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7 Simple and Not-So-Simple Wave Pool Hacks

Didn’t make the investor or guest list for Surf Lakes or Wavegarden? Not on the CT or invited to Kelly’s Wave? Don’t worry.

We live in an era where makers are celebrated and everything from hand-crafted whiskeys to crocheted shoe inserts are available on Etsy. Wouldn’t it be great to see surfers apply some of that creativity and elbow grease to the creation of wave pools?

True, nifty sewing skills don’t make up for the ability to calculate a central wave-generating piston algorithm, but the reward is in the process as we like to remind ourselves.

It’s pretty simple really. All you have to do is displace water to create a wave. We’ve all done it in bath tubs, swimming pools and by tossing stones into a pond. And many of us have thought, “wow, I could do this much bigger. I could even build a device to make waves – surfable waves!”

But only a handful of us go on to toil for hours, months, years in perfecting a system to create waves for surfing. Are you an Aaron Trevis (Surf Lakes), Greg Webber, Thomas Lochtefeld, Josema Odriozola or Karin Frisch? No. Probably not.

But let’s let’s take a look at some creative ways to make wave pools and other alternative surfing options. This article celebrates the ‘can do’ of wave pools. We even provide list of what you’ll need for your own wave pool hack.

With a million plus views, this Ocean Innovations mud pit shocked the world nearly 10 years ago. The basic principle of blasting out a wave with compressed air is magnified between two inflated canal walls. Add to that a rubber bumper to do lip slides off of, and you can see the potential of this system.

What you need to make this pool: Pit, compressed air, rubber bumpers, brown muddy water,

Proof that if you have a big enough team, anything is possible, especially if that team is a bunch of big guys.

While this DIY wave pool didn’t produce any peelers on par with Kelly’s, it still looks like a fun event. The director scores extra points for his command of 50 men midway through their summer sunburns. Skip to the two-minute mark to see the actual waves.

What you need to make this pool: Basic German, 50 or so large guys, teamwork! (Optional, beer)

This OG video clip from came from some creative minds in Europe. And while there was actually no bundle of dynamite to create the wave, it could feasibly work. After all, compressed air blasted out in a sequence is what gives us waves like Waco. Wouldn’t one big explosion do the same thing?

What you need to make this pool: Explosives!, More Explosives!, Access to cheap prosthetic limbs.

Built at a half-scale size to attract Indonesian investors, this pool in West Java requires only a big chain, steel plates, stagnant water and muscle. Volunteers (your friends) hoist a weight-loaded pulley and lock it in to place. Releasing the lever pushes a single wave out of the gate. Probably the most sophisticated of the DIY wave pools we researched for this article, the project attracted some Aussie investors. But you too can jump on board.

“$70 000 AU was used to get to this stage,” the company said on YouTube. “Another 26k (is needed) to get to 20 meter long waist-high barrels with gromit surfers in them.”

What you’ll need to make this pool: Gloves for chain pulling, a pit, brown water, some steel plates and $26 000 AU.

Or, if you don’t want to bother with actually, physically surfing, you can build a wave pool in Minecraft. The creator built a piston system to continually pump out waves, and seems really excited about that. “Once again, you don’t need any red stone to make this work,” he repeats throughout the clip. Since we’re over the age of 15, we don’t really understand what is happening in this clip.

What you’ll need to make this pool: A computer, permission from your mom, lots of time,

We have no idea what this machine does. But if you’d like to watch a spool, some string, a floating stick and some random electronic pieces create a wave, this video is for you. The complicated nature of this device isn’t so much due to our editors’ lack of Hindi comprehension, but more due to confusing computer animation.

If you understand what is happening in this clip, then you’re probably already pouring a concrete base for your first full scale prototype. Or there’s the darker scenario, you’re wearing a foil hat to keep the alien radio waves from infiltrating your thoughts and stealing your wave pool idea.

What you’ll need to make this pool: String! Box of random shit from Radio Shack, questionable computer animation skills.

A big dad bouncing up in the shallows with a bodyboard, all for the sake of his water-winged kids, while not the most creative, does produce results.

This clip sits on the upper end of video production for DIY wave pools. Filmed in high def and set to opera, it is both mesmerising, beautiful and a little zen. Plus, at the end the waves hit a solid two feet.

What you’ll need to make this pool: Energetic dad, operatic sound track, kids, pool and bodyboard

Then there’s alway the possibility that you think big. Really big. Garrett McNamara big. In this clip GMac and Kealii Mamala created an artificial wave at Child’s Glacier when an explosive charge (not-confirmed, but something set the large chunk of ice falling) sent a hunk of ice into the Copper River in Alaska.

What you’ll need to make this pool: Ice! 6 mil suit, PWC, explosives and tow equipment.


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