Some equate the race for the perfect wave pool to the space race. That comparison is flawed not just because there are more than two players in the game, but because it elevates the competition among a slew of corporations to mythic proportions. The quest for the perfect wave is, in the scheme of global geopolitics, just not that important. Not to mention one technology (Wavegarden) has been implemented in two public surf parks that have done little to change the state of surfing as we know it. Though I’ll concede it’s early, yet.
Since the success of Kelly Slater’s wave pool video that broke the internet 18 months ago, other wave pool developers have taken to employing well-known surfers to endorse their concept. American Wave Machines has Jamie O’Brien, and now Brisbane-based Surf Lakes has Mark Occhilupo.
While the company has yet to construct a full-size prototype, the stats are impressive. Surf Lakes says their concept could create 2,400 waves per hour (compared to Wavegarden’s “The Cove” that pumps out 1,000 per hour and Kelly’s pool that reportedly does 15).
The design is also pretty novel. Waves radiate concentrically from the middle of the pool and rely on bottom contours to change their shape. This differs from other designs like Wavegarden that use a submerged sled that goes from one end of the long rectangular pool to the other.

An artist rendering shows Occy getting slotted at “Occy’s Peak.” Photo: Surf Lakes
Developers also say that at any given time the pool can have up to eight breaks of varying size and length. One break, in particular, which Occy helped design is being called “Occy’s Peak,” and will be a 7-to-8-foot barrelling left resembling Teahupo’o.
“The other wave pools we’ve seen out there, they’re pretty good, but this one is next level,” Occy told
“That (footage of Kelly’s wave) was incredible and, I’m not being biased, but I really think this is going to outdo it. Kelly’s is perfect, don’t get me wrong, and it’s long. But this is just a lot bigger and we’ve got variety.”
Surf Lakes has already begun construction of their demonstration site which is scheduled to be complete by late 2017, and will have enough water to fill 20 Olympic swimming pools.