If you are an avid follower of wave pool technology or surfing in general, you may remember the vague uproar over Surf Lakes’ wave height. The Australian wave pool venture released a video saying “the company was able to achieve its maximum target wave face height, being 2.4 meters (8ft).”
The operative words here are “wave face height,” (emphasis mine), but of course, since wave height is nearly always a fun thing to argue about, people argued about it. “Hawaiians call that 3 feet,” said one faceless commenter. “I ams from Norway and we calls it ones foots,” said another.
Instead of simply being amazed that man is making waves with a giant plunger a la Mad Max, we are quibbling about a few feet of water, squabbling like crows over a shiny bauble. However you call wave height, the simple fact that we’re making surfable waves of any height is an achievement.
Of course, as there is with any new venture, Surf Lakes has seen its share of issues. Back when they first released footage to the world—the most visually appealing man-made wave footage since Kelly Slater ruined Adriano’s world title—things fell apart. The plunger blew apart at the seams from the pressure, and engineers were forced to put their heads down and sort shit out.
Now, though, it appears they have, and waves are breaking while the plunger is not. They recently invited Jay Occhilupo, QLD Junior Champion and son to the other Occhilupo, to test the waters. He started the most difficult wave at the facility, called The Island, then moved to his dad’s namesake wave, Occy’s Peak, to try out the right. If we’re not mistaken, that looks an awful lot like he’s splitting the peak with dear ol’ dad. And despite the fact that The Island wave doesn’t look all that user-friendly, despite the fact that we’ll still be arguing in the comments about exactly how many feet these waves are, it cannot be denied that these waves look really, really fun.