As far as “surfable” commercial wave pools go, Murphy’s Waves is currently the industry leader with three or more, depending on your definition of “surfable”. The Scottish company installed their first pool in 1989 at Disneyworld, and have since built pools in Tenerife, Las Vegas, Al Ain, and more. Much like ADG, Murphys specializes in a wide range of waterpark installations, and surfable waves is not their only focus. Their technology uses a series of raised chambers that are pumped with water and then use gravity to force the water back into the pool, displacing enough to create a wave.
Their issues in terms of surf park profitability are: wave quality, wave frequency, and costs. The technology is capable of creating quite large waves but the shape of the lagoon and angle of the waves mean the wave energy deteriorates very quickly, making the waves short and somewhat difficult for high performance surfing. They do, however, have some variability with the timing of their chambers, meaning they can make a right, a left, an A-frame, or a closeout barrel. The disturbance caused by the chambers and the vertical walls surrounding most of the lagoon creates a lot of backwash that must settle before another wave can be pumped, which takes about 5 minutes or more. If Murphy’s were able to tweak their design in terms of wave quality (possibly adding a ‘Reef’ or bottom contours) and use backwash dampening systems to increase wave frequency, they could greatly increase their profitability. Somewhat recent quotes by Douglas Murphy suggest that they are doing just that.
One of the most stunning surf short films of the last decade was Globe’s Electric Blue Heaven, which saw Dion Agius surfing the Wadi Adventure pool just after it opened, complete with a dozen Russian models and a yellow Lamborghini. The sheer visual impact of the crystal clear water and the desert landscape (and the models) was breathtaking. A handful of subsequent video clips would further confirm that this was Murphy’s best wave pool for surfing to date. Several regional surf events and Standup Paddleboard World Tour event have been held at the facility as well.