A few days ago, North America’s first public wave park opened its doors.NLand, located in Austin, Texas, uses Wavegarden technology, and will prove as a testing grounds for public interest–but they’ve already got competition. It comes in the form of American Wave Machines, a company that just announced it’s on the contract for a massive watersports facility near Waco.
The surfing world is abuzz with wavepools. It all started a few years ago when Wavegarden released their first iteration of their man-made wave. It was back in 2011, when, after six-or-so years of trial and error, Josema Odriozola and his team of engineers released the first images of their creation.
Of course, wavepools had been around for a long time, but so far, none of them had really measured up. The pool was just outside of Zarautz, deep in the Basque Country of Spain–a pond lined in black plastic churning out waist high, surfable waves. The potential was enough to capture the imaginations of surfers around the world. Now, five years later, the volume has been turned way, way up.
By now, everyone’s seen Kelly’s wave. The release video broke the internet and set the benchmark for what wavepools need to look like. But so far, it’s not available to the public, save for a few lucky winners. The WSL quickly opened up their wallet and bought the thing, presumably for the tour (not to toot my own horn, but a few days before that news broke, I called it).
American Wave Machines has been in the business of building waves for more than a decade. They’ve got facilities all over the world, mostly in the form of standing waves. Jamie O’Brien and Cheyne Magnusson recently stopped by the AMW shop to check out how it all works–although it is on a tiny scale. But if it’s possible to ramp this up to life size, American Wave Machines is going to be stiff competition for all other contenders. If everything goes as planned, look for the park to open in the summer of 2017.