The Wavegarden Cove has been tested and approved by many of the world’s top ranked surfers, although its versatility extends well beyond making great waves for the elite. Illustrating this point a “Family Surf Session” was organised at Wavegarden’s R&D demo center with several families with varying degrees of experience. The emphasis was on fun, learning, and participation – and less on high performance.
From its inception the creators of Wavegarden aspired to democratize the sport by making surfing accessible and secure for everyone regardless of age, skill level or geographic location. This objective is reached through the latest technological breakthrough – the Wavegarden Cove – that makes waves that are suitable for all types of users. With sizes ranging from 50cm through to 2.4m, there are almost 40 different types of waves available to surf. And, with a push of a button, the size, power, speed, shape and frequency of waves can be modified in an instant to match users. In the demo center, large conditions for experienced surfers can be toned down in a matter of seconds to small knee high waves suitable for young children and beginners. Larger commercial facilities that will soon be open to the public around the world will have multiple surfing areas, so surfers of all levels can use the facility simultaneously.
The Wavegarden Cove opens up new possibilities for those people new to the sport of surfing – especially those who live far away from the ocean – who are able to quickly and comfortably learn about surfing and ocean conditions, and advance from one level to another as their skills and confidence develops. In most cases, people with no prior experience can master the basic techniques from the smallest white water to larger waves all within the same session. This level of progression is practically impossible to achieve in the ocean, where the unpredictability of conditions (wave size, currents, tides, crowds, etc…) makes it slow to improve. The sense of joy and satisfaction that comes from learning rapidly is key to keeping surfers motivated and keen to return for more sessions knowing they will continue to evolve with further practise.
User safety is considered in all design aspects of the Cove. In beginner areas, the water level varies between knee and waist high, so newcomers are never out of their depth. The surface of the floor is smooth to walk on and equipment specifically created for beginners, such as soft boards with plastic fins, mitigate the risk of injury.
Wavegarden strongly supports the idea of living a healthy sports lifestyle and the Cove can be viewed as a modern day aquatic sports complex. It is designed for all users and subsequently provides a wide range of community benefits including school educational programs linked to surfing, swimming, water safety and lifesaving.
The feedback from the participants in the Family Day Session was very pleasing. “We literally had kids that had surfed for a while, all the way through to my son where it was his first time ever surfing”, confirmed Dave Mailman, who was testing the waves along with his wife and 2 children. “I don’t surf and I was just feeling very secure and safe to try to catch a wave”, added his wife, Dr Priscilla Mailman. “Just from since this morning until now, in a few hours, the progress is unreal. In the ocean (the kids) can get pretty scared because of the strong currents, but here not one drop of fear. It’s very, very secure for a beginner. And it’s perfect having this family interaction in the water – helping out, playing together, having fun, pure fun.”