What if you created Kelly’s Wave, but standing still?

The most exciting thing about the wave pool space is that it’s constantly evolving. Currently, surf tanks are neatly defined as producing either traveling waves or rapid (stationary) waves. But what happens when something new emerges that defies previous classifications? The new Ka’ana Wave Co. system is a rapid wave, but it also resembles a boat wake perfect for wake surfing, with some of the Zambezi River thrown in for good measure. Surfers can get minute-long barrels on standard shortboards without traveling the length of a football field. In short, this new system has the potential to bring a Kelly-Esque barrel to a surf tub the size of a squash court.

We received some new images from startup Ka’ana Wave Co and jumped on a call to talk about their system that uses underwater shaping heads to create a variety of wave types.

Caption: Example - Right break barrel: Stationary. Continuous. Barreling right.
Ka’ana Wave Co’s right break barrel is a deepwater rapid wave like the Zambezi River.

What is the CM7?
At the highest level, the CM7 is a dock that is installed in a pool and produces a variety of dynamic wave shapes. Under the dock is a drivetrain that powers a wave-shaping head. The shaping head protrudes from the dock and into the pool. When you’re ready for a surf, you walk out onto the head and drop into the wave.

Caption: Example - Classic wake: both a left and a right packed into one ride, sans prop-wash.
This head on the Ka’ana Wave Co system produces a classic boat wake style wave ideal for wakesurfing.

What kind of waves does the system produce?
Quite a variety of waves. The wave type is changed by swapping out the shaping head on the machine. Then the characteristics of that wave are altered by adjusting flow volumes and velocities, and by articulating the pitch and plunge of the head. These adjustments can be programmed into a sequence to create repeatable, dynamic waves.

ka'ana wave co
The Ka’ana system can also produce standard rapid (stationary) waves.

What size waves does the CM7 produce? Most traveling wave pools average 2-to-6 feet.
Initially, we are coming online with the CM7-Small and CM7-Medium. Eventually, there will be four CM7 sizes available. The CM7-small’s drivetrain is 9’ wide and delivers wave heights around 4’6”. The CM7-Medium is 12’ wide, with wave heights around 6’. The machine widths, while important, don’t tell the whole story as the shaping heads themselves can be much wider. We recently did a few wake head designs that, when scaled up to CM7-Medium size, are 15-16’ wide. That’s two times the width of a typical wake surf boat hull. The wake on that would be about 9’ tall.

Caption: CM7-Large wave scale: Example right break shaping head with 6’ fish.
Given that the wave heads can be scaled up or down, the above image simulates what the wave would look like relative to a 6-foot surfboard.

It sounds like you have a lot of variety. Which waves will we see first?
The first heads we’ll make available will be a left and right break; a classic wake so you can ride left and right with one head; and a hydraulic jump (standard rapid wave) which most people think of as a stationary wave. The CM7 produces bathymetry-agnostic waves so it’ll be neat to see the hydraulic jump with varying pitch. In testing, we’ve seen that the wave can get quite steep before it spills.

Surfer graphics are scaled up or down to show relative size to the potential waves.

What can we expect next?
We’re busy developing a catalog of wave shapes and should have our first production CM7-Medium unit in a pool, shortly.

Thanks for sharing details with us.
Thanks so much for taking the time, Bryan! Always a pleasure!

Last summer Ka’ana Wave Co fired up a prototype machine in this demo pool. Expect more in the coming months.
Illustration of how the different size wave heads and pools can be used in an urban setup.

Endless Surf 2023A