Surfing in the Round

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Surf's always up in Australia β€” at least it is in the coastal town of Yeppon in central Queensland. That's where Surf Lakes International debuted the world's largest and arguably most innovative wave pool. Once considered a novelty in the surfing community (putting it politely) Surf Lakes has taken the concept of a wave pool to an entirely new level that is grabbing attention amongst the global surfing community.

The company hopes the system will ultimately expand the sport of surfing to inland regions regions throughout the world, in a safer, more consumer friendly setting, which also comes closer to creating the real thing than any wave-making system thus far.

The system uses a revolutionary 360-degree design to create surfable barrel waves of varying sizes, shapes and speed. Unlike other wave-generating systems where the wave-making mechanism is hidden behind walls or underwater, the Surf Lakes system is front and center. In fact, it's both truly massive and wildly dramatic, if not a little bit scary. At the center of the lake, a gargantuan 1,400-ton plunger-shaped weight is lifted high above the water using steam and then dropped from adjustable heights, generating the waves in a circular pattern. It's similar to plopping a pebble in a pond, but on a much larger scale.

RELATED: Making the Perfect Wave

The massive displacement creates pressure that generates powerful waves over a precisely contoured bottom, which in turn creates the different breaks. The system generates five distinct wave types, each with appealing characteristics for surfers at varying skill levels, from elite to beginner. Among the designed waves are barrels, heavy slabs and mellow beach breaks. The perfectly timed and shaped waves offer an enticing alternative to unpredictable natural waves and offer a vast improvement over the uniform waves and confined spaces of traditional rectangular wave pools.

"We have eight breaks, so when we run six waves per set, this gives 48 rides per set, so running 50 sets per hour gives 2400 rides, plus learner breaks and shore breaks," says Aaron Trevis, the mastermind behind Surf Lakes. "Operators can dial up a range of productivity options to suit the crowd, as well as run swell sizes to match the customer needs. For example, If they have a lake full of primary school children, there is no point running 8-foot barrels."

Suffice to say, this wave pool is totally tubular, mate. Kowabunga!

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