Frequently Asked Questions

Q & A with Bruce McFarland

  • Could you give a basic explanation of the technology?
    • The SurfStream® inspiration came after observing an early 1990’s video of Kelly Slater surfing the Waimea river mouth. You ride a wave like that facing upstream. The wave doesn’t move position, so you can ride endlessly. We were able to capture that idea in scale with a recirculating system and started the development of SurfStream® with the first installation at Beaches resort in 2007, still in operation. Since the first install we’re on generation 6 systems. SurfStream® now offers multiple wave types in one machine that can appeal to the little girl next door all the way to high performance surfers. With that broad appeal, SurfStream® proprietary technology creates a sustainable business while keeping surfers stoked.
  • What did you set out to design – did you want to create an experience where you could use a real surfboard?
    • Yes. I’ve surfed for 40 years. I like it. It’s really fun. The coasts of many countries are now fully saturated with surfers at the surf spots. While it’s not surfing in the ocean, riding SurfStream® on a real surfboard provides a part of the fun and skill progression of ocean surfing. I was confident that the quality of the experience on SurfStream® would be appreciated by those seeking to offer surfing while running a business, whether it’s a resort, waterpark, or stand-alone surf venue. This has turned out to be exactly the case. It took our combination of engineering and surfing experience to get it right.
  • Is it easier to learn to surf on this than in the sea?
    • Yes. There is no paddle in with SurfStream® and the standing up and riding part is much easier than in the ocean. The beginner can focus on foot placement and balance immediately and rapidly get the feeling of gliding over water on a surfboard.
  • What are the differences between PerfectSwell® and SurfStream®?
    • Very simply, PerfectSwell® is a patented traveling wave system. The wave is created at one end and travels and breaks in the pool. PerfectSwell® mimics an authentic ocean environment. Surfers and bodyboarders must learn to paddle in and pop up. SurfStream®, on the other hand, is an endless standing wave made by continuously pumping water in a recirculating pool and channel system. It has a much smaller footprint and ride length is not limited by pool size. It’s great for a dedicated surfing and bodyboarding system. We can also tune it for kayaking, wake boarding, and even as a SUP ‘treadmill’.
  • Where do you see the company going?
    • It’s important to “live the life” of surfing and not just sell it. Our vision is to deliver surfing, either with PerfectSwell® large scale systems or smaller scale SurfStream® systems to markets throughout the world. We know the market demand is there, people all over the world want to surf and not everyone lives at the coast. With surfing in the Olympics for the first time in Tokyo in 2020, there’s tremendous opportunity. It’s a great time for the company.

SurfStream®

  • What makes SurfStream® unique?
    • SurfStream® is the first patented surf machine that allows surfing on a surfboard with fins. You can even use your own surfboard or bodyboard. SurfStream® delivers all the wave types needed to reward everyone from first-time surfers to experienced and competitive surfers seeking the longest barrel ride of their lives.
  • How big are the waves?
    • Waves can be engineered to any size and shape specification. Typically, waterpark/resort waves are in the 2-3’ range and surf park waves are in the 3’-6’ range. Size and cost are related, but surfability is a quality of every SurfStream® wave.
  • How many people can ride at a time?
    • Even the smallest SurfStream® can support up to 5 riders at once. We don’t designate a “single” or a “double” because all SurfStream® models can accommodate multiple riders.
  • How much space is required? How big is the machine?
    • The smallest footprint is about 22’ x 65’ or 1,430 square feet including minimum deck space. Larger units are up to 40’ x 80’ or 3,200 square feet. There is no limit on size; the tradeoff is power and cost.
  • What about the cost?
    • The system is highly engineered system with the highest quality components including molded fiberglass, stainless steel weldments, industrial controls, and infrastructure scale pumps. Think strength, safety, and durability at a fair price. Prices range from $700K to $3M depending on system specification. Call AWM to discuss your project goals and determine the best system for your venue.
  • What type of maintenance is required?
    • SurfStream® is designed to have the minimum amount of maintenance possible with the longest product life cycle. The amount of “soft” materials has been minimized. Soft materials stretch and wear out. Our molded fiberglass is the industry standard material for long life and low maintenance. Boards and other gear heavily used require occasional replacement. Water quality must also be maintained with typical pool cleaning and chemical balancing.
  • Is it safe?
    • SurfStream® can be adjusted and operated to provide a high degree of safety for almost anyone with or without padding or helmets. Slow water speeds and a deep cushion of water are keys to safety as well as trained operators. Skill needs to increase with wave size and speed for safety.
  • Is this wave like a river wave?
    • Every SurfStream® systems has multiple wave types, including a hydrodynamic akin to river waves. Different that a river wave, the river mode in SurfStream® can be modified real time with digital controls.

PerfectSwell

  • What makes PerfectSwell® unique?
    • The approach behind PerfectSwell® was to imitate nature and to recreate surf, not simply wave. Surf conditions include an infinite variety of waves, varying wave frequency, certain hydrodynamics, and a beach. We’ve attempted to address all those aspects with PerfectSwell® proprietary systems.
  • How does PerfectSwell® generate waves?
    • Proprietary PerfectSwell® Reflecting Wave Generator creates waves with particle motion like the ocean. The PerfectSwell® Phased Array Control System controls air pressure firing patterns and sequences to create unlimited wave types. We have also developed a touch screen interface allowing the operator to effectively design their own wave. Infinite Ocean® is a brand new innovative approach to pool design creating an authentic and realistic beach.
  • How big are the waves?
    • Waves can be engineered to any size and shape specification. Typically, wave pool waves are in the 1’-3’ range and surf pool waves are in the 3’-8’ range. Size and cost are related, but surfability is a quality of every PerfectSwell® wave.
  • How long is the ride?
    • The ride length is only limited by the pool size. Ride lengths of 10 to 15 seconds might require a 2 to 3-acre pool. Ride lengths of 40 to 50 seconds would require a much larger pool. A key takeaway is that PerfectSwell® is scalable for any ride length, wave size, and footprint specification.
  • How many waves per minute?
    • PerfectSwell® technology vary wave frequency as little as 3 seconds between sets or 10 minutes. You name it.
  • What type of waves?
    • With PerfectSwell® the size, shape, and patterns of waves are all adjustable with digital controls. Just make a list: point break type peeling waves, left and right, and sets of lefts or rights. Peaks, single, double, triple, etc. “Customs”, a barrel into a peak close-out. You name it.
  • What does the future look like for American Wave Machines?
    • It’s important to “live the life” of surfing and not just sell it. Our vision is to deliver surfing, either with PerfectSwell® large scale systems or smaller scale SurfStream® systems to markets throughout the world. We know the market demand is there, people all over the world want to surf and not everyone lives at the coast. With surfing in the Olympics for the first time in Tokyo in 2020, there’s tremendous opportunity. It’s a great time for the company.