21 Mar, 2017


21 Mar, 2017

You could argue that Tom Lochtefeld is the father of artificial wave technology. His Flowrider tech debuted in 1991, and has gone on to see over 100 installations world wide. He also started the Wavehouse brand, which has proven the ‘surfing as a visual anchor’ business model for food and beverage. It has been a huge success for his company, but largely ignored by the surf world since it doesn’t feel like surfing a real wave, and as a surfer himself, Tom has had his sights set on creating real surfable waves ever since. His surf pools have a promising design concept that use a pneumatic air plunging system, but have failed to find the financial backing to build a full size version. The design involves a system of reefs that create hollow lefts and rights that reform into inside reefs, recycling the energy to maximize capacity. Wavegarden did a similar thing with their ‘bays’, which utilize the leftover wave energy from their ‘reef’ sections to create beginner waves. Increasing capacity and catering to a wider skill level of surfer, makes this concept quite important to profitability. If their projections are correct, the pool could produce waves 2-10 feet in height with one every ten seconds, which if true would make them extremely profitable.

The city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands has reportedly partnered with Waveloch to build his wave pool into their existing canal system. This very ambitious project was supposed to begin construction last August, but no new news reports have surfaced.

Also, Tom has been messing around with a hydrofoil-boat concept that would turn any body of water into an endless wave pool. No news on that yet either.

  • Wave generation style: Pneumatic Displacement
  • Phase of Technology: Concept
  • Quality of wave for surfing: Unknown
  • Frequency: Unknown
  • Energy cost per wave: Unknown
  • Construction Cost: Unknown
  • Footprint: 1-4 acres
  • Projects: Rotterdam (2017)
Proposed project in the canals of Rotterdam
More of Tom’s ideas in action