if?” seed in our surf brains has just turned 50.

The WaveTek generation system by Aquatic Design Group is responsible for 450 wave pools worldwide and represents 90 percent of America’s wave pools. These ubiquitous waterpark wave pools are the ones that create the 4-to-5-second interval agitated peaks adored by squealing children. The waves surge up, cap, back-off and crumble. In short, they are crap for surfing.

But without this first generation from the likes of ADG, the whole wave pool revolution we’re seeing now in surfing would have been delayed even longer. Everyone from Greg Webber to Kelly Slater has bobbed around in one and thought, “if only they could make a surf-able wave.”

That pondering has led to some of the most famous surfing wave pools in the world. And the ADG company is not without major contributions that surfers have pulled ideas from.

“ADG’s WaveTek wave generation set the standard in wave performance and technology, developing numerous industry “firsts” such as the first US Pneumatic system, first tsunami solitary wave technology, first 6-foot pneumatic parallel wave,” the company said in a press release.

These innovations have helped the current crop of inventors. Other non-surf-specific innovations include the world’s first gutterless wave pool, the double break wave pool floor, and the first variable wave pattern programmer.

“We’ve combined creativity and technology to provide our clients with innovative wave pool shapes, technological advancements and creative applications that are not found anywhere else in the industry,” said Jim Dunn, President of ADG. “WaveTek is continually evolving to meet the growing demands of our clients, and we are always working towards what’s next.”

Hopefully, the ‘what’s next’ part of their business plan will include surfing. It staggers the imagination to think what a company with so much wave-generating muscle could achieve when it comes to creating surf pools. Until then, thank you WaveTek for the inspiration.


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