Why Occy loves plungers: How the first Australian wave pool works

The 5 Waves Australian wave pool pumped out its first waves this week. The Surf Lakes company proudly launched the design for all the world to see. In attendance, Occy, Barton Lynch and Parko frothed over the quality and power of this next generation wave producing technology.

We love plungers

The first thing viewers will notice is that this pool’s design is totally different. While Kelly’s Wave, Nland and Surf Snowdonia use a foil pulled along a track, this design uses a central hub “plunger” mechanism. The plunger works like a stone dropped in a pond. Once the hub is depressed it sends out waves in 360 degrees. Anyone who has used a float while fishing has seen the little ripples it creates when a fish takes the bait. Surf Lakes works like this. But big.

Compressed air because we care

Much like the American Wave Machines’ PerfectWaves tech, the Surf Lakes model uses compressed air (that’s the steam you see in the video) to generate waves. However the PerfectWaves air pushes out from several strategically located chambers, and the air can be activated at different times to produce various types of waves. The most famous of this configuration is the BSR Surf Resort’s air section used for the Stab High wave pool contest.

Bathymetry is key

As the wave is pressed out from the center it meets either a point, the slab, Occy’s peak or the beach break. Earlier in October the company released a YouTube clip explaining how they were busy shaping the bottom contours of the new facility to create this variety of waves.

“We have 8 breaks, so when we run 6 waves per set, this gives 48 rides per set, so running 50 sets per hour gives 2400 rides, plus learner breaks and shore breaks,” said Aaron Trevis, the mastermind behind Surf Lakes.

“The demo will not be running sets every minute, but we can add power later to increase the frequency of sets. Operators who run our Surf Parks can dial up a range of productivity options to suit the crowd, as well as run swell sizes to match the customer needs. For example, If they have a lake full of primary school children, there is no point running 8-foot barrels, so can wind down the size, which will actually increase the productivity even further.”


Pro Surfers make every wave pool look great

“Last week we had Occy and Barton on site to test some of the waves,” the company said. “We also invited some amazing current and former pro surfers including Joel Parkinson, Laura Enever, Jay Occhillupo, Mitch Crews, Connor O’Leary, Felicity Palmateer, Corban Hutchins, Ryan Hipwood, Dean Morrison, Dakota Walters, Beau Emerton, Jason Blewit, Ben Player and Terry Richardson.”

Should you know any of the above surfers it’s time to fire off an inquisitive text to get the details. However, it’s a moot point if they all signed disclosure statements similar to the ones required at Kelly Slater’s wave pool.

empty wave at 5 waves wave pool

What is the 5 Waves concept?

Surf Lakes said the 5 Waves concept rates each wave according to its level of difficulty, similar to snow ski resort.

“Each wave difficulty level is colour coded and caters for beginners, through to advanced and pro level wave riding. The 5 Waves concept allows for learners, experienced surfers and professionals, to surf perfect waves simultaneously.”

The benefits for operators is that a facility like this one will cater to the total spectrum of surf skills, from nacent beginner to Parko and Mick out for some slab practice.

The company added that the Intermediate wave is perfect for short boards, long boards, SUPs and surf skis. The Advanced and Expert waves suit short boards and knee boards.

5 types of waves, each of which vary in difficulty, size, length and shape, at the same time

Most breaks in a wavepool: 10 separate waves (4 left and 4 right reef breaks) plus 2 beginner waves
Largest surfing lagoon in the world: Water volume 80 megalitres
Largest wave face height: Up to 2.4m face height. 2.2m achieved at mid-level prototype testing
Highest wave productivity: At full commercial capacity, 5 Waves will be able to produce over 2,400 waves per hour, allowing up to 240 surfers in the lake at the same time, all catching 10 waves per hour

the wave pool break known as Occy's Left

How much does it cost?

Got some old Apple stock laying around or win the lottery this year? You might want to build your own facility. Surf Lakes now plans to design and manage construction of new facilities, as well as providing ongoing services.

“Now the next phase begins, which is selling our product to licensees and partners around the world,” said Surf Lakes in yesterday’s announcement. “Demand for our product is strong with more than 150 enquires from more than 25 countries around the world.”

“Over the next six months, we will be holding demonstration days to potential licensees. This productivity translates into the highest possible return for operators.”

Investors can reach out to [email protected] to build their own 5 Waves facility.

No news on when the public will be admitted or how much it will cost. We will keep you posted…

Joel Parkinson at Surf Lakes 5 waves center

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