Surf Forever in Kelly Slater's Donut Pool

No more waiting for gnarly waves! Eleven-time surfing world champion Kelly Slater wants to build a donut-shaped pool that lets you surf forever.

From My Modern Met:

Slater has been working on this project for a few years with existing technology, seeking to perfect an infinite wave simulation. The innovative surfer-turned-entrepreneur has worked with skilled hydromechanics and industrial engineers to construct this hydrofoil-generated mechanism to produce a variety of swells to accommodate a diverse community of surfers, from beginners to experts. The pool is said to have the capability of adjusting to skill levels as well as maintaining flow control. While the exact location of the first park is still in talks, Australia seems to be the most likely candidate for its public introduction.

But how would such a pool work? Mark Anders of Popular Science explains:

Waves form at the outer edge of the five-million gallon circular tank and break as they run up the pool floor, which mimics the seabed as it approaches shore. The pools may appear in such locations as resorts and theme parks, and can be scaled up or down to cater to available space.But how will the park create these waves?

In nature, wind gusts far offshore form ripples on the ocean surface. As they move toward shore, those small ripples merge into larger ones and grow into waves. To simulate that in a small area, the wave park’s designers use curved hyrdrofoils of at least 100 feet long, which rotate behind a protective fence around the pool’s perimeter and push the water toward the center of the tank. Their tapered shape creates a smooth, rolling current that flows around the approximately 0.35-mile loop. Adjusting the speed of the foils helps change the waves’ height from three-foot rollers to eight-foot barrels.

As the current travels, it hits the upward-sloping floor. The change in depth agitates the water into a swell, where it breaks into ocean-like crests that surfers who have paddled out can catch.

Link: Kelly Slater Wave Co. official website

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