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Research into the circular wave pool – a new method of generating controlled breaking waves

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-23, 07:17 authored by Jonathan BinnsJonathan Binns, Martin RenilsonMartin Renilson, Giles Thomas, Gregor MacFarlaneGregor MacFarlane, Schmied, S, Huijsmans, R
Surfing as a sport is increasing in popularity worldwide. However, as it depends on being able to access wave conditions which are not always available, surfers have been trying to make indoor pools which recreate the surfing experience in a controlled manner. One of the more promising developments in this area is a circular wave pool, patented by Greg Webber in 2005 [9]. The original idea was to produce crystal clear perfect surfable waves in a large circular pool, breaking on an inner island. Although never designed to replace surfing, this phenomena would complement the surfing industry perfectly, opening up new markets and cementing old ones. Greg Webber and Steven Schmied took the idea to TU Delft and then to the Australian Maritime College for further research. 6 years later the research team has been analysing shapes, testing and predicting their wave-making performance in straight lines and finally producing perfect scaled waves in a circular test facility. This paper reports on this research and on how it has been used to further the design of the wave pool. Appropriate surfing speeds have been established from observations of real surfers. Scale model tests were used to determine the optimum Froude depth and length numbers. Finally a set of working beach locations and slopes have been estimated from the experimental study. In addition to being able to be used to create perfect waves for surfing, the circular wave pool can also be used for a range of research activities, for example to generate controlled waves to investigate the loads generated by breaking waves on coastal structures and to investigate waves generated by manoeuvring vessels.


Publication title

Proceedings of Pacific 2012 International Maritime Conference


Royal Institute of Naval Architects




Australian Maritime College


RINA, IMarEST, Engineers Australia

Place of publication

Sydney, NSW

Event title

Pacific 2012 International Maritime Conference

Event Venue

Sydney, NSW

Date of Event (Start Date)


Date of Event (End Date)


Rights statement

Copyright 2012 the authors

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in engineering

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