Guest Blog Post from Surf Lakes:
We get a lot of requests from people asking if they can come to Surf Lakes. Our motto is ‘Everyone Gets a Break’ after all. We’d love to open the gates, but the current Yeppoon Surf Lake is an R&D facility built on a bare bones budget designed to prove the concept. It’s done that, but it’s also passed its anticipated lifespan and needs rebuilding. So, it does not have the infrastructure to host the public yet.
As an Aussie start-up that has developed a new technology, we’ve been in the public eye for years due to the need for funding and investment.
The next question is, when will you open? (Usually with a few frustrated expletives thrown in). We get it. You’ve been waiting for years, watching these great waves get ridden by pros and celebrities. These guys are necessary for feedback on the wave quality and publicity. Our circumstances have dictated that we keep it exclusive to this stage, but the plan is to get everyone affordably stoked.
So, when will the gates open?
The goal is 2024. Once we have a shovel in the ground, we can give more specific timelines. With multiple Surf Lakes set to commence construction in 2023, the race is on to see who opens first. The commercial site will have clean blue water, 2000+ waves per hour, retail and food and beverage to cater to visitors, and no booming noise or misty vapour hampering your visit. We have completed our new commercial design and have reputable construction partners ready to build in Australia and the USA. Now, all we need are our partners and licensees to get the facilities prepared for construction to commence.
Other parks are open, why aren’t you?
A few wave techs were lucky enough to get parks open before COVID hit. Others are open but are expensive. Some are in development. All the while, our progress has been steady with an incredibly exciting outlook. Surf Lakes will have a global footprint very soon. Once gates open at our first site, you can expect a domino effect in many regions. To see where, check out our Project Pipeline here.
The Future of Surf Lakes
Now that we’ve cleared that type of air let’s look at the physical changes coming to Surf Lakes sites. We want to make it very clear that the Yeppoon prototype does not represent commercial Surf Lakes, and all future locations will not feature a thundering rust bucket churning out chocolate barrels.
While everyone seems to love the Mad Max vibe, it’s not the prettiest, cleanest looking machine. During Research & Development, we’ve found all the pain points this technology offered and made the necessary adjustments. We have an incredibly diligent engineering team who have problem-solved those issues to refine the technology.
As a result, all commercial models will have the following features:
- Sound attenuation. That booming noise from the compressed air will be reduced significantly, so you won’t have to talk over it from the shoreline.
- Vapour attenuation. Water vapour that plumes after each pulse will also be reduced so barely any escapes from the caisson. For the record, that stuff is compressed air, not pollution.
- Triple modular redundancy: Meaning sensors and other relevant elements are built with a backup and a backup for the backup. If one goes down, maintenance can be performed without stopping the waves. While we’re on the topic of maintenance, all of our routine maintenance is done on dry land, avoiding any in-water maintenance.
- A shortened connecting rod. Because we, ah, broke the original one. Shorter = stronger.
- Increased output. With electric compressors five times more powerful than the current Yeppoon site, these off the shelf compressors (from reputable brands like Siemens, Atlas Copco, and Ingersoll Rand) will allow us to pump out 2000+ waves per hour. These off the shelf air compressors are the heart of the machine. Positioned on shore and designed to run with an amazing track record of reliability. Having so much power on tap means only 90 seconds between 5 wave sets, so you’ll barely have time to catch your breath before you’re back in the barrel.
- A stronger, more durable lakebed that is non-abrasive and slip resistant. This will stop any cracks forming (avoiding the brown water in some clips at the Yeppoon site). Each site will have crystal clear, blue water.
- Speaking of water quality, a continuous “live” water quality monitoring program combined with automated treatment systems will ensure regulatory compliance for the facility operators. An ultra-filtration and disinfection treatment process will ensure high quality treated water equivalent to commercial aquatic facilities. Additionally, our world leading CFD (Computer Fluid Dynamic) modelling means we can model the most efficient mixing of the water around the whole lake for the most efficient water treatment solution.
- Stronger materials like commercial grade steel and concrete with known load capacities will ensure a lifetime of 25+ years of operation (10s of millions of cycles).
- The ability to run on 100% electricity means each site can be powered by renewables. Surf Lakes will work with each site to achieve STOKE certification to meet the sustainability requirements from the industry leader in this area.
We’re not stopping there. R&D continues with other projects we’ve already set our sights on. Currently our machine has been operating at a stroke height (distance the plunger moves up and down) of around 4 metres. We have tested up to 4.9m with phenomenal results, but the machine can operate at a 5.5m stroke height. As a result, most of the content you’ve seen is from Surf Lakes, running at 2/3 of its potential. Whether that increase in stroke height makes the waves bigger, wider, or thicker is yet to be seen. We believe it’ll be a combination of all three.
Then there’s the XXL model. While still in a conceptual state, Surf Lake CEO Aaron Trevis and Lead Mechanical Engineer & Co-inventor of the machine, Kit Sidwell, have run the modelling and believe there is every chance a version of this technology can produce 15ft faces (given the resources).
While Surf Lakes might be fashionably late to the wave pool party, there’s now a lot of confidence around the quality and experience offered by this product. With such a high output of waves / throughput of surfers, the revenue generation and commercial potential make this technology a powerful contender in the industry. In fact, based on current numbers in the market, Surf Lakes can produce more chest to head high waves in an hour than our top 5 competitors combined.
This allows for a lot of margin in pricing and almost guarantees there will be sessions available for all levels. It might have taken longer than expected, but we’re confident it’ll be worth the wait.