A wave constantly breaking the whole time

March 3, 2011 | Surfing
Wavegarden: truly incredible

The Wavegarden offices have been very busy in the past month. The artificial wave project has been unveiled to the world, and thousands of media and business requests reach the headquarters of surfing's next big thing.

Creating artificial waves for surfers is not new. There are dozens of wave pools in several countries, but Wavegarden goes further.

SurferToday.com had the privilege to exchange a few words with Josema Odriozola, co-founder and technical director of Wavegarden. The next wave prototype is a work in progress.

Where was installed the first surfable prototype of Wavegarden?
The first, and only one so far, prototype of Wavegarden is in our facilities near Zarautz, in the Basque Country, North of Spain.

For how long did you fine-tune the project until near-perfection waves?
Ten years since we started and six years full-time.

What is the average period of the waves?
In our next prototype, there will be a wave constantly breaking the whole time.

Can you tune the speed of the ride?
The speed of the wave is 6m/s. Having said that, you can adjust it a little bit to make a particular section faster or slower and add an element of variety to your ride.

What are the differences between delivering small and shoulder-high waves?
Technology doesn’t limit the wave size; profitability does because the bigger the wave, the more energy it needs, and so the harder it is to be profitable.

Keeping this in mind right now, we recommend waves between waist and head high. Waves bigger than that will make it very difficult for the facility to be profitable on the surfing only.

Obviously, if the business plan of the investor is not centered around surfing but around plenty of other related businesses (hospitality, surf shop, etc.), then they probably can afford a bigger wave.

We think it’s basic that we focus on the wave’s quality. To have a proper wave that takes you and peels non-stop, size will not be so important. We’ve focused on that for a long time, and we haven’t finished yet.

Where is Wavegarden going to be installed in the next months?
Since we’ve launched, we’ve received interest from investors from all over the world. Who will be the first is hard to know right now.

What is the minimum investment required to get a good wave park?
The starting price is around 2-3 million euros.

How do you intend to spread the installation of Wavegarden?
As we’ve said, we’ve received a lot of interest from all over the world. Now it’s up to us to approach the interested parties and be able to fulfill their expectations.

We are not going to run any Wavegardens ourselves. We are a technological company, and our business is to sell the installations with our technology, but not to run them ourselves. That is up to investors, private and public.

What can be improved in the wave model?
You’ll see it in a few months when we launch our next prototype. Keep an eye on our website.

What are the first impressions you’ve got from surfers?
I think the reaction of Jordy Smith in the video of the O’Neill team when he sees the very first wave says it all. Amazing!

Read the original story behind Wavegarden.