With a worldwide surfing population estimated at 35 million and climbing fast, the demand for good waves is undeniable, especially considering that the ocean does not always cooperate, and when it does, overcrowding becomes a serious problem in many places. This has led to a “space race” of sorts to recreate Mother Nature’s aquatic playgrounds.
To date, no technology has been quite able to measure up to the real thing in quality of wave, frequency, length, and especially cost. The Spanish engineering team known as Wavegarden today unveiled a short video and website about their new test-facility, and on many levels it seems that they have come closer than anyone.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of their method of wave generation is that unlike any existing technology available today, this wave does not deteriorate in size or shape as it travels along the lagoon, creating a pointbreak-like ride. Also, unlike their 2011 prototype, there are two simultaneous waves to ride, left and right, instead of just one.
The implications of such an invention are quite deep. The ability to create perfect waves anywhere at any time of the day or night promises to not only bring surfing to new places, alleviate crowds at existing surf locations, and help the progressive curve of performance, but also perhaps put surfing onto a global stage, including the Olympics.
According to the company, there are already 17 projects around the globe that have licensed the technology to build surf parks at their respective locations. In addition, regional partnerships have been formed to use the technology by a developer in Australia as well as a development team for Southern California and Hawaii. It would seem that a new era of inland surfing may be approaching.
Grindtv was able to sit down with Wavegarden founder Josema Odriozola at his new facility located deep in the Basque country to talk briefly about the project.
The Basque country has a relatively young surfing culture; how is it that such a revolutionary surfing invention came out of northern Spain?
Surfing is still a young sport for us, but it is already a big part of the sporting culture in our region. Our region of the Basque Country is the center of tooling machines and specialized machinery engineering.
What has been the best part about the Wavegarden project for you?
First, the technological challenge of creating such an invention has been beautiful, and second, what makes this really special for me is that we are creating something that makes people happy.
What has been the biggest challenge in creating this wave?
Obviously the amount of money required to develop something like this, and also the amount of unknowns involved. We are doing things that have never been done before, everything from the wave generator, to the electronic systems, to the filtration.
What is next for the Wavegarden team?
Our next task is to create the bigger 6-foot-high version, with optimal wave frequency and the same perfect quality. We are working to engineer the shores of the lagoon in a way that maximizes the amount of waves for everyone.