Plant A WaveGarden, Surf Anywhere

Surfers are accustomed to travelling long distances, paying close attention to weather and tide patterns and, even when they find perfect conditions, sometimes they have to deal with crowded lineups. All this just to catch a break.

Patience is a virtue, but so is ingenuity, and the intrepid engineers at WaveGarden have come up with a solution for landlocked surfers to get their shred on 24/7.

The company prototyped its new wave technology near its headquarters in San Sebastian, Spain, in 2010, and has since improved the technology to now allow left- and right-handed breaks at the same time.

The system works by releasing large, controlled amounts of water into a specific-sized manmade lagoon. Waves are released every 90 seconds and can be adjusted in size from kid-friendly beginner waves to shoulder-height barrels.

A generator powers the underwater mechanics, and the company claims it puts out less CO2 than an average car. WaveGarden is installing its first public wave park in Bristol, UK, next spring. Entrepreneurs looking for a novel investment can expect to pay between  $3M to $6M to have a WaveGarden surf park installed, and a return on investment within four years, says the company. See here for more on the economics of opening your own park. If LeBron James can build himself a 35,000-square-foot house with its own on-premises barber shop, surely it's just a matter of time until some lucky billionare puts in a backyard surf break.

A mockup of what a WaveGarden installation would look like, maybe in your town?

Manmade wave concepts are not necessarily new. Cruise ships have them, malls across America have them, and (of course) Japan has the largest indoor wavepool on the planet. But all of these solutions do a fairly shabby job of replicating the clean lip of a natural ocean break. Plus, except for the cruise ship, they're all indoors—and who wants to be stuck on a cruise ship?