New Zealand rapid wave pool tech now open to public
Not far from Queenstown, in New Zealand’s South Island, you’ll find the newly opened YourWave facility, a standing wave surrounded by farmland next to Lake Hawea. The area is a hub for fjords and extreme fun – where people willingly throw themselves off bridges with elastic cords wrapped around their ankles – and its population revels in its frosty temperatures.
Right now, in the depths of a southern hemisphere winter, the average daytime temperature maximum is a balmy 48F (9C), but this hasn’t diminished the number of folks wanting to have their waves at YourWave.
Having been open for a month, we decided to check in with Manager Niall Sutherland and see how the facility and tech have been received. And he reckons despite the cold weather, they’ve had plenty of interest, and they’re receiving inquiries country-wide and worldwide.
“Our water temperature is around 13C (55F), so to most surfers, it’s still pretty warm,” says Niall, “and based on the demand we’re experiencing now, we’re gearing ourselves up to be extremely busy when the weather warms up.”
Being an R&D site and simultaneously open to the public, YourWave is baring all. Niall admits that while prepared for hiccups, they’ve not had a single shutdown yet. The designers have been adding and experimenting with newer and bigger wave cells (the air cushions beneath the water flow), and everything’s going to plan. “Touch wood,” he adds.
Niall mentions the local community has been highly supportive of YourWave and that all the beginners who’ve tried it have been able to ride the wave by the end of their first session. “We live in an area filled with active people,” says Niall, “who like to go out and try adventurous activities. On top of that, we have a good community of experienced surfers. Between our testing and local sessions (which we run every Friday evening), we have built up a great community of like-minded people.”
Aiming at surfers, holidaymakers, and people keen to try something new (a tried and successful formula for many businesses in and around Queenstown – remember Zorbing? Putting yourself inside a giant plastic ball and rolling down a hill, yep, that’s from NZ too) Niall believes YourWave is set to boom come summer.
Opening in winter, “has been great,” says Niall. It’s given YourWave the chance for a soft opening, schedule changes, and the ability to tweak its operating procedures. “The sort of things that can’t be fully figured out until you actually open the doors and let people in,” says Niall.
As for the future, Niall and the team have bigger waves planned and are “having really good conversations with parties about more YourWave units popping up in the near future.”
So just how big can their standing waves get? We’re just going to have to wait to find out. But, knowing the Kiwi’s thirst for thrills, I’m guessing they’re not going to stop until they can fit a Zorbing ball inside a YourWave barrel.
The Lowdown: A standing, rapid wave that uses an inflatable underwater ramp and sides. “The waveform is based around the physics of a standing wave . . using patented chambered air-filled waveforms and inflatable surroundings making it very safe to surf and even safer to wipe-out on,” says the company. The inflatables are made mostly of PVC and some secret material. A two-meter barreling wave is the target-sized wave for YourWave’s R&D facility in Hawea, New Zealand. Their current setup sees a wave nine meters across, but the system is modular and can be added to.
Accessibility: Open to the public, All-ages, Beginning surfer, Intermediate surfer, Advanced surfer.
Type of wave(s): deepwater rapid/standing/stationary wave
Wave Generating Technology: YourWave
Wave’s Technical Information: Wave height: 2-5 ft. Left or Right depending on inflatable pool configuration
Hours of operation/Seasonal Hours: Expect year-round.
Pool Structure: Inflatable pontoons and ramp
Waves per hour: one never-ending wave
Atmosphere: Kiwi outdoorsy