February 20, 2014- Surfline

AMERICAN WAVE MACHINES BRINGS SURFING INLAND

SurfStream and PerfectSwell are changing perceptions, stoking investors and inviting the whole world to take the ride

By Matt Pruett
Published:February 20, 2014
In case you hadn’t noticed, our global subculture is heading toward a mechanical renaissance — a bona fide robotic revolution in artificial wave technology that lists exotic lands like Malaysia, Dubai and the Basque Country among its conquests. Sunway Lagoon in Kuala Lumpur was hot, for about a minute. Then came the Wadi Adventure Wave Pool in the United Arab Emirates. Then the Wavegarden, Webber Wave Pools…
Here in the U.S., the latest, if not loudest, of the movement’s visionaries is American Wave Machines, who unveiled their SurfStream stationary surfing experience last fall at SkyVenture’s Surf’s Up facility in Nashua, New Hampshire. More info.

While athletes and investors alike were satisfied, if not thrilled, with the initial results, AWM insists the SurfStream is but a smaller-scale project — and in many ways a dynamic precursor to the PerfectSwell surf pool and what they hope will be their ultimate footprint.

“We have a criteria for making artificial waves,” says John Luff, head of Business Development at AWM. “‘What is surfing?’ Well, first off you’ve got to have a surfboard with fins. That was part of the development of SurfStream, a wave that never ends and can be put it in a tennis court-sized swimming pool right in the middle of every major city in the world. In that way, you could take surfing anywhere. That’s what we’re out to do. We want to create a surf culture where surf culture doesn’t exist.”

Ocean City, NJ’s, Rob Kelly who serves as Billabong’s Northeast Marketing Manager, was among the first to guinea pig the SurfStream last fall, and after three invigorating trips to the Granite State has unwittingly become the Surf’s Up mascot. However, recalling past wave tank fiascos (the 1989 ASP Allentown, Pennsylvania, event and the 2008 Ron Jon Surf Park implosion come to mind), Rob was skeptical. And this being the first deepwater artificial wave he’d ever surfed, Rob thought he’d just get pitched. Instead, he got barreled. More on YouTube.

“I didn’t have high expectations. The place wasn’t even finished yet when they invited some East Coast guys — Michael and Ben Powell, Todd Holland — to come test-run it to show off to the investors,” remembers Rob. “They were still sheet-rocking the building and cementing the floor, there were live wires… just super underground. It was the FCS fins that caught my attention. And the setup didn’t look like a FlowRider, where you’re riding the bottom like a skimboard. The best way to explain it is: you’re racing down the line on a wave that’s sucking off a shallow reef, like Uluwatu or Desert Point, so you’ve gotta be cooking the whole time. As soon as you stop moving, you get sucked back toward the barrel. That’s how you stall. You can do turns and airs as long as you’re projecting down the line; you can’t really cut back towards the lip.”

“In [this wave pool], you’re actually riding something that looks like a surfboard, feels like a surfboard, has fins like a surfboard — so it immediately feels more like surfing. You’re not sliding out; you’re actually doing bottom turns, little blow-tail snaps.”
–Cheyne Magnusson

This February, Rob invited fellow New Jersey shredder and gonzo media mogul Ben Graeff of NubTV to join him and document another shred for SkyVenture’s grand opening party, where investors saw their money put to good use. More on YouTube.

“They didn’t have heat that first trip, so we were wearing 4/3s and cold the whole time,” remembers Rob. “This time, the water was 80 degrees, it was 85 degrees in the place. We were in trunks, so that comfort level helped our riding level and we started to realize what was possible — trying out different boards, putting ourselves on different parts of the wave and getting better at riding the barrel.”

Meanwhile, AWM tapped Body Glove teamrider and cross-boarding aficionado Cheyne Magnusson to testride SurfStream installations in Peru and Sweden.

“At the Wave Loch or the WaveHouse, you’re in an inch of water, so the board you’re riding is more similar to a snowboard or skimboard,” says Cheyne. “That’s why those guys are immediately standouts every time. It’s all edge, so a surfer feels like he’s standing on a bar of soap. In the AWM one, you’re actually riding something that looks like a surfboard, feels like a surfboard, has fins like a surfboard — so it immediately feels more like surfing. You’re not sliding out; you’re actually doing bottom turns, little blow-tail snaps. On the wider ones, like Peru, you can snap, pump over to the other side then cut back against the wall. You’re using your normal surfing skills to generate speed to do turns. It’s much easier for a surfer to pick up.”

And if that sounds fun, then get a load of AWM’s next move: PerfectSwell — a digital control system working on exact replications of oceanic wave patterns to produce peeling lefts and rights, all of which can be run from an iPhone or iPad. The technology exists right now. A waist-high version is already operating at water park-size in New York. But the first full-blown dedicated surf pool is currently being constructed in Sochi, Russia, with a future project in the works for the Northeastern U.S.

“Again, ‘What is surfing?'” John proposes. “It’s not a line of people waiting for a single, perfect wave to come by every couple of minutes. It’s the ocean, in either a predictable or unpredictable form. So when we decided to make a surf pool, it was going to look like the ocean, not like a wave pool. We’ve had installations all around the world — Sweden, Turks and Caicos, Peru — and professionals surfing our systems before, so we had a ton of confidence going into it.”

“PerfectSwell, in terms of a surf pool, is the only technology that creates real waves for surfing outside the ocean,” adds Bruce McFarland, President & Founder of American Wave Machines, Inc. “What that means is you’ve got waves breaking constantly in different directions, different sizes, just like you’d see if you were standing on a beach looking at the ocean. It’s the total surf experience: paddling out, positioning, paddling into waves and taking off. You can create an infinite variety, anywhere from one-foot to our biggest system now, which will be delivering seven-and-a-half-foot, barreling waves. That’s kind of like the holy grail of surfing outside the ocean. That’s what everybody’s been waiting for.”

This is an overhead, top-to-bottom tuberide Bruce is talking about here. Too good to be true? Not if the money’s honest. Because the science sure is.

“We had a customer say, ‘I want the biggest in the world,’ ‘I want something new,’ and specifically, ‘I want a rider to be able to get in the barrel and come out,'” says Bruce. “That helped us spec the system for them. We went through our standard internal engineering design process and nailed everything down. We used engineering modeling, calculation, CFD and whatever it took to get this feature, and then committed to the mold. We had all the fiberglass molds procured and made it so that when this thing came online, it was not a prototype. It’s brand-new, shiny and ready to go.”

Still, there’s huge variation because the size of the pool and the waves themselves will be dependent on the customer, their land, their budget and their business plan. AWM is surveying several options: at the smaller end, they might be looking at a 150-foot-wide wave-generating area, a natural-looking pool shape surrounding that, and beach area and entry area to spare — with different wave types going to each area, so shortboarders can shred the middle while SUP’s cruise the sides.

The bigger version, however, could theoretically be as wide as a football field. So one can only imagine how many different peaks might be generated in 300 feet, or peeling waves that are 100 yards long.

“Our goal is to get lots of people in the water,” affirms Bruce. “This system is like a generator line: how much swell do we want to generate and how can we cut those waves up into pieces? It could look like a windswell with peaks shifting all around. It could look like a pointbreak with a wave peeling from one end to the other… We can do all these things. We’ve already got an operational model in the office.”

If it sounds expensive, that’s because it is. Expensive to conceive. Expensive to build. Expensive to maintain. Therefore, on the surface it would seem too expensive for good ol’ Joe Sixpack to afford.

“The business models on these places are extremely profitable and wouldn’t even have to charge a fraction of that number,” says John. “That’s why it will give people that opportunity, because if you put a high cost on it, you’ll block people to a certain degree. One of the biggest advantages with PerfectSwell is it will enable people to get a high-quality surf experience without putting out that much money — $45 will get you about a half-hour. And you’ll probably get more standing time than you would in the ocean over an entire week. It’s continuous surf — no waiting for waves. And it’s already happening with multiple projects worldwide. We’re well on track to have something finished this year. You’ll be seeing PerfectSwell in 2014.”

But for now, the SurfStream is the one that social media conduits are frothing on. And if its rideability remains a question — since all the “classic” wave pools like Typhoon Lagoon tend to be, let’s face it: amusing for rippers, a nightmare for average dudes — Cheyne sets our minds at ease.

“In Peru, a bunch of under-10-year-old kids bought an hour, and I’ve never seen anyone have so much fun,” he says. “What this does is introduces people to the sport without them getting frustrated with waiting around for sets or getting paddled around. In turn, that sparks the curiosity, and they’ll probably want to take it to the next level in the ocean. It’s a great introduction tool for beginners — and a great replacement for intermediate to experts when the waves are flat. And as far as getting a core workout, keeping your surf muscles up and training for stuff you don’t normally get to try each session depending on the waves you get, like airs, there’s literally nothing better.”

“It’s not a game changer as far as replacing surfing,” asserts Rob, “but as far as anything else out there that can be built in a small facility and actually have a good return on investments and be fun for surfers — AWM replicates the experience very well. It would be ideal to chase a swell up to New Hampshire and then when it blows out, go ride the SurfStream instead of going snowboarding or to the skate park. In fact, I think out of all those other sports, this is the most like surfing. As far as barrel riding and pumping down the line, the view and the foamball, it’s actually a really similar feeling…”

“And the barrel never gets old.”

World’s First Skydiving and Indoor Surf Park to Debut in Nashua, New Hampshire

First dedicated indoor surf park in US developed by leading wave machine company to open at SkyVenture New Hampshire in 2013

American Wave Machines, Inc. (AWM), the leading wave technology innovation company, announced the debut of the world’s largest standing wave surfing machine, the SurfStream® model SS5032, in Nashua, New Hampshire. This will be the first multi-sport venue with surfing and skydiving.

Surf's Up New Hampshire

Surf’s Up to debut at SkyVenture NH

Called Surf’s Up New Hampshire, it’s part of an expansion of SkyVenture NH, a profitable massive indoor skydiving venue. The all-season indoor SurfStream® will be connected to the skydiving facility and features a retractable glass roof for seasonal open air operation, glass walls for enhanced spectator viewing, surfside lounging, and a café.

With programmable controls and modular inserts, the SurfStream® model SS5032 creates multiple wave types in one machine. For experienced surfers the signature wave is the 5’ barreling wave with 28’ of face to carve on. This set of wave modules can be assembled in both right and left breaks accommodating goofy and regular foot riders. For broad appeal, the system also features training and intermediate waves which operate at lower power. Due to this versatility, owners Laurie and Rob Greer have developed a robust pay-for-surf revenue model including interscholastic surf team packages to help develop local high school surf teams.

“We can already teach anyone to fly, now we can teach anyone to surf.” said Rob Greer, owner of SkyVenture NH. “SurfStream® is a tremendous value proposition with broad appeal. That’s what convinced us to invest and that’s essential for our bottom line.”

Bruce McFarland, founder and CEO of AWM said “Laurie and Rob are visionaries. Their expertise in action sports facility marketing and operations, not to mention their passion, has contributed greatly to the success of this project. They really do believe in the development of extreme sport talent.”

About American Wave Machines, Inc.

American Wave Machines, Inc. (AWM) is the powerhouse creator of artificial wave technology for applications in recreation, action sports, and hotel/resorts. Its patented SurfStream®, the world’s first standing wave machine, is a technology breakthrough that delivers authentic surf and wave riding capabilities. The company also offers PerfectSwell™ surf pools for resorts and outdoor surf parks. For more information, visit www.americanwavemachines.com.

About SkyVenture New Hampshire

Located in Nashua, New Hampshire, SkyVenture NH features a state of the art vertical wind tunnel where customers experience the FREEDOM OF FLIGHT! In addition to individual flights, group events and parties are also available. For more information, visit www.skyventurenh.com.

AWM Awarded Contract for Juice Box Surf Center Design and Pre-Development

First surf retail center will be online in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 2013

American Wave Machines, Inc. (AWM), world leader in artificial wave technology for the emerging surf parks market, announces their selection to carry out the conceptual design and pre-development work and technology supply for the Juice Box Surf owners group in Virginia Beach, VA.

Juice Box Surf

Juice Box Surf in Virginia Beach, VA

Juice Box Surf Center will be a mixed use surf park business utilizing AWM products and technology for indoor surfing, exhibitions, contests, training, surf camps, special events and soft and hard good retail. Juice Box Surf Center combines a full service surf shop, board manufacturing, and surf team with full time surfing available to the public on the largest SurfStream® designed to date. Riders will have the ability to surf indoors in winter and outside in summer. The guest experience includes surfing, shopping, spectating, food, and live music.

Juice Box Surf will feature AWM’s SurfStream® Model SS5032 with programmable controls and modular inserts that allow multiple wave types in one machine. For experienced surfers the signature wave is the standing 6′ barrel with 30′ of face to carve on. This set of wave modules can be assembled in both right and left breaks accommodating goofy and regular foot riders. For broad appeal, the system also has training and intermediate waves which operate at lower power so that the wave size can progress along with the riders’ skill.

“We’re stoked to be working with American Wave Machines,” said owners James Simonin and George Smith. “This is going to expand the surf market, coastal and non-coastal, combining the actual experience of surfing in a core setting with relevant merchandising. Juice Box Surf is an island for surfing that people can escape to with great waves, great food, live music and no worries. Together with AWM we have developed a robust and replicable model and can see this expanding.”

“Virginia Beach has deep roots in surfing, so this is a great opportunity for my company to work with visionary guys,” said Bruce McFarland, President of AWM. “SurfStream® is creating an entirely new business model revolutionizing the way surfing is experienced. We’re ramping up to deploy systems worldwide including the resurgent U.S. market. It’s a business that makes sense not only for surfers but for the new active public that seek authentic, even extreme experiences for their recreation dollars.”

About American Wave Machines, Inc.

American Wave Machines, Inc. (AWM) is the creator of wave technology for surf parks, hotel/resorts, recreation, and research applications. SurfStream®, the world’s first standing wave machine, is a technology breakthrough that delivers authentic surf and wave riding capabilities in a compact space. For more information, visit www.americanwavemachines.com

About Juice Box Surf

Host to the East Coast Surfing Championship, the longest running surf competition in the United States, Virginia Beach is the location of Juice Box Surf. Featuring custom surfboards designed and built in-house and world renowned surf product lines, Juice Box Surf is a “CORE” focused shop driven by pure enthusiasm backed up by decades of surf culture experience. For more information, visit www.juiceboxsurf.com

World’s First Surf Arena, ‘Ola Movistar’, Debuts at Boulevard de Asia, Peru

Grand Opening Event Sponsored by Movistar and Quiksilver

Solana Beach, Calif. – January 27, 2011
American Wave Machines, Inc. (AWM), the leading wave technology innovation company, announced the debut of the world’s first surf arena featuring the AWM SurfStream® model SS5024 at the grand opening of the ‘Ola Movistar’ surf arena in the Boulevard de Asia outdoor mall, near Lima, Peru.

On site at the Quiksilver and Movistar sponsored event were members of the Peruvian National Surfing team and 1,500 paying customers.

“It is a stationary wave, it’s different; but at the same time it’s super fun and does feel a lot like the ocean,” said ASP World Champion Surfer, Sofia Mulanovich.

“With Peru’s rich surfing culture, the standards were high for the new venue’s authenticity and sustainability. The SS5024 is a multi-purpose system that will satisfy the skilled surfers of Peru but also meet the needs of developing and first time riders,” said Bruce McFarland, President of AWM. “It’s been a great experience working with the team at Boulevard de Asia. They are truly visionary in being first to market in South America with innovative technology like SurfStream.”

Guillermo Gonzales, Peru Surf Federation President and Arena Operator noted, “As one of the largest recreation centers in the world, this surf arena puts Peru at the forefront of the region, offering a perfect place for athletes, fans and the general public to have guaranteed training, where they can not only practice the sport of surfing, but they can also share it with family.”

Corporate partner Movistar embraced the vision and chose to get involved with the debut event. “As well as being a new exclusive venue with modern lounge areas, the ‘Movistar Wave’ makes it possible for everyone to practice surfing, what is developing into the flagship sport of our country. The wave will help spur the development of young surf talent,” said, Fiorella Espejo, PR and Marketing Director for Movistar.

With programmable controls and modular inserts, the SurfStream® model SS5024 creates multiple wave types in one machine. For experienced surfers the signature wave is the single 5’ barreling wave with 20’ of face to carve on. This set of wave modules can be assembled in both right and left breaks accommodating goofy and regular foot riders. For broad appeal, the system also has training and intermediate waves which operate at lower power.

Other sponsors at the event included Skull Candy and Burn.

About American Wave Machines, Inc.
American Wave Machines, Inc. (AWM) is the powerhouse creator of artificial wave technology for applications in the hotel/resort, recreation, and action sports industries. Its patented SurfStream®, the world’s first standing wave machine, is a technology breakthrough that delivers authentic surf and wave riding capabilities. The company also offers PerfectSwell™ wave generators for wave pools and custom surf pool design and equipment for large surf pools.

About Boulevard de Asia
Located 97.5 km south of Lima, Peru in the Asia District, Boulevard de Asia receives over 2 million visitors per year at its shopping mall and nearby family entertainment outlets. Open since 2003, the commercial zone has become a premier entertainment destination in Peru. For more information, visit www.boulevardasia.com.

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