The future of artificial waves may not be as far off as we thought.

The future of artificial waves may not be as far off as we thought.

The Inertia

On September 13th, the Surf Park Summit was held in Laguna Beach, California.  The event is likely to become an annual event that includes surf art, historical surfboard displays, and numerous presentations on the surf park industry.

At the Surf Park Summit, American Wave Machines owner Bruce McFarland reported that AMW has been contracted to build the largest wave/swell generating pool in history. The pool will be located in Meadowlands, New Jersey – a short drive from Manhattan. In the contract, AMW has agreed to build a seven-and-a-half foot wave, with rides ten to twelve seconds long. The waves are expected to mimic that of an actual ocean in terms of particle motion in a pool roughly the size of a football field.

The complex is being built by Triple Five, who were involved in The Mall of America and The West Edmonton in Canada.

American Wave Machines’ biggest claim to fame was the invention of PerfectSwell Technology. In theory, PerfectSwell is able to produce ten barreling waves a minute using something called a Reflective Wave Generator, which uses air valves and high-volume pressurized air to time the push-pull on the water surface with the effects of gravity.


Man-made waves have been in the news lately, with different companies from Wavegarden to the Kelly Slater Wave Company entering the race for a viable option.

Wavegarden claims “a perfectly formed tubing wave” that doesn’t lose power or shape for up to twenty seconds. They operate a little differently from AMW, however: their technology systematically pushes a mass of water over a surface that causes the wave to form and then fold on itself, similar to a reef or a sandbar.

The Kelly Slater Wave Company has yet to develop a usable facility, but with prototypes in the works and surfing’s biggest name behind them, their circular island design certainly seems like it may pan out.

In a press release, American Wave Machines’ Bruce McFarland said, “a chain of worldwide surf and water sports parks numbering in the hundreds or even thousands is not unrealistic. Surfing in the Olympics? Why not?” If this wave pool manages to live up to its hype, the overhead wave could provide a good training ground for professional surfers, and could be a big step to landlocked surfers.


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