The Science Behind Wave Pools

Wave pools require a lot of sophisticated and influential machinery, so we can keep catching waves when the surf is non-existent, which is perfect if you're as obsessed with surfing as we are here at Wetsuit Centre!

After the Olympics, we're bound to see a spike in interest when it comes to these incredible setups. Even Kelly Slater has been quoted saying that he believes wave pools are the way forward for the next Olympic Games!

What is a Wave Pool?

In basic terms, a wave pool is a swimming pool that artificially creates large waves. You can often find them in both indoor and outdoor water parks and leisure centres.

How do Wave Pools Work?

In the ocean, waves are created by the wind pushing together water molecules which in turn develop swells; swells are disturbances on the water’s surface.

These collective water molecule ripples push neighbouring molecules in the same direction, passing the energy over while allowing them to stay in the same area. Down the line, this creates surfable waves for us to enjoy.

Wave pools work by replicating the movement of oceanic waves in two ways. Similar to natural waves, smaller wave pools will blow pressurised air onto the water's surface. Alternatively, it can use a paddle in a sweeping motion to generate a force under the water to create ripple-like waves.

To create a wave, a wave pool will need an assortment of specialised equipment:

  • A water-pumping system
  • A water-collection reservoir
  • A series of release valves at the bottom
  • A large, slanted pool
  • A return canal

Together, these work behind the scenes to create those artificial waves that surfers love!

Check out the video below to see how the mechanics behind a wave pool work!


Wetsuit Centre Highlights: The Wave


What is the Biggest Wave Pool in the World?

Here we're going to explore some of the largest artificial waves and wave pools in the world!

The Longest Wave Pool in the World:

Kelley Slater, a surfing legend, has designed one of the most famous wave pools yet. The Surf Ranch wave pool has been declared one of the longest in the world. Its length has been recorded at 150 meters wide, clocking at an impressive 45-second ride, perfect for pros!

The Largest Indoor Pool in the World

The largest indoor wave pool is known as Blue Thunder, reaching a staggering 3,900 meters squared. Blue Thunder is located in Edmonton, Alberta.

The wave pool holds an impressive 3.3 million gallons of water, and you can catch waves as high as 1.4 meters!

The Largest Artificial Waves in the World

If you're in search of a wave park that can create the world's largest waves, you'll need to bounce on over to the Siam Park in the Canary Islands, where you'll find artificial waves that can reach as high as 3 meters.

For more information about surfing, check out Wetsuit Centre blog, which is packed with valuable tips and tricks! Of course, if you need some new kit, be sure to browse our range of men’s and women’s winter wetsuits!