Japanese Wavepool Open for the Olympics

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Swellnet Dispatch

As mentioned on Swellnet back in April, American Wave Machines (AWM) are constructing a pool in Japan to coincide with the Olympic Games.

The pool, which is located at Shizunami, 100 kms south-west of Tokyo, is now open, having taken just thirteen months to complete. Considering global supply chain disruptions during 2020, AWM think they can reduce lead time even further in the future.

Though it's open to the public, the pool operates as a proof of concept for American Wave Machines' ability to scale a pool for smaller or unusually shaped blocks. In this instance, the site measures less than 1 hectare - being approx. 75m wide x 150m long.

A mere pod hotel compared to Slater's sprawling Hilton, the Shizunami wavepool is a proof of concept for scalability

Fundamentally it's very similar to the BSR Surf Resort wave in Texas - of course, both are made by AWM - however the videos coming out of Shizunami show a greater range of wave profiles. The differences are owing to what AWM call 'temporal distortions' - the ability to alter the rhythm of displacement units and turn a perfect peeling wave into something more unpredictable.

BSR also has the ability to distort the waves it creates - see Red Bull Foam Wreckers for the random wedges and sections possible - however the march of progress has seen Shizunami unveiled with advanced distortion capability. The result is something akin to the surfers idyll of a wedging beachbreak.

“Temporal Distortion will lead to an entirely new selection of waves for both high-performance and learning applications,” said William McFarland, AWM Surf Programmer. “It will add shifting elements to the surf creating a more dynamic wave overall.”

See videos below for proof. In the first video, all the waves after the 25 second mark are distorted - i.e breaking out of sequence - resulting in oncoming air sections.


“Surfing is in the Olympics for the first time only once. This is a watershed moment for the sport,” said Bruce McFarland, AWM Founder. “Shizunami provides a consistent platform for athlete training, exhibitions, and events leading up to the Olympic Games.” 

Whether Olympic surfers think pool surfing is the ideal training for the vagaries of real beachbreaks remains to be seen. To date, no chosen surfers have tested the pool.

POSTSCRIPT: There's been no further news on the AWM pool planned for the Sunshine Coast.

Comments

arcadia's picture
arcadia's picture
arcadia Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 2:41pm

Not too far from home.
No doubt it will be popular as the waves look far better than the fare dished up by the local beach break.

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 2:54pm

Better than Kellys. Not as good as Occys.

Gowsa's picture
Gowsa's picture
Gowsa Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 3:23pm

Think you got that backwards Sprout.

Coaster's picture
Coaster's picture
Coaster Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 7:48pm

Agree with Sprout. Surf Lakes is the only one that produces waves that break towards a beach and has the most natural look (if you can ignore the giant plunger :). They ought to surround the plunger with a 12-sided screen with each screen projecting the video from a camera mounted on the opposite side. It might almost make the plunger disappear when viewed from a distance.

As for AWP, riding waves 5 metres from a wall would get boring real fast. And the turbulence setting looks more like a mistake that’s being promoted as a feature.

mowgli's picture
mowgli's picture
mowgli Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 10:07am

Is the water at SurfLakes fresh or brackish? If fresh, they could build a giant green wall and reticulate the water up through it (and free fertiliser from all the surfer piss). Be like looking at a big vertical green "headland" in the middle.

karliosis's picture
karliosis's picture
karliosis Friday, 16 Jul 2021 at 11:58am

Although only the Marlboro Man would hide that carbon emitting smoke stack.

mowgli's picture
mowgli's picture
mowgli Saturday, 17 Jul 2021 at 12:53pm

the solar power potential of that thing must be big though. Pretty dry region. Smart thing to do would be to build a second lake nearby and have floating solar (they do better when kept cool and clean, hence why Antarctica has been used for testing).

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 3:24pm

The Stab punters were getting very hot and frothy over it which seems weird to me as in the end it is a 2 foot wave pool wave with [email protected]#( all push and a nice shape. Really exciting stuff!???!

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 3:39pm

"Not a tetrapod to be seen..."

Won't be long.

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 7:21pm

its not japan without a tetrapod, sadly.

sandcrab's picture
sandcrab's picture
sandcrab Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 3:47pm

Do all wave pool promotional videos employ surfers of diminutive proportions in the same way car advertisements similarly exaggerate their products with pigmy people?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 3:50pm

Not sure, but Evan Geiselman - the surfer in the first vid - is 5'11".

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 3:55pm

Another video of the pool just released today:

lucky-al's picture
lucky-al's picture
lucky-al Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 5:20pm

Fun little video. Makes the distorted waves look so fun. Shun Murakami rips.

mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner's picture
mibs-oner Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 8:22pm

Looked like dions shitty turns them first few

megzee's picture
megzee's picture
megzee Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 4:06pm

The word "ordinary" springs to mind

thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 4:19pm

In the climbing world Rock & Ice magazine started a new magazine called Gym Climber (because real climbers don't want to read about people pumping out on plastic and plywood).
I thinks its time to start a Poolnet.com website so we don't have to put up with promotional videos of 2ft slop anymore

ryder's picture
ryder's picture
ryder Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 4:33pm

This pool is like watching a WSL event in a Brazilian beach break: 3-to-the-beach

NDC's picture
NDC's picture
NDC Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 5:06pm

I would love to have a go...

peabo's picture
peabo's picture
peabo Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 5:18pm

Negative comments seem like they maybe come from the more wave privileged among us. Would love to have one of these pools to share with a couple of mates for a day and play around with the settings. Looks like a blast.

johnson's picture
johnson's picture
johnson Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 8:46pm

I think we need a new rule about wavepool criticism:

If you've ever fought with, abused, yelled at, sent in, or pulled the 'local' card on anyone when the waves were of lesser quality that this, you're not allowed to comment at all. I reckon that would get rid of most of the grumpy pricks pretty quickly.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 9:11pm

not criticising your rule Johno but what has pulling a local card got to do with the price of eggs?

megzee's picture
megzee's picture
megzee Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 9:19pm

I'm all for new rules as well.

If you were sleeping in a "Thomas the Tank Engine" shaped bed and heading to kindy with a "Bob the Builder ' back pack between say 81 - 94 you are not allowed to comment.....
I reckon that'll get rid of a few "Johnson's" young upstarts pretty quickly..

benjis babe's picture
benjis babe's picture
benjis babe Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 6:26am

haha

Yendor's picture
Yendor's picture
Yendor Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 6:33am

Yeah, commenting for curmudgeons only!

Coaster's picture
Coaster's picture
Coaster Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 9:36pm

.

PoorGoofy's picture
PoorGoofy's picture
PoorGoofy Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 6:13pm

Any word on wave variability settings, would be good if there was a "random button" but is there any point running the comp, methinks they have already just made the gold out to one funky cold medina if this is the plan?

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 8:57pm

... beer spill ...

winston.white's picture
winston.white's picture
winston.white Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 6:19pm

the negative comments about wave pools, must live in locations where surf is on tap daily? or can't be regular surfers surely. I'd rather a wave pool then waiting 4-8 days for decent swell or flat spells that can go for weeks in summer here in West Aust

johnson's picture
johnson's picture
johnson Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 8:54pm

4-8 days? It can go flat for that many MONTHS in most places. This would be better than 90% of days at most people's local.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 9:18pm

.

Remigogo's picture
Remigogo's picture
Remigogo Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 9:25pm

Only 2 out of 365 days in Busso.. sshh, don't spread the word,,

thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber's picture
thelostclimber Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 10:14am

Yes, I live 50m from the beach, lucky me hey. If my shoulder wasn't completely stuffed from so much paddling I'd be able to throw a rock from my balcony and it would land on sand(or water after a big swell washes all the beach away)

I have no problem with wave pools, build as many as you want. I just have a problem with the promotional videos making out that the waves are good, when really as I said above they are really just 2ft mush.
Nothing wrong with negative comments and naysayers, it's called open discussion and debate and acts in part as a counter to the promotional "everything is awesome" videos of the developers and owners

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 10:30am

Stay tuned for a story on community blowback from the heart of the wavepool industry.

Probably won't be published this week but early next.

Jwri7170's picture
Jwri7170's picture
Jwri7170 Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 6:32pm

Wonder what the damage is for one of those pools? Given what looks like a tiny footprint relative to other pools and quick to build you'd reckon it would be a seller. They definitely have a better marketing approach, letting the finished product do the talking.

clif's picture
clif's picture
clif Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 7:23pm

no good for me. that face is awful short and wall awful close. I cannot do my normal race far far out to the shoulder to bog a half assed cutback on that wave.

Coaster's picture
Coaster's picture
Coaster Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 7:50pm

Sounds like my surfing style.

theblacksheep's picture
theblacksheep's picture
theblacksheep Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 10:43pm

Nuclear powered ?

.cylinders's picture
.cylinders's picture
.cylinders Wednesday, 14 Jul 2021 at 11:58pm

enough with the damn pools already

Tobiasl's picture
Tobiasl's picture
Tobiasl Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 9:10am

The main issue for most surfers is the scale, the waves are too small for ongoing enjoyment for anyone who isn’t a: pro or b: less than 70kg
The problem is the swimming pool bottom, go to URBNSURF, spend the day there, people get hurt all the time, particularly the beginners who are learning in knee deep water with the worlds most unforgiving bottom but also good surfers get hurt there too, if anyone was to scale this up to say legitimate 4ft, let’s be honest all the wave pools are really 2ft (if we measure by the same standards we apply to the ocean) then the injury list would go up exponentially & nobody who is sinking $50m + into building one of these things is willing to risk that kind of liability. Once a durable yet more forgiving bottom material is developed then we could see what everyone really wants BIGGER waves.

Cacadajy's picture
Cacadajy's picture
Cacadajy Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 9:12am

Reckon all the negative comments on wave pools are all from the one dude - Huey.
This guy has had the market (wave manufacturing) to himself since the dawn of time then along comes a little competition and he goes full poo poo this poo poo that on their competing product.
Here's a thought Huey, IMPROVE YOUR FARKING PRODUCT!!!!

(Observation from South Oz btw.)

nafan's picture
nafan's picture
nafan Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 9:31am

I'm middle aged and been surfing for most of my life, that rip bowl looks crazy fun would love to have one of those within driving distance

truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher's picture
truebluebasher Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 12:39pm

Thanks Stu, good wrap...
(Photo!) re: artificial Breakwall tamed the river, buried the Surf Lagoon & paved the Town.
The ocean canal/s (Front of Photo) carves inland to water the crops & industry.
There are very few natural Surf scapes left in & around Japan & Oz cities & towns.
Many surf in Sand Blasted Rock Walled Quarries that long killed off Lagoons, Estuaries & Headlands

Canal fed Wave pool can tide'n'temp ocean & use ocean sensors to mimic a real life Surf Lagoon.
This Wave Lagoon sits in natural setting & less destructive than the Breakwall that destroyed the lagoon.
Ocean sensors can DJ Temporal Distortion via Canal / Tide / Temp to mimic set waves thru Town to Pool.
Wade in same sun'n'wind'n'sea set wave from Breakwater > Beachie > Lagoon > Hoot is relayed as one!
Notice it was set to harmonize same Ocean conditions rather than compete...a complimentary surf hang.
Crew & all would naturally argue to offset Ocean to afford longer Surf Season...Any read as to why?

Surf an Ocean powered wave in an artificial setting or surf an artificially powered wave in natural setting
Boardriderz tethered to concrete boots on a layers of toxic goop skimming the surface of Ocean Swells
Or one could pod'n'pop airs & barrel roll pool waves for a more lively natural surf experience.

Boardriders are banned from most resort pools & Basherz are banned from Natural Wave Pools.
This is because Basherz are not allowed to fully engage or immerse with Lagoon style Waves.
Lined Pools ban full immersion, wild'n'free unleashed Basherz / Skim / Plank Walkerz due to pathogens.
Health & safety advise all to keep head above water & feet off the mouldy lining in Lagoons / Basins.
Basherz must 'hand leash' to a deadpan Blade + cement on some Fins (No wild stuff here!)

Natural surfers naturally ban themselves from natural wavepools. (Naturally, that makes no sense!)

Pool waves look, sound & feel similar to ocean waves...(The Lining, Smell & Taste is a council issue)
Note urbnsurf added sand for a twist which may have left a scented trail to the sweet spot?
Most wave pool operators prefer to go natural with no chlorine but councils insist on regulation.

Wave Pools can be structured with seascape materials to reclaim endless devastated Surf Lagoons.
However, it's the councils that would never permit a more natural smelling tasteful reclamation.
Gold Coast Beaches are closed 2 months/year (vs) Council Pools are open year long.
Any investor instantly sees a profit loss barrier to operate a natural set Wave Lagoon.
Example being...Marinas & Ocean Pools are often locked down in Hazardous Surf Warnings.
A Wave Lagoon reclamation would never be permitted in our Era & would likely close 2 months/year.

eg: Ballina Council bullied approval for their Ocean Pool on a NSW High Risk Fishing rock shelf.
Any 12+ y/old Kid that attends that ocean pool without a Life Jacket will be fined $100 + a warning!
Should we ask the dumb-arses how they're going with that...doubt if they even know half as much.

Some town's have reclaimed naturally productive life giving river waves
Wave Pool tech is not going to waste & may yet return more life giving seascapes thru our Cities.
It's an alternate way of exploring Municipal Wave force & scapes for eco recreational healing.
No! It's not natural but can be every bit as good or better than surfing once natural now plastic lineups.
https://s2odesign.com/projects/san-marcos-river/

tbb has only bashed the original Wet'n'Wild pool & it did improve surfing technique for micro waves.
Can't lie...Thought it was good fun but costs the same as better Wave Pools, so never raced back!
Be stoked to surf here or anywhere without being tied down.

Bubble elder's picture
Bubble elder's picture
Bubble elder Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 9:32pm

I think that looks like heaps of fun! I went down to urbnsurf for a friends birthday this year and had a ball. It was freezing but a lot of fun and the waves were really rippable. As good as same size in the ocean? No. But it was certainly something I would do again. As for this pool, I think the wedge setting looks awesome fun, one criticism I had for urbrnsurf was a lack of a good sucky lip to hit, it just lacked the push of the ocean, however this looks like that is no issue. It could also be my surfing ability hahaha...

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 9:51pm

I have a feeling so many wavepools are going to bankrupt a lot of people maybe even Kelly.
Id choose kellys over any of the others ive seen but the left is crappy compared to the right and im a goofy who loves twin keels (keels are non responsive backside) i really need an asymmetric shape...but latey ive forked out too much on new boards and wettys, clothing etc. ive been waiting since march for a Gary McNeil RTT with bio resin flaz cloth..must be a huge waiting list for materials for shapers over east.

Willy Wonka's picture
Willy Wonka's picture
Willy Wonka Thursday, 15 Jul 2021 at 11:37pm

Those waves were created with a 4 min break between them to allow the lagoon to settle, so frequency is about 20 waves an hour. Kelly's produces 12 waves per hour on the performance wave setting.

groundswell's picture
groundswell's picture
groundswell Friday, 16 Jul 2021 at 12:19am

besides jakes as Kalbarris best wave theres another that tubes longer and is more hollow and dangerous (size for size-it doesnt handle big raw swells over 4ft) when its on its a 30 minute wait for two waves in a set, even if jakes is pumping 12 wave sets. its my favorite wave here but fickle.
but half an hour wait isnt too bad unless there are more than two people out, which there usually isnt. It breaks better than all the wave pools ive seen except for kellys. id wait that long for a wave at kellys for sure.as long as its warm winds and water.

Redmond Clement's picture
Redmond Clement's picture
Redmond Clement Friday, 16 Jul 2021 at 7:43am

I can envisage Clive Palmer sitting in a dunking machine in the middle of surf lakes. Hit the target and you are rewarded with a solid ground swell.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Friday, 16 Jul 2021 at 8:36am

The wedgy ones look fun. If you stop thinking wave pool when watching and think small fun Caribbean beachbreak it looks great fun if your surf expectations are in the normal range.

If they can make money, in 5 to 10 years time there will be some scaled up versions that will be amazing.

bellavista's picture
bellavista's picture
bellavista Sunday, 18 Jul 2021 at 9:00am

I’ll take the outer bank on a sunny 4’ day , thanks . Even with its contingent risks and uncertainty. .Anyone who wants to surf that pond is welcome to it.