The Boston Globe reports on the American Wave Machines installation in Nashua. Click here to read full article.
For the second year in a row the ESA Indoor Surf Championships we’re held in New Hampshire on SurfStream®. Click HERE for Eastern Surf Magazine’s article on the event.
QUARTZ | 12-20-2013
By: Todd Woody at Quartz
Bruce McFarland’s San Diego office is just a skateboard ride from some of California’s prime surf spots. And right now, McFarland is gazing at the perfect wave—a glassy, barreling wall of water. But it’s breaking inside his building, and McFarland, an engineer and surfer, is controlling the wave with an iPad.
Bringing surfing to the landlocked masses could be the biggest change to hit the sport since Hawaii’s Duke Kahanamoku taught Californians how to ride the waves a century ago. American Wave Machines is just one of half a dozen companies developing artificial wave technology, including a Los Angeles startup founded by 11-time surfing world champion Kelly Slater.
With a mix of hope and hype, the $7 billion surf industry is embracing wave parks as way to grow a flat-lining business. Kids in Kansas and Qatar could become real surfers, not just boardshorts-wearing wannabes. Pro surfing executives, meanwhile, are pushing surf parks as predictable, television-friendly venues to stage competitions as they lobby to make surfing an Olympic sport. “Surf parks will create an entire new generation of aspirational surfers,” says Jess Ponting, director of the Center for Surf Research at San Diego State University. “These new surfers will not just buy for fashion but for equipment as well, and not just in the US but in Russia, China and Europe.
Surfing has always been as much a way of life as a sport, the exclusive domain of a coastal wave tribe with its own rites and rituals. (Disclosure: I’m one of them.) Now with dozens of surf parks under development worldwide, surfing is about to get Disneyfied—buy a ticket, stand in line, and go for a ride.
In the ocean, no two waves are alike. Each one is formed by constantly changing conditions—winds, tides, swell, sandbars. Even if you’re lucky enough to live on the coast near surf breaks, there’s no guarantee there will be rideable waves on any given hour or day. That unpredictability can make honing one’s surfing skills a time-consuming process, demanding a commitment bordering on obsession.
REUTERS | 11-22-2013
By: Richard Valdmanis on Reuters.com
(Reuters) – A surfer drops down the face of a crashing swell, crouches low and stalls his board into the tube, achieving the sport’s ultimate goal of a ride inside the barrel.
But instead of being on a sunlit beach in Hawaii or southern California, this surfer is inside a glass-and-concrete building in New Hampshire – at America’s newest surf park, an hour’s drive from the Atlantic.
“Part of our mission is to bring surfing everywhere, including where there isn’t an ocean,” said Bruce McFarland, president of American Wave Machines.
The company’s SurfStream wave system is being used at the Surfs Up New Hampshire park in Nashua, which is set to open in December.
Surf parks have been around for decades, but a surge in the sport’s appeal and rapid advances in wave-making technology have triggered new construction in unlikely places such as South Dakota, Quebec, Sweden and Russia.
Using proprietary designs meant to emulate waves formed in nature, companies like American Wave Machines, Weber Wave Pools, Waveloch and others are racing to bring the ocean sport to the landlocked masses.
Fernando Aguerre, head of the International Surfing Association (ISA), said their efforts could be a big boost for surfing and businesses built around it.
“Surf parks will give the opportunity to learn to ride waves in a safe way to millions of people around the world,” he explained, adding it could also help ISA to make surfing part of the Olympic Games.
“Without man-made surfing waves, our Olympic surfing dream would be just that – a dream,” he said, adding that reliable, identical waves, virtually impossible to find in nature, are needed to insure fair judging in Olympic competition.
Once seen as a fringe sport, surfing now has around 35 million enthusiasts worldwide. It is a roughly $6 billion retail industry in the United States, according to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association.
“The industry is doing a good job selling surfing as a lifestyle. It is fun. It influences culture, music, fashion, all that. It is imbedded. But it is hard for anybody who doesn’t live near the ocean to do,” said McFarland.
Surfers, desperate for a good wave, have sought out wind swells on the Great Lakes and tried surfing on river rapids and in the wake of passing barges on the Houston Ship Channel in Texas.
“There is definitely a huge demand,” said Matt Reilly of Surf Park Central, a website that tracks global surf park construction. “The speed of growth that you’re seeing is the result of improvements in technology and increases in efficiencies.”
The most commonly used surf park wave designs are modeled on standing river waves, where thousands of gallons of water are propelled against an immobile object to create a stationary curl.
At a recent Surfs Up New Hampshire test run, a handful of professional surfers – including Todd Holland, who was once ranked No. 8 in the world – carved up different types and sizes of standing waves in front of a panel of engineers and photographers.
“This is great,” said Holland. “Once you get going down the line, it feels just like racing a big section.”
Research has also been done on designs more closely related to waves at the world’s finest ocean spots, where a moving swell is produced that breaks when it hits shallow water along an artificial reef or sandbar.
Although less so than in the past, the cost of building an artificial wave system is still substantial. A standing wave system like the one in New Hampshire costs about $3 million to$6 million, while a traveling, or ocean wave, system is much more expensive.
Despite the surf park industry’s efforts to mimic real surf, McFarland, whose company is now also building a traveling wave park in Russia using his PerfectSwell technology, said artificial waves will always have their limits.
“We’re not trying to compete with the ocean, or replace it in any way,” he said. “But this is fun, and I think it is good for the sport and for people.”
(Writing by Richard Valdmanis; editing by Patricia Reaney and Gunna Dickson)
UT San Diego
A Solana Beach company founded by the great-nephew of San Diego surf legend Charles Wright has created what it says is the world’s largest standing wave machine — producing waves with a 5-foot barrel and a 28-foot face — that will be making its debut this spring in the United States.
Another of the machines will be debuting in Canada’s first indoor surf park this summer.
The company — American Wave Machines, founded by engineer and recreational surfer Bruce McFarland — developed its SurfStream technology in the mid-2000s.
The first SurfStream debuted in 2009 at a resort in Turks & Caicos.
In the years since, several more of the machines, which can be engineered to any size and shape specification, have opened at surf parks, water parks, hotels and resorts around the world, McFarland said.
The patented surf machine allows for authentic surfing on real surfboards with fins, with a water temperature that averages around 82 degrees.
That warm water is likely to be a strong pull when the first SurfStream in the United States opens this spring in Nashua, N.H.
The machine will be the centerpiece of a park called Surf’s Up New Hampshire, an expansion of SkyVenture NH, a massive indoor sky diving venue.
The SurfStream will be indoors in a facility that features a retractable glass roof, glass walls for spectator viewing, surfside lounging and a cafe, McFarland said. Surf’s Up will be the first multisport venue with surfing and sky diving.
When the owners polled their sky diving customers, “they were very enthusiastic about being able to surf after flying,” McFarland said.
McFarland said all the SurfStream machines share a design scheme: The basic platform is a training wave where you can body-board or learn to stand up.
“It’s very easy. It’s a small wave and it’s very stable,” he said. “Level two is what we call the standing wave, it’s kind of like a rapid in a river. The wave jumps up about twice as high and it’s more turbulent and a lot more powerful. You can also have white-water kayaking on that wave.”
The most advanced wave, McFarland said, is a barreling wave that breaks either continuously left or continuously right. The barrel is created by moving modular pieces of different sizes and shapes.
The changes in the waves are created by adjusting a spoiler at the bottom of the machine.
McFarland said the machine is great for learning how to surf and for practicing maneuvers, such as aerials and 360s.
“You can practice the same maneuver as many times as you need to to perfect it,” he said. “It is using real surfboards with fins, so the skills are transferable to ocean surfing.”
American Wave Machines also offers a technology called Perfect Swell, which is essentially a wave pool that you can surf in.
PerfectSwell is an air-powered system that uses computer controls to modulate wave shape, ride duration, frequency and energy efficiency. The waves range from about 2 feet to 7½ feet.
McFarland, who in the 1990s developed sheet-flow wave simulators at Belmont Park and The Wave Waterpark in Vista, said his company’s goal is to open a SurfStream or PerfectSwell in every major city in the U.S.
He said they are working with some developers in California, but nothing is scheduled yet.
Canada’s surf park, called Oasis Surf, will be set in a contemporary surf retail center with a California beach-themed bar and restaurant. It will also include a surf shop featuring surf apparel and custom surfboards.
“(The owner) is creating a place (for customers) to go any time of year,” McFarland said. “In the winter, when it’s so cold up there, it’ll be a pretty warm place where you can go and get in the water and hang out.”
View the article at UTSanDiego.com