21 Mar, 2017

Wavegarden Lagoon

21 Mar, 2017

Wavegarden was the first of the new breed of wave pool technologies to make an impact with their 2011 prototype. Their revolutionary hydrofoil concept used a moving energy source to create waves of any length without losing power or shape. Two commercial installations have been built in Wales and Texas. The wave quality is excellent, nearly identical to KSwaveco’s prototype but smaller in wave height and not as hollow.

The major issues with this technology are the wave frequency, power draw, and reliability. The wave frequency of 1.5-2/minute (1 right and 1 left created simultaneously on either side of the central pier) is much higher than most other technologies, but since this is the single biggest issue with wave pool profitability in general, there is still much room for improvement.

Wavegarden’s first commercial installation in Snowdonia, Wales

The drawback to the hydrofoil is that it causes a secondary wake that must dissipate before another wave can be pumped.(Higher frequency means higher capacity, higher revenue, and lower prices for guests.) Dragging a large hydrofoil on a track in 6+ feet of water requires a large amount of energy, and more importantly, the power draw profile has a major spike of over 2 MW to get the plow from static to moving, which not all power grids can handle. Lastly, the installations in Wales and Texas have both been shut down for repair several times during operation. The majority of the shut downs have been due to problems with the High Density Polyurethane liner and the filtration systems, which are outsourced components and not necessarily part of the proprietary technology, but the fact remains that the parks did have to shut down entirely. Despite these issues, Wavegarden’s Lagoon technology remains the only commercially successful wave pools suited for high performance surfing.

  • Wave generation style: Hydrofoil Displacement
  • Phase of Technology: Commercial
  • Quality of wave for surfing: Excellent
  • Frequency: 2/minute
  • Energy cost per wave: Unknown
  • Construction Cost: $10-15 million
  • Footprint: 5-10 acres
  • Projects: Surf Snowdonia (2013), Nland Surf (2016)
Wavegarden Lagoon at NLand Surf, Austin TX
Wavegarden Lagoon at Surf Snowdonia, Wales