Kelly Slater’s Perfect Wave
Finally, a wave park with a barrel
Creating artificial barrel waves has been in the pipeline (Sorry I couldn't help myself) for a few years now. One of the key figures in this research is a guy called Greg Webber who has been working on an idea since at least 2004. His company, Liquid Time, has lodged some key barrel related patents.
Slater has also been working on this concept, initially making a barrel related patent application in 2008. However this was rejected as the concepts were “anticipated by Webber. But Slater has clearly has been pretty busy since then, as a bunch of new patents and this video attests. Interestingly it was reported in the Australian that Weber had seen Slater’s video and he was currently talking with his lawyers.
The last few years have seen the construction of a number of wave pools. One of the more spectacular is Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates. But most of these recently constructed pools generate a single, short lived wave via a massive release of water through a gate. An eight second ride, six surfer at a time, once every minute seems a bit restrictive.
Webber's idea of 10 simultaneous endless waves, generating 600 ride seconds per minute should not be discounted. However until we know more about Slater's wave the jury is out, possibly in more ways than one. Slater may have cracked it, or it might have simply taken the existing wave pool approach to a more sophisticated level. Time will tell.
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