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Wave Garden – the next generation wave pool?

Wave Garden – the next generation wave pool?

Alex Dick-Read

Somewhere near Zarautz, deep in the Basque Country, José Manuel Odriozola has been tinkering in a pond. It’s a man-made pond with black plastic lining riding out of the sides four feet higher than the water level. What lies under the surface of this glassy puddle in a green and verdant valley, exactly what ‘Josema’ is tinkering with, very few people can say. All we do know is that he’s invented a new form of wave pool. A pool that throws up a wave more perfect than any other man-made wave you’ve ever seen.

For now, it’s only waist high – but barreling nonetheless. You can huck about 3 or 4 turns on it’s glassy wave face if you’re quick, before it hits a bank at the end of the pond. Inside a little cabin nearby sits Josema, tinkering with the controls. His is a system that works, and a system that he claims can be scaled up to make even bigger waves, and a system that can be replicated at any pretty much body of water in the world. And most important of all, it is efficient. Efficiency means cost effectiveness, which means it won’t use so much energy that it needs to rely on a surrounding infrastructure of water park madness, candy stores and cocktail bars. It could just be … a surf spot.

And that ride with three or four turns? You can actually keep going for as long of the body of water is long. By this summer they plan to unveil a longer wave in the head-high range. Beyond that, they’re not saying. Meantime, the waist-high wonder in the deep woods of Basque Country, is proving a perfect kindergarten for beginners, and an excellent training ground for local WCT pro surfer Aritz Aranuburu. He’s been riding it all year and treating it as a practice facility. And he’s invited his pro mates, Jordy Smith, Bobby Martinez and Roy Powers, all of whom were apparently knocked sideways by how good the wave is.
So, watch this space. The Wave Garden is only going to grow. And whatever you think of it now, one day you may find yourself staring at an 8ft glassy inland barrel, peeling for x-amount of fresh-water yards, and winking at you with an almond eye.
One day, maybe …

Wavegarden (Short) from wavegarden on Vimeo.

  1. Jonathan Williams

    Congratulations to the creators of this thing. Most impressive innovation in surfing since the invention of the petrol engine. When are we getting one in England? Utterly brilliant!

  2. Tony Carson Big Island

    Wow, a green slimy wave,looks like another scheme to make a buck off surfing, cause you know they’re are gonna charge you for this artificial experience. Even if they could perfect this abomination, it will never take the place of paddling out into the free God given ocean, feeling the salt water and the sand beneath your feet, and all the other good vibes that go with it.

  3. Paul

    yeah Tony,

    But just think for a moment. It may be great fun and it might stop all the no hopers travelling to the beach and crowding our line ups!

    Hope it works out, looks great!

  4. Bazzy Buoy

    I think its a wonderful idea and like Paul said, it may help with the over crowding as people stay inland rather than travel across the country to the beaches. Not every surfer can be as lucky as us coastal dwelling folk so I think this is great for all involved.

    And so what if it is artificial? If they could produce perfect headhigh waves in the middle of the country is still going to be cheaper and easier than flying around the world looking for the ever ellusive perfect wave. Bring in on, I want some – and Im a coast dweller!

  5. Tony Carson Big Island

    Bra, no offense, but, if you want an artificial experience, that they are going to make you pay for, so they can stuff their wallets, you can have it. I’d rather paddle out in two foot slop, in the real God given free ocean, than be a part of their pay to play scheme. And they will never be able to reproduce the feeling of paddling out in the wild free ocean, feeling the salt water and the sand beneath your feet, and all the other good vibes that go with it. If someone lives inland, and they really want to surf, they will find a way, or move closer to the ocean, and more power to them for doing it, I’d enjoy surfing with them. Peace.


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