The Wave Box? Another Attempt at Wave Pools

posted by / Video / September 9, 2009


Looks like the wave pool geeks are at it again. I thought the failure of Ron Jon Surf Parks in Orlando would be enough to scare away any other serious thought towards this type of thing, especially considering the current economic climate. I appear to be wrong as a group from New Zealand is trying to bring surfing indoors yet again.

It’s funny, because I recall the genius (sarcastic) who was developing the plan for the Orlando pool being from New Zealand. Problem was, he had no clue about anything to do with real surfing. So how would he understand how to make a fake wave attractive to real surfers? I’ve been over this previously here:

Are the same people behind this contraption? I sure hope not, but it’s possible.

Check the video out below and let us know if you think this thing has any kind of chance to actually work. Is the pool too narrow? Would you hit the walls? Would there be too much refraction and chop? Does the wave actually break or just move along as a rolling wall? I would suggest you turn your volume off while watching.


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  • too cool for skool

    nope. dont think it will work. the walls and no actual face are a big problem. what about the speed of the “swell”? will it catch up to the other? the refraction may mess up the timing of it. Lets get richard bronson in on a project like this. He has lots of loot and would probably digg putting together somthing like that. you need HUGE area to create something like a wave pool (one with a worth while wave at least). I think it could be done just need tons of time, input from experienced surfers, money and research. What the fuck is that thin in the middle? you really expect someone to just go straight? SCRAP this one. Start over. I have plans for one that i believe could work. any ideas on who to talk to?

  • Brett Barley

    …i didnt turn down my volume.

    AWSOMENESS all over the place with this video!!! ha

  • Matt Fisher

    Thank you for wasteing like 3 minutes of my life.

  • Ruddy

    Let’s go!!! Let’s go!!! – Will they play that song while I’m floating in my inner tube, and drinking Busch Light!! This pool sounds like the shit! Year around summer! – Let’s go!!!

  • Aussie

    Yea sick! im with Ruddy! We can just like gt barreled all day then get a brew at the bar with Fish! im smashed im smashed! Then we’ll hit up the pool again getting shacked on my innytube while shotgunin a natty light!

  • Andrew

    Are they too afraid to get a close up of the wave or what? Why don’t they show simulated surfing on this instead of two passes by the upstairs bar and .5 seconds of a kook starting up down the middle straightaway. If memory serves correct, this is the same wave type Slater and his Quik cronies are working on. I’d be willing to bet Slater’s is well worth it as he doesn’t like to part with money for nothing. but I can’t understand why someone would design a surfing pool and fail to show anyone surfing let alone the wave???

  • Luke

    Wont’ work, just waisting time and money !!! They should make an imitation of the Japan pool !!

  • ramboestrada

    Yep same guys that designed the Ron Jon park are involved with the wavebox. They designed the Mount Reef too, which also doesn’t work. (apparently there are 3 different companies that designed the 4 mentioned projects but they all seem to have the same company directors) I went past the wavebox site this week and was surprised to see they have actually started construction on this thing. I took a few photos of the site, I’ll post a link to them when I get them online.

    This is the website of the designers of the wavebox

    What is happening with the Ron Jon park? Any progress? These guys have so many unfinished projects on the go it’s not funny.

    Check out what the locals have to say about the Mount Reef

  • robc

    The backers / financiers of this doomed to failure project appear to be Meridian Energy (also Right House who are a subsiduary of Meridian). What I cant understand is how an energy company can be involved. Are they funding it with profits from energy consumers? If so, I for one would not want to be a Meridian consumer and find out that some of my energy bill is going towards such a farcical project – I would feel ripped off, we pay enough for energy – I guess thats how come they can do it. But whats their objective?

  • ramboestrada
  • Brian

    It will never work! Flush that one try again

  • Jw

    Interesting quote from the surfpools website “Uniquely supported by the Government of New Zealand”
    The lucky tax payer is funding the wave box design which no one even knows will actually work.

    I also drove past the site today and the building they have put up is pretty small considering it is going to be housing a wave pool. Time will tell I guess, but right now it doesn’t look good.

  • tommya

    looks like something that was made on blue peter, bit like tracey island of thunderbirds will never work.

  • Surf Dude

    Too bad Jimmy Wilson is a punk and doesn’t have the first clue about investigative journalism. Or else, he would know a bit more about Orlando and why things turned out the way they did. I ask: what really happened there? I’ll bet he doesn’t know. Maybe he’ll man up and have the balls to do a real follow-on piece instead of call bullshit on something else he clearly doesn’t understand. Or maybe he should just stick to photography?

    Pretty a-typical that Surfing Magazine would follow Wilson’s lead with a Stab magazine style shock-journaljizzum approach. It’s a lot easier to be a pessimist and call bullshit than coming up with real ideas on how to improve the lives of every surfer. This is the hard road, and you have to realize that and give it all context in the grand scheme. I find it ironic that a Surfing magazine, a place we look to for insight and depth, would be so myopic on this topic.

    Somewhere, Evan Slater is cringing. Please, get the facts straight, and then report back.

  • speaks4itself

    oooooooooh , someones touchy about something. Only a vested interest could be so touched by a bit of blast by critics saying what they see?

  • Surf Dude

    Damn right I’m touchy…about the 1/16-baked “story”. Opinion is great, but if you’re looking through 100% feces-covered (or 100% rose-colored) goggles all the time, it’s not journalism, but simply bias. There’s more out there to this, but I understand if the ad magazine machine doesn’t have the time or budget to dig it up. Being a skeptic is way easier. And perhaps being a very loud naysayer brings more hits to your blog post!

    And I don’t have one dollar invested in wave box or other technologies. Has there been wild success? Absolutely not. I am just stoked on the idea that different people keep coming up with new ideas and giving it a go. I think that should be commended as well as scrutinized. It’s a learning opportunity; we just might benefit one day if people and media focus on the positives as much as the negatives with wave tech.

    Put simply, a more in-depth, balanced approach might just be what your readers are looking for.

  • speaks4hismoneylost

    too fervent to be unattached and unbiased. You only get this way when you lose something – i’m seeing that is very obvious in your attitude. play straight and you wont lose again.” And I don’t have one dollar invested in wave box or other technologies.” -its more than obvous that you did! PS give up poker,

  • limelight junkies

    yes, they loved it when they were in the lighlight soaking it all up.

    All based on them feeding the willing frenzy with drivel about total knowledge, understanding and capability.

    Now they stand out like the proverbial … cut tall poppies.

    It was growth based on acedemic maipulative steroids , unnatural, unsustainable and maybe even untoward.

    Ummm let me correct that .. in most peoples opinions untoward.

    They have made their bed now they have to lay in it.

    Bit sad really -all because of two narcissictic personalities.

    I’m actually feeling a bit of empathy as to where they have led themselves .. but thats me and I havent suffered financialy at their hands ..or should I say minds?

  • Surf Dude

    speaks4hismoneylost – bro, I’ll never give up poker, and I am telling you, in black and white…strike me down, my two little girls, my wife, and my family if I’m lying: I didn’t lose any jack in this game. ZERO.

    It’s good to call out failure. Will the dubious wave box work? I mean, their site, vacant of any real content, still asks for visitors to register for a contest that ended back in…April? Progress not looking good.

    My challenge is about wave box, wave ring, or whatever new idea, it’s bigger than that. The question I have is…as an ever-growing surfer populace, what are we supposed to do? Move to Alaska? Give me something to hang my hopes on at least…

  • speaks4hismoneylost

    Dont get hooked by the first “get rich scheme” or “get endless surf “scheme that some smart-arse thinks of . (usually very lucrative for the promoter)

    Usually if it is too good to be true -yes it is!!

    Hopes -well like its always been the swell, the banks and the wind – all have been fruitfull in the past and will continue to be.

    If you want artificial – take drugs!

    ever growing poplace just means we learn to get on and share -like everything else that gets a lot of users!

    So far its been all take and no share, even the suppossed results havent happened to give the sufers a share back. Nah everyones done with false promises. everyone.

    See when you screw too many people over with false promises and no delivery -you run out of people who will get sucked in and trust you .

    A good session with a few friends will always be cool in real circumstances.

    Trouble has been people taking a lot of money on the basis of providing value for that money. The sucess hasnt been happening consistantly and too many times. So they are black-listed from normal trusted business!

    Everyones done with that crap!

    Its just over big time for those guys.

    Only because they , no-one else -blew it!

    most failed and infamous thing in surfing history !!

  • when?

    ok its later in the year?
    wheres the updates?
    I suppose the global financial crisis will get demonised now?
    “the bankers stole our waves?”
    guess what bankers back winners -no excuse!

  • ham

    I live in this area and this has been talked about for quite some time but is still relatively unknown to the majority of people. Just to clear up that the wave system here apparently is continuous so it requires less space than a conventional wave pool as it travels in a loop-like fashion, with the exception of the centre pool which is to be used as a practice pool.

    About ten mins drive north another group has built an indoor snow arena which hasnt been hugely sucessful and remains partly unfinished but sufficent and over-priced.

    The site chosen for this project is in a established industrial park close to nearby surf factory shops and Ripcurl New Zealand head offices. So it should fit in suitably with the surrounding area, the place itself is actaully difficult to find despite its close proximity to the northern motorway.

    The question I ask is, who would want to spend their time and money on surfing inside a box when New Zealand has such a vast selection of beautiful surfing beaches so close by?

    The location of the place if you want to know (Google Earth) is below

    29 Arrenway Drive
    North Shore City, Auckland 0632

  • tm

    take a look at the new website: model wave open to public dec for viewing. i heard the ad on the radio today- sounds like its happening pretty soon and looks like it’ll be swt when thers no waves

  • nz booger

    yea its open next week. i wouldnt bother myself, just come down to the catlins in new zealand and get sickest, uncrowded waves around

  • tm

    don’t bother then, but there’s thousands going i heard so i’m gonna be there

  • Brett

    Went to the public opening tonight. Was very dissapointed as they advertised the opening as sold out and they were putting on a surf show and light drinks. Get there and the place is still under construction. They are building the proto type to see if it works then remove it and build bigger. I think it is fantastic that they are doing this project and wish them luck! However the night was a massive flop with only a few Punters turning up and I felt it wasn’t worth the drive. When it’s all up and running I think it will be awesome!!

  • macmuddy

    we got notified via email that it had been postponed. thought it was swt that they let us know. problems with pumps i heard?

  • Brett

    Well pumps is what they told us. The pool was still under construction and osh would have had a field day. We got no email and the more I think about it the more I believe that they are going to need alot of help to remain open

  • Pessa

    Yep they blame the pump, they said the price sky rocketted, but, I am sure that they must have known the price of the pump, before “D-DAY”. Now they say that they are building their own pump? Like Brett says, it looked like the whole thing was under construction.

    Now when you go on their website, they are asking people for money, based on a really dodgy looking share agreement. Looks to me like they are having serious money issues.

    I was trying to stay optimistic about this thing, but I am not sure anymore.
    I just wonder if its going to get off the ground.

  • Ignoranceisbliss

    First off Florida and a number of problems. First with the destruction of the full scale version of Ed’s Reef. Didn’t figure man made waves would destroy it. It was destroyed. Then the moronic decision to expand the pools followed by cracks etc etc. Not to mention the soured surf industry who’s opinion changed dramatically at the signs of failure and neverended story after pumping millions of dollars into the project itself. Pumps can be replaced. Don’t take THAT bad business and stigmatize every effort. If you guys search the Ocean Dome on Youtube you’ll see that a successfull full scale pool was built in Japan and opened in 1992. It’s not rocket science anymore. If any critic at least researches about 10% of real data on wave pools both successes and failures you’d have a more open mind. The available applications that are coming to fruition will open eyes and be appreciated.
    I also feel that this bit of hack journalism is amatuer and irrisponsible. If you can’t get it right, don’t offer it. The funny thing is that all of the surf media hopped on Lockefelds dick with the Waveloch. Granted, that’s a sheet wave BUT you still hopped on the bandwagon. 5 minute attention span.

  • Pessa

    I went to see their trial showing of this the other day.
    It didnt look too good. Albeit was only a 1/3 size scale. But I dont think something that 3 times the size of what I saw is going to be any good. It will be 3 times as much chop and just whitewater.
    It looked like a giant spa pool, with a noise that would turn you insane within minutes.
    I hope they are able to limit the noise somehow, otherwise I think it will scare small children.

    As I suspected, it looks like they have run out of money and are fishing for investors to keep them from going under.

    FYI Ignoranceisbliss – The oceandome wasnt successfull as you say. If it was successfull, it would still be open. It was a failure as it cost too much to run. The wave might have worked, but over all it failed.

  • when?

    bit sad that these guys got sucked in by some earlier crap promoters, by the time they realised they were being had it was all to late and they were commited – trouble is its all R&D and that is never 100% certain.
    i feel sorry for the guys who rally are another victem of the people who sold them the vision in the first place.

  • Mike

    Attn Ron Jon wavepool builders. Use Ocean Dome Japan, bigger version, end of story! Dont worry about cost per wave, guys in florida are starving dogs and will pay whatever…………………

  • Nails

    WICKED!!! now I can play banjo and play poker at the same time.. my dream ha come true…thnkx

  • Sam Peters

    Why do people always get so angry online… They don’t do it face to face
    I think you guys should all just skinny dip in a wave pool and love each other.

  • ignoranceisbliss

    Pessa, not successful? Did you look into Ocean Dome at all? FYI; It was open for 14 years and the Sheraton opted for re-branding. That would be based on shareholders decisions.

    The Ocean Dome would not be feasible due to operational costs alone. When they closed cost to produce one wave was $7.

  • {Klamki|Klamki Drzwiowe|Klamki Dodrzwi|Klamki Click|Kliknij klamki}

    Nice work, klamki.

  • whocares

    Wow 7 bucks a wave, that is alot. who’s gonna pay $100 for 10 waves in this economy? I guess thats the only thing, is the price. But snowboarding and golf are expensive and they function. obviously ocean dome has done it. finally a surfable wave indoors. it can be done, the technology is finally there. its just money that is holding us back. cause the demand is there. i dont know? but we gotta figure this out before i die, cause it would be a dream come true.

    i think if we used nuclear power maybe it would bring the cost down, and drop the bullshit beach bars, and water park mentality just until we get it up and running. just the basics

    any help would be greatly appreciated. who built ocean dome?

    what would it cost to operate per year? cause maybe we could privately make it as a country club first.

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  • greatpretender

    I work across road from wave box and as I type they are craning in a massive pump, so obviously they have again got finance and giving it another go! Saw the first one go in and this one is much bigger. After seeing building abandoned and open for last few months it will be interesting to see if it ends up a ghost town yet again

  • Matt

    Lame and unrealistic. Maybe if you never surfed you would
    try it out, start hanging posters on yoru wall and then call
    yourself a surfer. Someone make something real, please.

  • ric chan

    I have it from a covert operative who was in libya last week to oversee the invasion by cane toads, that the wave box could be open on or around the 1st march.

    There could be 2 waves there (rather than the failed ASR sales job of a elliptical ride), a sheer drop and a few other attractions.

    Theres gonna be food, and hopefully some hot looking babes to serve em.

    I take my hat off to jared for givinitago. Itsa lot more than the keybroad clones can do.

    I cant wait to givitago!

    I hear it could cost $7 for half an hour. I hope my operative is close to accurate. If it all works, I’ll go down there and shoot some shot of me hanging 12 (i have a freak foot).


  • Brody

    Hey Ric, can you ask Jared for our money please? Thanks.

  • Ryan

    im excited for it to work, hope its not too pricey does anyone know how much it will cost ?

  • Operative?

    Hey Ric,

    Looks like your Libyan operative could have smoked too much opium on his way from Afghanistan.
    March first is long gone…. and its STILL not open

  • Keepingthefaith

    It’s all up and running now, the design has changed pretty radically from the prosposed plans in the video but it’s pretty cool. They’ve got the facilities to run 2 waves like the wavehouse bar in Cali but only one is running at the mo and even then it’s a bit patu… Think that’s something to do with a lack of power as they are running it off Geni’s I think. All has the potential to get better and it’s a good dose of fun at a reasonable price… I’ve got nothing invested in it apart from the fact that I’m a local and it’s good fun.

  • buzz buzz

    I work on the flow rider in Australia and had some Kiwi kids come over and ride They Picked it up a lot faster then most and had only evey done the wave box in NZ once I think u all need a flowrida but for now that seems fine

  • Soya

    i Believes its one of those “Fake Wave” machines, or a few of them they intend to have anyway. You see om youtube and stuff around the world, and at aquatic parks overseas. Just produce a fake wave you can surf on none of this South Auckland wave pool stuff LOL.