Monday, December 14, 2015

Sea-less Surfing



Technology is always evolving; we see it in our smartphones, our electric cars, and our tablet laptop hybrid concoctions. But it's not just our cool toys that are developing technologically, our environment is too. Large ponds that are actually wave pools are popping up with man-made waves big enough to surf. This advancement will not only change the rules of the surf, but could go on to change the Olympics in time for Tokyo in 2020. 

There are three important positions that can be taken when exploring this new trend - technological, business, and the surfer. 
Wave pools are a popular attraction at many theme parks and have been for many years. However, now there is the capability of creating actual ocean-like waves, with no time for flat-spells, constantly and consistently - two things you're not likely to get in the real ocean. Each wave only takes about 90 seconds, so there's plenty of time for plenty of rides. Four major technology companies in this area currently are set to compete for head title of this new sensation within the next two years. Surf Snowdonia and Wavegarden currently lead the pack. 
In August, Surf Snowdonia opened to the public bringing about the reality of this being a serious business venture. They almost reached their maximum capacity every day it was opened for the first two weeks. Drawing in $30-70 a surfer, it shouldn't take long to profit off of the $7 million expense to build the creation. Once they perfect the barrel wave technology, profits and customers will only increase. Another park is planned to open next year in Austin, Texas. 
This idea definitely draws in surfing fans from around the world. It' a great way to learn how to surf for beginners, yet provides constant waves for pros. However, it isn't the ocean. It lacks the saltiness of the sea, the marine life, and the overall depth and danger associated with riding a huge wave in the middle of the ocean, far from land. Paul Evans, editor of Surf Europe Magazine, for example, is not at all excited about the idea of a perfect wave pool. 

What Evans and the article seem to overlook is the fact this could very well be game changing for the world's view on surfing as a sport, as well as giving new hope to land-locked people. With this technology, waves are always available, making it now eligible to be an Olympic sport. People who have always wanted to try to surf yet live nowhere near the water's edge now have the opportunity to learn and try to surf, almost quite literally in their own backyard. This technology has opened up the world of surfing to the entire world. 


Wave creating and wave riding technology has been previously introduced by many parks, but neither have quite perfected it. Thanks to Wavegarden and Surf Snowdonia, we are closer than ever before.


*This post was originally published on my Info System class's blog

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