Backyard Sheetwaves: A glimpse into D.I.Y wave machine fails and wins

Creating inland surfing experiences doesn’t always have to cost millions of dollars and require the infrastructure of a small village. As with any awesome innovation, there are those who will try and recreate it at home. With zero regard for efficiency (or safety), these bold pioneers are determined to release the stranglehold of “Big Surf” on the wave pool industry.

Due to the lack of successful examples found online, I think we can safely say that the majority of these pipedreams come to nothing. However, we have unearthed a few noteworthy creations. Let’s explore!

Bali Blow Up

Many moons ago, deep in the backstreets of Bali, one man was on a mission to bring inland surfing to Indo. After all, if there’s one thing that region needs, it’s more waves, right? What could be safer than strapping 2×200 horsepower outboard engines to the side of a pool and funneling all 400 horses directly toward your body? Inventor Dave McDevitt was soon to find out… unsurprisingly his prototype was quick to self-destruct.

Fortunately, our man Dave was not one to give up so easily. His second attempt actually succeeded in forming a rippable, flowrider-esque wave that he surfs on an equally homemade plywood board.

Mystical Dave has since disappeared into the ether, but as far as we can glean from his comments the two outboards blast water up custom-made fiberglass pipes to a pair of shoots that spread the water into a 6cm sheet, totaling 2.4 meters wide. After venting off the 30-degree-wave-making-surface, this water is then collected and reused via an 80,000-liter tank below.

A glorious, fuel-hungry, masterpiece, creating Bali’s first (only/last?) inland surf spot. Bravo Dave. Bravo.

Then Dave succeded with this one...

The Hillbilly Pump

Next up we have what has to be the most hillbilly pump apparatus we have ever seen here at WavePoolMag. Straight out of Wacky Races, the four-wheeled Mad Max machine houses a pump motor that drives a monster impeller, guzzling water from the 28,000-liter balancing tank below and distributing it via six nozzles to the ride surface. No need for complex computer-modeled sequencing here, flow is adjusted with a good ole’ hunk of timber.

Fred’s Flowrider Emporium

Back to Indonesia again now, bizarrely, where a lovely fellow named Fred built a displacement wave pool powered by local children. At 500,000 calories a wave, this half-size prototype was meant as a proof of concept to potential investors. However, we fear Fred may have missed the boat on this one.

Backyard Sheetwave

So what do you do if you are desperate to shred in the comfort of your own home, but don’t want to dig up your lawn, rattle the neighbors, or die? Well, if you’re lucky enough to have a swimming pool and a spare $475,000, the Whitewater’s FlowRider will meet your needs with their new FlowRider Edge. Water is supplied by, and returned to, your existing pool, helping reduce costs. In addition, the inflatable ride surface saves you money on hospital bills—it’s a win, win situation.

Will these backyard builders ever be able to match the quality of waves now being produced by Big Surf? Ultimately, no. But do we hope they keep on trying? Damn right we do!