Professional Surfers Test World-First Technology At Wave Pool In Central Queensland

MEDIA SOURCE: ABC News

In a paddock in Central Queensland, professional surfers and bodyboarders have spent the past two weeks training at a world-first wave pool prototype.

The Surf Lakes pool, half-way between Rockhampton and Yeppoon, generates five different types of waves for surfers of varying abilities and is designed to produce over 2,000 waves an hour.

The machine-made peaks are the result of new technology on display at the site and it has the pros excited.

World Champion Mark Occhilupo is an ambassador for the pool.

A man surfs in the barrel of a large wave in a wave pool

“The wave has a lot of power, it’s not a long wave, it’s got a lot of different kind of waves which can accommodate more people at all levels.

“I’ve always dreamed of having one since I was a kid and never thought it would happen.

“Now I’ve got one and there’s one wave that’s named after me.”

A man surfs on a large wave

Macy Callaghan is a professional surfer on the championship tour who travelled from the Gold Coast to test the waves.

She said it was exciting to have a site like this in Australia, especially for use as a training tool.

“I think the majority of the surfers really like it cause we can keep practicing something.

“We get it every single time the same so it’s a lot easier to learn new tricks and do things over and over again.”

A woman with blonde long hair wears a wetsuit and holds a surfboard on the beach of a wave pool

NOT JUST FOR THE PROS

The pool operates through a large device that sits in the middle of the lake.

The device bobs up and down and creates swells that fan out and react with artificial reefs around it to create different shaped waves.

Surf Lakes’ Wayne Dart said those waves catered to surfers of all different abilities.

“We have five different levels — hence the name, [of the technology] 5 Waves,” he said.

Waves break at a wave pool with palm trees and a mountain surrounding it.

The project had been 10 years in the making and Mr Dart said it came about when the founder and chief executive was throwing rocks in the water with his children.

“As he saw the little waves fanning off around the rocks as they splashed into the water, he was thinking, ‘How big a rock do I have to throw in to create waves that surf or are surfable?’,” he said said.

“This is what has been created as result of that.”

Waves crash into the shore of a wave pool as a surfer rides a wave.

ALTERNATIVE TO THE OCEAN, BUT NOT A REPLACEMENT

Occhilupo said wave pools like this would never replace the ocean, but they were a good alternative for those who could not access it or were frightened of the real deal.

“It will never replace the ocean but to even the crowds out and to work on your technique, it’s a must-have.”

Mr Dart said it was about bringing the ocean experience to people who had never experienced it.

“We’re sharing the thrill of surfing with people who can’t get to the ocean,” he said.

Waves crash into the shore of a wave pool, a woman surfs on one of waves sending spray off the back of the wave.
Pro surfer Macy Callaghan sends spray off the back of a wave at one of the five breaks.(ABC News: Rachel McGhee)

HOPES TO OPEN YEPPOON SITE TO THE PUBLIC

The facility in Central Queensland is a prototype designed for research and development.

“We’ve sold two [licences] at the moment which are in the US … there will be two sites here in Australia,” Mr Dart said.

“We’re hoping at some stage to upgrade this facility here at Yeppoon so it is open to the public.

SUSTAINABLE SURFBOARDS ON TRIAL AT SITE

Also on trial at the pool is a sustainable surfboard that is designed to reduce the amount of waste from snapped surfboards going to landfill.

“It happens, they break sometimes,” said Notox board rider Sam Heazlett.

“We hope the way Notox make their boards are more sustainable and we don’t waste as much as other companies.

“They’re very good for the environment but also perform really well.”

A man stands in a wetsuit holding a surfboard on the shore of a wave pool.

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About Surf Lakes Holdings Ltd

Surf Lakes 5 Wave technology is the world’s first multi-break surf park, where 5 different levels of waves are created simultaneously. This allows for surfers of all abilities to surf during the same session, something no other wave pool tech is capable of. And with up to 2,400 waves per hour, operators can maximise their return on capital, as well as generate revenue from corporate groups, competitions, events and more. The possibilities are endless!

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