Surfing like a boss

Given the right waves, everyone can learn how to surf. Or so says Dr. Steven Schmied, who works on a surf pool and who just defended his thesis on this topic.

How thrilling it is to catch a wave and play tricks on it, to ride through the barrel and then get on top of the wave right before it plunges? Sadly only the lucky few experience this regularly. Good surfing spots are crowded with thrill seekers who make way hastily each time a great swell comes by because some other experienced surf dude caught the wave first.

“You see the same people catch the waves again and again. Usually young fit guys”, says 42-year-old Steven Schmied, an Australian surf passionate and wave researcher of the University of Tasmania.

Not only is the situation extremely frustrating, the circumstances also make it very hard to improve one’s skills. But Schmied and his colleague, surf board designer Greg Webber and founder of the company Webber Wave Pools, believe they have the solution at hand. They designed a surfable waves generating pool.

This week (Janurary 29 2014) Schmied defended his thesis about this topic at the MMME faculty. For the simulations, calculations, experiments and the devise of a demonstration model he received help from TU Delft experts in waves and ship hydromechanics including prof. René Huijsmans and prof. Marcel Stive.

The two Australians plan to make annular wave pools in which several pressure sources, resembling parts of ship hulls, are dragged through the water thereby creating waves that propagate inwards. A sloping bathymetry (beach) triggers these waves to break. By adjusting parameters, such a speed of the pressure source and the slope of the beach, waves suitable for beginners to experts can be produced. And not just one or two, but a dozen simultaneously.

In 2006 two Delft hydraulic engineering students, Matthieu de Schipper and Sierd de Vries, did preliminary research on the feasibility of Webbers wave pool concept and concluded that it was promising. Already at that time talks were that developers were keen to invest. That hasn’t happened so far though.

Schmied says that he has high hopes a pool will be built the coming years in Queensland as part of a large real estate project, which will amongst others also include a golf course and water-ski lake. “Investors have shown great interest. At this stage we have to wait for the municipality to give their approval.”

If built, this pool will have a diameter of two hundred meters and a forty meter broad channel. “And what is really great about it as well is that the island can fit thirty houses. Just imagine living there.”


Editor Redactie

Do you have a question or comment about this article?

Comments are closed.