August 12, 2014 – Endless Summer Resort on Oahu

The Greene Waters Group of Bridge Real Estate announced plans today for a unique hospitality experience at The Endless Summer Resort. The 400 unit resort will be centered around a four-acre PerfectSwell® surf pool that creates an infinite variety of customizable waves using technology created by American Wave Machines. KITV Honolulu covered the story.

Endless Summer Surf Resort Coming to Oahu in 2017 | American Wave Machines | Surf Park Central

“American Wave Machines has advanced technology to a point where they make consistent  waves with an infinite variety,” said Surf City Hui, LLC co-founder Chad Waters.  “At The Endless Summer Resort, we will be able to create a surfing experience that removes the fear for beginners and in some cases, exceeds the real thing for expert surfers

Our overriding design philosophy was to create surf, the dynamics of the ocean at the beach, not just individual waves.  We’ve accomplished that with PerfectSwell®” said Bruce McFarland, Founder and President of American Wave Machines, “The iconic concept put forth by Surf City HUI aligns with our vision for premium surf destinations.”

Surf City Hui will be interviewing potential operators and contractors during the next few months, and anticipate the resort opening by the summer of 2017. The developer is asking for public input on the project by completing a short survey, which includes an informational video.

 

March 25, 2014 – Fortune

Indoor surf parks aim for big money

March 25, 2014: 5:00 AM ET

Indoor surf parks aim for big money

Indoor surf parks aim for big money

The CEO of Body Glove is leading the effort to bring surfing indoors — and maybe to a mall near you.

By Shawn Tully, senior editor-at-large

FORTUNE — In a lifetime of promoting the sport he loves, Robbie Meistrell has long sought the power swell capable of propelling the laid-back world of surfing into a universal, lucrative phenomenon rivaling golf. Now, he swears, he’s found it: wave-machine generated, mainly indoor surfing, driven by fresh technologies that can replicate six-foot barrels and chest-high mushy waves, in every imaginable, computer-sequenced, ocean-imitating combination, at surf parks the size of football fields. A pair of these emporia will soon open in quintessentially non-beachy locales: in the New Jersey Meadowlands at the forthcoming, gigantic new American Dream mall built by Mall of America developers Triple Five originally; and in snowy mountains of Sochi, Russia, home of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

 

“This breakthrough in wave machine surfing is what we’ve been waiting for all these years,” says Meistrell. “It could multiply the number of surfers worldwide, and easily multiply the size of the surfing market by a factor 10.” Today’s soccer moms could become tomorrow’s surfing moms, and look for the Olympics in the 2030s to host contests on computer-planned waves, a kind of aquatic, next-gen Super Pipe with surfers in the role of snowboarders.

 

Meistrell is the scion of a surfing business dynasty: In 1953, his father and uncle founded water sports retailer Body Glove, and in the 1960s invented the first practical wetsuit for surfers. Today, Meistrell serves as Body Glove’s CEO, licensing the famous brand name for bathing suits, snorkels, water shoes, and waterproof cell phone cases, as well as those signature, super-stretch form-fitting neoprene huggers that keep surfers toasty in the icy foam. The family’s flagship store, Dive ‘N’ Surf in Redondo Beach, Calif., remains a legendary destination for water sports enthusiasts. Meistrell runs surfing camps for kids, sponsors pro surfing tours and events, and at age 62, still paddles out to catch the curls at L.A.’s Manhattan Beach.

 

Yet Meistrell has faced years of frustration in his campaign to attract hordes of new surfers, and hence build the gigantic market that, he believes, the sport merits. “When you get the feeling of the water moving beneath your feet, there’s nothing on earth like it,” he marvels. “It’s totally addictive.” The rub is that millions of potential surfers live too far from the ocean to experience that magical sensation.
And even on the coasts, kids and neophyte adults shun the sport because once they tote their boards to the beach, the fickle ways of nature furnish waves that are too big, or arrive far too infrequently, for beginners to learn. The weather delays and long waits between rideable waves also soak surfing’s allure as a spectator sport. “You go to Rincon Beach in Santa Barbara,” says Meistrell, “and the surfing is good maybe four or five days a month. In most places, you paddle out and catch two waves in two or three hours. It’s not that surfing is so hard to learn, it isn’t. It’s that it’s so hard to practice.”

 

Another problem is what Meistrell calls a kind of tribal “localism.” “On the good days, hordes of people from all over flood the surfing beaches,” says Meistrell. “The groups of local surfers don’t like it, and don’t want you there.”

 

MORE: Backstage with Xerox CEO Ursula Burns

 

Hence, surfing remains a major cultural trendsetter, shaping fashion, music, and lingo. But measured in dollars, it’s a decidedly minor sport. Surfers worldwide spend around $10 billion a year on equipment, camps and lessons — TV revenues and ticket sales are miniscule, by the way — less than one-sixteenth the total sales golfing commands.

 

Today, Meistrell views the innovations in indoor — as well as open-air — surf parks as the game-changer. Surf parks have been around for decades. Their appeal, however, is limited. The big ones typically produce waves at extremely long intervals that severely limit how many surfers they can serve, and hence their revenues. The small ones generate thin swells that move far faster than normal waves, so that denizens need skateboard-sized boards sans fins to ride them.

 

For Meistrell, the breakthrough arrived via the new technologies developed by a surfer-cum-engineer named Bruce McFarland. After receiving a graduate degree in fluid dynamics from the University of California, McFarland worked as an aeronautical engineer at TRW (TRW), then began studying how powerful pumping systems could be used to replicate the process that creates ocean waves in nature. McFarland’s new technology generated its first swells in a tank in his garage at a full three inches in height. In 2000, he founded American Wave Machines, and by the mid-2000s had installed pioneering, outdoor surf parks in Peru and the Caribbean.

 

Intrigued, Meistrell visited the park at the Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos in 2008 with his two young sons. “We all got completely hooked,” he says, “we were surfing until 9 at night. Our legs were like rubber.” He next recruited two pro surfers, Cheyne Magnusson and Anthony Walsh, to try the installation at the giant Boulevard de Asia shopping complex south of Lima. “I found it appealed to the pros as well, because you can practice so much in a concentrated period,” says Meistrell. “Cheyne and Anthony thought it was a great training device for the legs and the core.” Meistrell was so impressed that he persuaded American Wave Machines to appoint him chairman, a position he still holds.

 

American Wave Machines offers two distinctly different technologies, one for small arenas, the other for super-sized parks. The original system, called SurfStream, creates stationary waves in pools between 12 and 24 feet in width. Hydraulic pumps force thousands of gallons of recirculating water over fiberglass modules to create waves that curl continuously in place, so that surfers can move back and forth across the face of the wave, but now forward. McFarland’s innovation consists of designing a system sufficiently powerful to form the type of thick, standstill, white water swells that attract adventurous surfers in rushing rivers. At these smaller surf parks, folks use regular surfboards with fins, so that the experience is far closer to ocean surfing than the experience at the older wave-making facilities.

 

American Wave provides the equipment, installation, and consulting services to owners who manage the parks. The first indoor facility in the U.S. featuring its technology debuted in late 2013, Surfs Up in Nashua, N.H. Expert surfers can program four-foot barrel waves on an iPad, and mothers bring their 5-year-olds for lessons on one-foot curls. The kids can also try skydiving in the same facility. Today, American Wave has six of the smaller parks in operation and two more under construction, one in South Dakota, and another in Montreal.

 

MORE: Box IPO filing: The key numbers

 

The second technology — PerfectSwell — replicates real, traveling ocean waves, and, if it proves as lucrative as Meistrell predicts, will power the giant surf parks of the future. These parks can be over an acre in size, and they’re typically around 160 feet in width. The waves can reach a hurricane-scale eight feet, and they advance the full length of the pool, offering ocean-worthy rides of as long as 20 seconds, breaking when they reach the shallow end, just like the real thing.

 

Here’s how the technology operates. At the deep end are 16 vertical chambers placed at 10-foot intervals, each extending from near the pool floor to above the water level. Powerful commercial blowers push air at high velocity into the top of the chambers. The rushing air forces a piston-like flood of water from the chamber into the pool, producing waves.

 

By altering the timing and sequencing of the water blasts from sixteen chambers, the system can generate a wide variety of sizes and types of waves in rapid sequence, leaving just enough time in-between for customers to paddle out for the next ride. It can produce computer-generated barrels and peeling swells that break either left or right, or “pop up” waves that launch acrobatic surfers skyward. For example, a peeling “big closeout” wave that extends the entire 160-foot width of the pool and travels straight toward the shallow end lasts around 20 seconds, and can accommodate 16 surfers at once. In fact, three big closeout waves can run, one behind the other, at the same time, so that 48 surfers can be riding at any one time.

 

Serving large numbers of surfers, says Meistrell, is what’s needed to make the parks highly profitable. That’s what American Wave provides. These systems are expensive: The SurfStream costs between $4 and $6 million, and the PerfectSwell far more. Meistrell thinks that the smaller SurfStream parks can greatly augment the profitability of struggling retail sporting goods stores. “Brick-and -mortar stores are under pressure from the Internet,” he explains. “Adding a surf park brings in more shoppers. The park should also be highly profitable on its own.” Meistrell reckons that these small parks can attract 50 people at a time who pay $30 each, and catch 25 to 40 waves in an hour session. That formula would generate over $4 million a year in revenue after personnel and power costs, he estimates, allowing owners to pay off the cost of equipment in around 18 months. The numbers could work — it all depends on whether customers find these parks as enticing as Meistrell expects, something we won’t know until potential owners get to review the experience of today’s pioneers.

 

Meistrell views the giant PerfectSwell parks as the perfect complement to the array of attractions at the new generation of mega-parks. “People want the total experience, they want skydiving, indoor skiing, zip lines, mountain wall climbing — and surfing,” he says. “It all works as a package.” The mammoth parks could also make surfing a major spectator sport. Promoters could organize pro events in surfing arenas around the country without worrying about the weather, with contestants matching their skills in similarly challenging runs of cascading surf. The surfing community has been trying to get on the Olympic calendar for years, without success. “In the ocean, the guy who’s lucky enough to catch the biggest wave often wins, even if he’s not the best,” says Meistrell. For the Olympics, he says, all the contestants would face waves or series of waves of similar difficulty. The vagaries of nature that are blocking surfing’s Olympic hopes would vanish. “You would score people on how they handle six-foot barrels or four-foot mushy waves, like the long and short programs in figure skating,” he says.

 

The future of super-sized surf parks will depend heavily on the success of the first two ventures in New Jersey and Russia. The not-yet-opened $3.5 billion American Dream will rank among America’s biggest shopping extravaganzas and offer the kind of total adventure Meistrell advocates. Visitors can experience indoor skiing, indoor skydiving, spin on a giant Ferris wheel offering views of the New York skyline, and catch the curls on their surfboards, all in the same gargantuan complex opposite MetLife Stadium. That’s fast company. If indoor surfing proves a sensation in New Jersey and Sochi, it’s reached the big time. And for surfing everywhere — the stores, the events, the TV sales, and the new parks — that means big money.

 

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.”

January 16, 2014- ESPN X Games

American Wave Machines

 Read the full article and watch the interview on ESPN X Games site here

Recently, the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) and the International Surfing Association (ISA) have been vocal in their push for artificial waves, seeing it as a tool to either grow the surf market or get the sport into the Olympics. Thanks to a recent surge in wave pool construction around the world, including one in Nashua, N.H., some believe the pool is the future of surfing.

Now, Nashua isn’t necessarily Surf City, U.S.A., but that’s part of the point. According to SIMA, wave pools have the potential to grow the industry in areas not anywhere close to a beach break.

Soon after the first-ever Surf Park Summit last fall in Laguna Beach, Calif., where wave pools were discussed at length, I headed to New Hampshire to check out American Wave Machines’ newest pool. On the brink of winter, it was cold, dark and not exactly bubbling over with aloha.

I ended up at Surf’s Up, located next to a CVS Pharmacy, and the wave pool shares a building with an indoor skydiving facility. All I could think was heaven help the sport I’ve pursed my whole life. This wasn’t surfing.

Todd Holland Power Turn Surfs Up Nashua NH

“All the aggression we were use to seeing Todd [Holland] surf with came out on that little wave and we instantly knew that this was not like anything we’d ridden in the past,” described Rob Kelly.

 Read the full article and watch the interview on ESPN X Games site here

Then a group of local kids from the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) showed up. The pool’s engineer pulled out an iPad, opened an app, and proceeded to create a perfect three-foot standing wave. The kids’ faces lit up. They sprung to life, pulling on wetsuits and waxing boards. As far as they were concerned it was eight-foot and offshore. With the swipe of a finger their surf lives had changed.

“There’s five months of the year that it’s pretty much too cold for these kids to surf,” said one of the parents. “This is huge, it opens up their entire world.”

When you look at a facility like Surf’s Up through the eyes of a 13-year-old, the perspective changes completely.

“If you see it as something to augment the surfing experience there’s a lot you can do with it,” described Todd Holland, a former top tier ASP competitor who now runs a surf school in Florida.

The Surf’s Up pool is capable of producing a number of different kinds of waves. There’s a foamy whitewater wave that is fun for playing around on a boogie board. There’s a one-foot beginner wave that’s ideal for teaching people to surf. There’s also a standing river wave, like you’d see on the Eisbach River in Munich, Germany. And finally, there’s the premier wave that can serve up a three-foot tube. Depending on how the pool operators have it configured, that wave can either be a left or a right.

“It’s not a huge pool, but there’s so much you can do with it,” continued Holland. “It’s a huge training tool for these ESA kids that don’t get to surf for long periods of time. Now they can get wet, work on technique and still feel like they’re surfing. But you can also change it up and teach a whole group of beginners. It’s very dynamic.”

No matter what SIMA or the ISA say, the fact is that wave pools are only going to be viable if they are profitable. That means appealing to a broad audience. The “core” surfer makes up such a small part of the actual surf industry that money has to flow in through other channels to keep a pool open, which is wear a beginner wave and foamie for boogie boarding come in.

“We’re trying to design our systems so that they can be used in a variety of ways, creating a whole lot of different wave-riding experiences,” says John Luff of American Wave Machines. “When we crank it up you can ride a normal surfboard with fins and get barreled and do airs, but it also caters to surfers of every level and ability. You don’t need to be a pro to enjoy it, that was never the idea.”

Up next, American Wave Machines will be tackling a more ambitious project in Sochi, Russia. Construction is currently on hold until after the Winter Olympics, but they’re looking a building a pool that mimics ocean swells and waves. They also have a project in the works in New Jersey, which is being funded by the same people that built the “Mall of America.”

After a weekend in Nashua I can’t tell you I’m totally sold on wave pools as a substitute for surfing, but it’s obvious that the future is here. Kids don’t care if there’s sand or sea gulls as long as they’re having fun, and the Surf’s Up waves are fun.

 

December 20, 2013- Quartz

American Wave Machines PerfectSwell Surf Park

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.

Sure, the wave is only three inches tall and is contained in a pint-sized pool built by McFarland’s company, American Wave Machines. But two surf parks deploying the company’s PerfectSwell technology are set to open in Russia and New Jersey, generating four- to six-foot (1.2 to 1.8 meter) waves at the push of a button. “We want to create waves so that anyone, anywhere can surf,” says McFarland.

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.

That’s also problematic for pro surfing. Small surf and long lulls between sets of waves do not make for exciting television, so it’s hard to attract the viewers that advertisers and sponsors covet. Contests last for days, stopping and starting as ocean conditions dictate. They cannot be scheduled into two-hour, TV-friendly time slots. The window for holding the annual Mavericks big wave competition in northern California, for instance, runs from November until April and the contest is called on 48 hours notice when huge waves—30-foot plus—appear. “There’s no way a surf contest will ever be on ESPN Live,” says Matt Reilly, director of marketing at Surf Park Central, a website that covers the nascent artificial wave industry.
A surf park, on the other hand, can ideally churn out one identical wave after another. Replicating Mother Nature is not so easy, though. Most wave parks built over the past 20 years offer a so-called standing wave: A sheet of water is pumped into a pool and over a barrier to create a continuous breaking wave that stays in place. Riders can balance on a surfboard and maneuver to some degree. But the wave does not move and there’s no wave face to ride across. It’s more like surfing a waterfall.
The Holy Grail is a wave that mimics the physics of an ocean wave, moving through the pool, rising up and breaking to the right or left so surfers can catch it and ride up and down the face or propel themselves off the lip to perform aerial turns.

The future of surfing: No ocean required

 

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 7.20.10 PM

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.

SURFING INLAND

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)

Surf Park Market is Here | Authentic Surf Outside the Ocean

PerfectSwell® - Authentic Surfing Experiences Beyond the Ocean

The Surf Park market is here. John Luff, business development staff at AWM was interviewed about the surf park market and sustainable tourism in a compelling article in Transworld Business seen here.  AWM continues to lead the way in the development of surfing beyond the ocean with existing installations around the globe and planned openings in New HampshireMontrealSouth Dakota, and Sochi, Russia — site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

“Surf Parks are the key to making surfing a mainstream, commercially sustainable sport and to promoting surfing as an iconic lifestyle that transcends all nationalities and cultures.” – John Luff

AWM’s PerfectSwell® and SurfStream® technologies allow for authentic recreational and advanced surfing experiences. This is made possible by AWM’s patented wave systems designed and engineered for the best user experience and the best long term owner experience.

 

SurfStream® – The ideal small footprint solution for  versatile & endless wave riding on real surfboards.

Very large scale surf pools using computer optimized PerfectSwell® technologies that simulate an authentic ocean environment are  currently in production. AWM’s PerfectSwell® wave generation systems offer practical solutions for resorts and waterparks such as in Sochi as well as surf parks specifying waves up to 12′ or more.  Stay tuned for these openings and watch for several new locations to be announced soon.

AWM looks forward to working with both large scale and small scale surf park projects around the globe and meeting specifications with the most cost effective and world class wave generation systems on the market.
About American Wave Machines, Inc.

American Wave Machines, Inc. (AWM) designs, engineers, manufactures and sells world class wave pools, wave systems and surf centers. Founded in 2000 by California surfer Bruce McFarland, the company is committed to delivering authentic surfing experiences in a safe and controlled environment. SurfStream® is the world’s first standing wave machine that delivers a stationary surfing experience (on real surfboards) scalable to various spaces. PerfectSwell® is the first air-powered system to create an authentic surfing experience through natural-like ocean waves. From the Caribbean to Sweden, American Wave Machines has developed more than 15 small and large-scale installations exclusively for surf parks, waterparks, resorts, malls and research institutions. www.AmericanWaveMachines.com

American Wave Machines Commissions Latest PerfectSwell

Continuous Surf – Any Shape and Size

PerfectSwell Barrel View May 2013 | Greetings from the Barrel
 

SOLANA BEACH, CALIF. (June 3, 2013) – American Wave Machines (AWM), the technology leader in out of ocean surf recently completed installation and commissioning of the latest PerfectSwell® wave generating invention in East Durham, New York.

Adding to the PerfectSwell® suite of innovations, including the patented reflecting wave generator, the new software based invention creates surf by sequenced control of multiple wave generating chambers. Virtually any wave shape and direction can be generated continuously including point breaks, peaks, beach breaks, barrels, and multiple rider waves.  The recently patented invention is applicable to all pneumatic systems including linear and circular wave pools.

Additional patent pending innovations include a mobile wave control application designed to run on mobile devices.  The mobile app will enable operators, coaches, and surfers to call and control waves and personalized playlists.  A media option allows photo and video capture of the surf session within the app.

We’re stoked our customers have bigger and better waves in their pools than they thought possible. The capabilities of this system exceeded our predictions” said Bruce McFarland, founder and president of AWM. “Not only does this demonstrate the scalability of PerfectSwell®, it demonstrates wave quality and quantity necessary for successful surf parks..

The PerfectSwell® systems currently under construction are focused on surfing and standard wave pool recreation and are engineered for waves up to 8 feet. Still larger wave systems are within the technical capability.
 

About American Wave Machines, Inc.

American Wave Machines, Inc. (AWM) designs, engineers, manufactures and sells world class wave pools, wave systems and surf centers. Founded in 2001 by California surfer Bruce McFarland, the company is committed to delivering authentic surfing experiences in a safe and controlled environment. SurfStream® is the world’s first standing wave machine that delivers a stationary surfing experience (on real surfboards) scalable to various spaces. PerfectSwell® is the first air-powered system to create an authentic surfing experience through natural-like ocean waves. From the Caribbean to Sweden, American Wave Machines has developed more than 15 small and large-scale installations exclusively for surf parks, waterparks, resorts, malls and research institutions. www.americanwavemachines.com

AWM Announces Surf Pool Innovative Breakthroughs

 

American Wave Machines, Inc. (AWM), the leader in artificial wave technology for surf parks, announces three technological breakthroughs for PerfectSwell™, an innovative approach to generating large waves with the emphasis on wave quality and surfing. PerfectSwell is the next generation of artificial wave pools with its patent pending PerfectSwell Wave App™, patented Reflecting Wave Generator and Phased Array Control System, providing the opportunity for surfing outside of the ocean. Production of PerfectSwell is underway in Sochi, Russia, site of the 2014 Olympics. The 35,000 square foot PerfectSwell wave pool will open at the Sheksna Resort, nominated as Russia’s Leading Spa Resort by World Travel Awards.

AWM’s PerfectSwell Wave App™ allows surfers to control the session by calling up their favorite waves from the lineup or from shore with their iPad or iPhone. Wave direction, size and intensity can be modified from an iPhone, allowing surfers to have the perfect session every time. Coaches and trainers can manipulate the surf for the skill level and physical location of trainees in the pool. Surfers can record the ride with a built-in media option.

PerfectSwell™ Wave App for iPhone

No longer having to wait for the perfect wave, rigorous conditioning and training can take place in a PerfectSwell pool. AWM’s proprietary PerfectSwell Reflecting Wave Generator creates circular particle motion waves like the ocean, capable of producing 10 barreling waves per minute. The PerfectSwell Phased Array Control system controls chamber firing patterns and sequences creating any wave breaking characteristic from mushy to pitching to timed aerial closeouts.

“PerfectSwell is the most versatile system with the most innovative technology providing the best surfing experience, “ says Bruce McFarland, President of AWM. “PerfectSwell creates an infinite variety of waves. Point, reef and beach breaks can be replicated in PerfectSwell surf pools and waves can be adjusted and customized without need for special bottom contours.”

About 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, delivers surfing capability in a compact space. PerfectSwell technology is a new approach to generating large waves with the emphasis on the surfing experience. With no moving parts in the water, sophisticated computer controls modulate wave shape, ride duration, frequency and energy efficiency. www.americanwavemachines.com

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.