Distributor of Ideas
Staff
Phil Dexter at home with his second backyard wave pool model.

Phil Dexter at home with his second backyard wave pool model. Photo: BigSurfFun


The Inertia

Phil Dexter, the inventor and builder of the world’s first wave pool, died on Friday. He was 87.

In 1966, Dexter built wave-making machine models in his backyard in Arizona. The next year, he created a larger, working model in an abandoned pool hall. Two years later, in 1969, he opened up the first wave pool in Tempe, Arizona. It was in the Big Surf Waterpark.

Last year, the inventor was inducted into the World Waterpark Association Hall of Fame. His wave pool, the third largest in the world, received the designation of Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Dexter first came up with his idea for a wave pool in 1965, while working construction in San Diego.

Newsletter

Only the best. We promise.

Contribute

Join our community of contributors.

Apply