Wavegarden Interview: Artificial Waves Are Finally a Reality
Today, a team of engineers from a small city in Northern Spain’s Basque Country unveiled a secret that they’ve been shrouding for the last couple months. You may recall back in 2011 the surfing community collectively raised an eyebrow at a mysterious web clip of a perfect yet miniature left-hander peeling across a mist-topped lake under the name Wavegarden. The overwhelming response was, “Okay, make it bigger and we’ll talk.”
Well, it seems that they’ve been listening and today came their response. A new test-facility, which they have built on the same spot as the first, features a larger 4.25-foot high wave that breaks both left and right simultaneously. Its waves travel in both directions through a rectangular lagoon, eliminating the need to paddle back after each ride.
The newly released video clip (below) shows test pilots Dane Reynolds, Taj Burrow, Gabriel Medina, Miguel Pupo, Dusty Payne, Jeremy Flores, Adriano De Souza, and more, going looney in the new facility. While the size of the wave still leaves a bit to be desired for some, this is still a small version compared to what they have in store, and nobody can argue with the barreling machine-like perfection it offers even at this size.
It seems as though the era of quality artificial waves could soon be upon us. According to Wavegarden, there are already several projects in the works across the globe including regional partnerships for the technology in both Australia and 49 of the 50 United States. In the near future, you may finally be able to schedule surfing around your life rather than choosing between waves and responsibilities, the classic dilemma that we have all been faced with at some point.
For anyone who has ever dreamed of surfing when the ocean decides not to cooperate, or daylight has come to an end, the obvious questions include: how big can the wave get? And, when can I try it? I was able to sit down with Wavegarden founder Josema Odriozola to get the answers to such queries.
What is the biggest and longest waves you could create with this technology?
We have no limits on size or length. For size, it’s a matter of energy consumption that is sustainable for a business, and because of this we are recommending a wave height of around 6-feet. For length, the only limiting factor is size of land.
How does the environmental impact compare to other artificial wave technology, or even to driving around to find waves in the ocean?
The energy consumption is a fraction of other existing or even proposed technologies, and the civil construction cost is also much lower. Compared to driving your car around looking for surf, if you spend longer than 30 minutes driving, your carbon footprint is already larger than the footprint of a session in our facility.
When can people come surf this thing?
Unfortunately, this first lagoon is just a test-facility for us and will not be open to the public, but it looks like the first commercially public one could be open as soon as spring time of next year.
Learn more about Wavegarden here.