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Auckland wave pool says it will halve the cost of wave production

New Zealand has plans for a wave pool powered by technology from upstart wavemakers SwellPlanet. The multi-million dollar project hopes to attract some of Auckland’s 1.6 million residents and traveling adventure seekers. Kiwi tourism both domestic and international accounts for nearly $41 billion annually.

The next step is for developers to raise the $15 million necessary to see the project to completion.

“It’s going to be pretty incredible, the team have already created a version of the technology nobody else is really using – it’s unique to New Zealand,” said Founder Josh Nepia. “I’m a lifelong surfer, and the thought of having a place year-round where you can get perfect waves is really exciting.”

Nepia said Artificial reef and wave pool pioneer Dr Kerry Black is on board for the project. The crew are currently doing the Computational Fluid Dynamics work before test tank construction.

Wave pool developers are notoriously stingy with details on their technology. Understandable as many fear being ripped off by competitors or dragged into litigation. Nepia shared a few details, most notably that the tech will be incredibly energy efficient.

auckland overview
The Auckland skyline could be overlooking a new wave pool. Image by Holger Detje

“Our tech and you’re the first to know this, we’re calling it SuperWave. The good names were already taken. And it is an actual word – who knew? We have figured out how to halve the cost of wave production. The secret isn’t in a new fandangled wave generator, it is in aligning with the physics of the wave. Of course, I can’t say too much about it.”

According to the SwellPlanet website, the new tech will provide lefts, rights, barrels and long peeling walls largest. The technology is also claiming it will produce the heaviest man-made waves.

“We’ve cracked the code and can provide bigger waves than any other man-made wave on the planet.”

In an email, Nepia confirmed that while the energy savings will be great, it’s difficult to quantify specifics at this time.

“We don’t yet know how far we can lower the cost per wave. It may be we can achieve a third or quarter the energy requirements, or there may be a point of diminishing returns which affects the surfability of the wave. So maybe in the future, we can do a 13-foot wave for the cost of everyone else’s 6 foot. But then we’re digging a 20-foot hole for the deep end so maybe not practical.”

Hobbiton
The new wave pool will be just a couple hours away from Hobbiton. Image by Adrien Aletti

When pressed for a specific location Nepia declined stating, “We’re not at liberty to say exactly where it will be other than Auckland. We were supposed to be able to announce it April 7th but with everyone in isolation, it probably will be another postponement. Animations we have but nothing we can put out in the public arena.”

If all goes according to plan, SwellPlanet will join the developing WhoW project in Christchurch’s earthquake red zone as New Zealand’s latest wave pool.

You can follow developments or support the project through their Facebook page right here.

Editor’s Note: This is a revised and updated article from an erroneous Stuff.NZ piece that appeared last week on WavePoolMag. We regret any confusion stemming from the Stuff.NZ article.


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