Wave pool

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An outdoor wave pool in action Silverwood wavepool1.jpg
An outdoor wave pool in action

A wave pool is a swimming pool in which there are artificially generated, reasonably large waves, similar to those of the ocean. Wave pools are often a major feature of water parks, both indoors and outdoors, as well as some leisure centres.

Swimming pool Artificial container filled with water intended for swimming

A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, or paddling pool is a structure designed to hold water to enable swimming or other leisure activities. Pools can be built into the ground or built above ground, and are also a common feature aboard ocean-liners and cruise ships. In-ground pools are most commonly constructed from materials such as concrete, natural stone, metal, plastic, or fiberglass, and can be of a custom size and shape or built to a standardized size, the largest of which is the Olympic-size swimming pool.

Wave oscillation that travels through space and matter

In physics, mathematics, and related fields, a wave is a disturbance of a field in which a physical attribute oscillates repeatedly at each point or propagates from each point to neighboring points, or seems to move through space.

Ocean A body of water that composes much of a planets hydrosphere

An ocean is a body of water that composes much of a planet's hydrosphere. On Earth, an ocean is one of the major conventional divisions of the World Ocean. These are, in descending order by area, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern (Antarctic), and Arctic Oceans. The word "ocean" is often used interchangeably with "sea" in American English. Strictly speaking, a sea is a body of water partly or fully enclosed by land, though "the sea" refers also to the oceans.



A 1936 photo of the wave pool, constructed 6 years prior at Gellert Baths in Budapest Gellert Gyogyfurdo, hullam medence. Fortepan 26787.jpg
A 1936 photo of the wave pool, constructed 6 years prior at Gellért Baths in Budapest

The origins of wave pools go as far back as the 19th Century, as famous fantasy castle builder Ludwig II of Bavaria electrified a lake to create breaking waves.

Ludwig II of Bavaria

Ludwig II was King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death in 1886. He is sometimes called the Swan King or der Märchenkönig. He also held the titles of Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Duke of Franconia, and Duke in Swabia.

In 1905, the "Undosa" swimming platform was built on Lake Starnberg in Germany, which used large pontoons to force the lake water to make waves. It has since been converted into a restaurant.

In 1912, the "Bilzbad" in Radebeul, Germany was the first public wave pool buily on the ground. [1] It used a wave machine, also called "Undosa," first exhibited the previous year at the International Hygiene Exhibition in Dresden. [2] [3] It remains open today.

Radebeul Place in Saxony, Germany

Radebeul is a town in the Elbe valley in the district of Meißen in Saxony, Germany, a suburb of Dresden. It is well known for its viticulture, a museum dedicated to writer Karl May, and a narrow gauge railway connecting Radebeul with the castle of Moritzburg and the town of Radeburg. The Meißen area, where Radebeul is located, is one of the northeasternmost areas where wine is grown in the 21st century.

International Hygiene Exhibition event

The International Hygiene Exhibition was a world's fair focusing on medicine and public health, held in Dresden, Germany, in 1911.

Dresden Place in Saxony, Germany

Dresden is the capital city of the German state of Saxony, and with around 550,000 inhabitants, it is the state's second most populous city after Leipzig. It is the 12th most populous city of Germany, the fourth largest by area after Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne, as well as the third most populous city in the area of former East Germany, after (East) Berlin and Leipzig. Dresden is contiguous with Freital, Pirna, Radebeul, Meissen and Coswig, and its urban area has around 780,000 inhabitants, making it the largest in Saxony.

Another early public wave pool was designed and built in 1927 [4] in Budapest, Hungary in the known Gellért Baths, and appeared one of James A. Fitzpatrick's documentary Traveltalks films about the city in 1938, as one of the main tourist attractions. [5] It also remains open today.

Budapest Capital city of Hungary

Budapest is the capital and the most populous city of Hungary, and the tenth-largest city in the European Union by population within city limits. The city has an estimated population of 1,752,286 over a land area of about 525 square kilometres. Budapest is both a city and county, and forms the centre of the Budapest metropolitan area, which has an area of 7,626 square kilometres and a population of 3,303,786, comprising 33% of the population of Hungary.

Hungary Country in Central Europe

Hungary is a country in Central Europe. Spanning 93,030 square kilometres (35,920 sq mi) in the Carpathian Basin, it borders Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Austria to the northwest, Romania to the east, Serbia to the south, Croatia to the southwest, and Slovenia to the west. With about 10 million inhabitants, Hungary is a medium-sized member state of the European Union. The official language is Hungarian, which is the most widely spoken Uralic language in the world, and among the few non-Indo-European languages to be widely spoken in Europe. Hungary's capital and largest city is Budapest; other major urban areas include Debrecen, Szeged, Miskolc, Pécs and Győr.

Gellért Baths

Part of the famous Hotel Gellért in Buda, the Gellért Thermal Baths and Swimming Pool is a bath complex in Budapest in Hungary.

The natatorium at Bayocean, Oregon also had an early wave generating machine, before it was destroyed by actual ocean waves in 1932.

A natatorium is a building containing a swimming pool. In Latin, a cella natatoria was a swimming pool in its own building, although it is sometimes also used to refer to any indoor pool even if not housed in a dedicated building. It will usually also house locker rooms, and perhaps allied activities, such as a diving well or facilities for water polo. Many colleges, universities and high schools have natatoria.

Bayocean, Oregon

Bayocean was a community in Tillamook County, Oregon, United States. Sometimes known as "the town that fell into the sea", it was a planned resort community founded in 1906 on Tillamook Spit, a small stretch of land that forms one wall of Tillamook Bay.

In 1929, a Pathe Pictorial there is film of "Indoor Surfers" frolicking in small, artificially-generated waves in a swimming pool in Munch, Germany. The waves were created by agitators which pushed waves through the diving area and into a shallow area - where kids were bodysurfing little waves: "This is the new kind of swimming bath that is becoming the rage of Germany," one of the captions reads. "No more placid waters for bathers - the mechanism behind the netting keeps everything moving." [6]

In 1939, a public swimming pool in Wembley, London, was equipped with machines that created wavelets to approximate the soothing ebb and flowing motion of the ocean. In the 1940's, Palisades Amusement Park, located on the Hudson River Palisades across from New York City, installed a large waterfall at one end of its salt water pool, the largest of such in the world at the time, [7] which generated small waves much like those in Wembley.

In 1966, Akiruno, Japan's "Summerland Wavepool", nicknamed the "Surf-a-Torium", was the first wave pool accessible to surfers (though only for 15 minutes every hour). [1]

Several locations claim to have developed the first wave pool in the United States, including Big Surf in Tempe, Arizona and Point Mallard Park in Decatur, Alabama, which both opened in 1969. The first indoor wave pool in the United States opened in 1982 at the Bolingbrook Aquatic Center in Bolingbrook, Illinois. [8]


Wave pools replicate the movement of the ocean one of two ways, depending on the size of the pool and the size of wave desired. In small wave pools, pressurized air is blown onto the surface of the water, or a paddle creates force in the water, creating small ripple-like waves. Other techniques utilize an "accordion mechanism" which opens and closes in order to suck water into its belly (opening) and push it out (closing) to cause waves. However, in high-volume wave pools, a large volume of water is quickly allowed into the far end of the pool, forcing the water to even out, generating a sizeable wave. In these large wave pools, the excess water is removed by being channeled through a return canal where it can be used again to generate another wave.

Types and locations

The double wave pool at RamaYana Water Park RWP-Double Wave Pool.jpg
The double wave pool at RamaYana Water Park

Generally, wave pools are designed to use fresh water at inland locations, but some of the largest ones, near other seashore developments, use salt water. Wave pools are typically larger than other recreational swimming pools and for that reason are often in parks or other large, open areas.

Some wave pools like those at NLand are expressly designed for surfing rather than for swimming, and accordingly, create much larger waves.


Wave pools are more difficult to lifeguard than still pools as the moving water (sometimes combined with sun glare) make it hard to watch all swimmers. Unlike passive pool safety camera systems, computer automated drowning detection systems do not work in wave pools.[ citation needed ]

The original 8-foot-deep Tidal Wave pool at New Jersey's recently re-opened Action Park cost three lives in the 1980s, and kept the lifeguards busy rescuing patrons who overestimated their swimming ability. On the first day they officially opened their wavepool, it is said that up to 100 people had to be pulled out. [9]


The world's largest wave pool by area is 13,600 square metres (146,000 sq ft) and located in Bangkok's Siam Park City. [10]

The largest indoor wave pool, "Blue Thunder", is 42,000 square feet (3,900 m2) and located at World Waterpark in West Edmonton Mall, Edmonton, Alberta.

The world's largest artificial waves, measuring up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) in height, can be found at Siam Park in the Canary Islands. [11]

See also

Further reading

Related Research Articles

Surfing sport that consists of riding a wave

Surfing is a surface water sport in which the wave rider, referred to as a surfer, rides on the forward or face of a moving wave, which usually carries the surfer towards the shore. Waves suitable for surfing are primarily found in the ocean, but can also be found in lakes or rivers in the form of a standing wave or tidal bore. However, surfers can also utilize artificial waves such as those from boat wakes and the waves created in artificial wave pools.

Lifeguard profession

A lifeguard is a rescuer who supervises the safety and rescue of swimmers, surfers, and other water sports participants such as in a swimming pool, water park, spa, beach or river. Lifeguards are strong swimmers and trained in CPR/AED first aid, certified in water rescue using a variety of aids and equipment depending on requirements of their particular venue. In some areas, lifeguards are part of the emergency services system to incidents and in some communities,lifeguards may function as the primary EMS provider.

Water park amusement park that features pools with water play areas

A water park or waterpark is an amusement park that features water play areas such as swimming pools, water slides, splash pads, water playgrounds, and lazy rivers, as well as areas for bathing, swimming, and other barefoot environments. Modern water parks may also be equipped with some type of artificial surfing or bodyboarding environment, such as a wave pool or flowrider.

Articles related to surfing and surf culture include.

World Waterpark building in Alberta, Canada

World Waterpark is a water park located at West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Opened to the public in 1986, it is the largest indoor water park in North America. It has a maximum capacity of about 5,000 guests, an average air temperature of 31 °C (88 °F), and also contains the world's largest indoor wave pool with a capacity of 12.5 million litres.

Water World, Colorado

Water World is a water park that is part of the Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District and located in Federal Heights, Colorado, roughly 10 miles (16 km) north of downtown Denver, Colorado. The park first opened in 1979 with the first two waterslides in the state of Colorado. Water World is generally open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, but may be closed some school days.

Disneys Typhoon Lagoon one of two water parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon is a water theme park located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida near Orlando, and is one of two operating water parks at the resort. It is the second water park to open at the resort, preceded by Disney's River Country which closed in November 2001.

Artificial waves are man-made waves usually created on a specially designed surface or in a pool.

Sunset Beach (Oahu) A beach on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii

Sunset Beach is on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii and known for big wave surfing during the winter season. The original Hawaiian name for this place is Paumalū. It is a two-mile stretch of mostly beige sand located at 59-104 Kamehameha Highway in Pupukea, 39 miles driving distance from Waikiki. Lifeguards are usually present.

River surfing river surfing

River surfing is the sport of surfing either standing waves, tidal bores or upstream waves in rivers. Claims for its origins include a 1955 ride of 2.4 km (1.5 mi) along the tidal bore of the River Severn.

Surf break A permanent obstruction on the seabed which causes waves to break

A surf break is a permanent obstruction such as a coral reef, rock, shoal, or headland that causes a wave to break, forming a barreling wave or other wave that can be surfed, before it eventually collapses. The topography of the seabed determines the shape of the wave and type of break. Since shoals can change size and location, affecting the break, it takes commitment and skill to find good breaks. Some surf breaks are quite dangerous, since the surfer can collide with a reef or rocks below the water.

Caribbean Bay is an indoor/outdoor water park located in Yongin, South Korea, on the outskirts of Seoul. Opened in 1996, it is the Largest Indoor and Outdoor Waterpark in the world, covering a total area of about 242,321,000 square yards. Caribbean Bay is part of the Everland Resort, but requires a separate admission fee.

Everland Resort

Everland Resort is a theme park and vacation resort located in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. It is owned and operated by Samsung Everland. The resort opened on April, 1976, as a single theme park (Everland), but developed into a resort with water parks, hostels, speedways, golf course and museums.

Wave Loch

Wave Loch Inc. is a surf ride manufacturing company responsible for such water rides as the FlowBarrel, Flying Reef, SurfPool, Wave House franchises, and, formerly, FlowRider.

The Wave is a company and surf/lifestyle brand, building artificial wave pools for surfing in South Gloucestershire, England, and in London. The Wave: Bristol is planned to open in 2018/9, and The Wave: London in 2020.

Surf Snowdonia artificial wave pool at Dolgarrog in the Conwy valley, north Wales

Surf Snowdonia is an artificial wave pool at Dolgarrog in the Conwy valley, north Wales, owned by Conwy Adventure Leisure Ltd. It is the world's first commercial artificial surfing lake and the United Kingdom's only artificial surfing lake. The site cost a total of £12 million and opened in August 2015.


NLand Surf Park is an inland surfing destination near Austin, Texas, located ten minutes from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 4836 East Highway 71, Del Valle, Texas 78617. The park offers surfing sessions, lessons, clinics, or group surfing for first-time, beginner, intermediate, and advanced surfers. In addition to the 14-acre surf lagoon and surrounding land, the park includes a surf shop and a restaurant, and a craft brewery.


  1. 1 2 Peter Westwick & Peter Neushul, The World in the Curl: An Unconventional History of Surfing
  2. See de:Bilzbad.
  3. Volker Helas, Stadt Radebeul, State Office for the Preservation of Monuments Saxony, Radebeul, Federal Republic of Germany, monuments in Saxony. SAX publishing house, Beucha 2007, ISBN   978-3-86729-004-3 , p. 203
  4. Karpati, Zoltan (1 May 2010). "Gellért Fürdő". Muemlekek.info. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  5. "YouTube". Youtube.com. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  6. Indoor Surfers! (1929), Pathe Pictorials, YouTube
  7. "Palisades Amusement Park Historical Society". www.palisadespark.com. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2011-05-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-03. Retrieved 2013-09-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. "Siam Park City". www.siamparkcity.com. Retrieved 2018-07-16.
  11. "Siam Park Wave Pool Destination in Tenerife Spain | Surf Park Central". Surf Park Central. 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2018-07-16.