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An artificial wave pool is a type of pool that creates waves that can be surfed upon like normal ocean waves. It is therefore an alternative to "natural" (ocean) surfing.

Contents

History

Most surf spots are often crowded, even when the surf is poor quality. The first man made wave was created to overcome the obstacles of crowds, cold water temperatures, and substandard conditions. Before there was an official artificial wave pool park, surfers would dig into a sand bar on the beach that faced the water on two opposing sides. They would dig a hole with one side higher than the other, then let the water through creating a rush of water over the sand. The swift flow of water allows the surfer to ride it similarly to a natural wave. This improvised artificial wave can be seen in the movie "The Endless Summer II".

Designs

The designs have gone from the classic sandbar design to many other techniques used today. There still are artificial wave designs similar to the sandbar design and it is used in many areas around the world. One simple way uses wind; a high powered fan that blows into a pipe which regulates the air flow by means of a butterfly valve. When opened the air flows through the pipe and out the exhaust port which is aimed downward on the water. This gust of wind pushes the water creating a wave. [1] Another design is slightly similar but more effective because it produces a stronger subsurface current. A large water reservoir is filled and at the bottom there is a valve that opens the reservoir, releasing the water into the pool. This rush creates a current under the water and with the addition of an artificial or imitation reef, a natural-seeming wave is created. [2][3]

Technology

There are very simple principles behind wave generators. In almost all designs a hydraulic pump is used to open and shut the valves. In the wind based wave maker, the most complex piece of technology is the high speed fan that pushes the surface of the water creating the wave. In the wave generator with a water reservoir however, slightly more technical elements are used. The water pump pulls up water and drops it into the reservoir. The valve is opened with a hydraulic pump and is swung on a pivot using a weight at the bottom to help keep the valve closed. There is no high tech component in the design of artificial wave generator. The computer that controls the machine however is very elaborate. It keeps track of the entire system (valves, water level, water pressure, etc.) in order to ensure safe performance.

Artificial vs. Natural

Artificial waves are very similar to ocean waves in the sense of the ride. Wave pools also have the benefit of having heated water and constant oversight by lifeguards.

References

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