Wave pool

Wave pool

A wave pool is a swimming pool in which are artificially generated reasonably large waves, similar to the ocean's. Wave pools are often a major feature of water parks.


Several locations claim to have developed the first wave pool in the United States, including Big Surf in Tempe, Arizona, in 1969 [http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/bestof/award.php?oid=oid:34871&section=oid:36467&year=2005] , and Point Mallard Park's Aquatic Center, in the city of Decatur, Alabama. But Palisades Amusement Park, a famed center atop the New Jersey Palisades across the Hudson River from New York City, had a salt-water wave pool during the 1940s. This was a huge pool whose waves were generated by a waterfall at one end. The pool in Point Mallard Park was developed in the early 1970s after Mayor Gilmer Blackburn saw enclosed "wave-making" swimming pools in Japan and thought one could be a tourist attraction in the United States. J. Austin Smith, an Ohio wave pool manufacturer, worked with the city of Decatur to design and install the wave pool in 1970.


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 amount 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

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.


Wave pools are more difficult to lifeguard than still pools, and there have been drownings in some. For example, the pool at New Jersey's now-defunct Action Park took two lives, and kept the lifeguards busy rescuing patrons who overestimated their swimming ability. The moving water, sun glare, and other factors make them difficult for lifeguards.

Computer automated drowning detection systems do not work in wave pools. Drowning prevention systems such as Swimguard use underwater cameras and might improve safety.

Further reading

*Carl Hoffman, "Endless summer", "Wired" 12.05

ee also

*artificial wave
*wave tank

External links

* [http://science.howstuffworks.com/wave-pool.htm Howstuffworks.com- "How Wave Pools Work"]
* [http://www.h2oparks.com/products/pools/wavepools.htm H2O Parks- "Background on wave pools and info on building your own."]

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