"A $200,000 wet dream!" says inventor.
I was burying my spoon under the milk in my Cheerios mix this morning, when I saw that the shaper and wave tank designer Greg Webber had created a Facebook page for his new invention, floating reefs and portable sea walls.
It’s worth a call, I thought.
Now, I ain’t gonna sit on his face and jerk him off about his new invention when his previous brainstorm, a wavepool to beat all others, still exists only in his imagination.
Greg, who is fifty-eight, says a pool in the US is at the engineering stage, finance covered etc.
“I have been saying that for five years or more,” he says, adding the reason it’s taking so long is it’s being built within an existing resort. “Building a wave pool on a bit of farmland in the middle of essentially nowhere is way, way quicker.”
Greg also puts the slowness of the build down to his refusal to dilute his and his existing shareholders’ stock holdings to chase quick capital.
The Gold Coast pool, he says, is back at the looking-for-land stage after the the local government re-zoned the site for a highway bypass.
Is it still a chance to be built?
“God knows, actually.”
What he’s got for me today are three pretty cool-looking designs that have the potential, on paper at least, of turning shitty waves into spinning wedges.
First thing is a vee-wall, a fifty-metre long portable sea-wall that can be stuck anywhere on a beach to turn a corresponding length of sand from closeouts into “mechanically perfect” wedges.
These things cost around $A200,000 and Greg hopes they’ll become a gateway drug to councils and developers to buy his thirty-million dollar vee-reef.
“The vee-walls are incredible fun. They achieve a lot for the average surfer. Have ten or twenty of ‘em along a stretch of coast and he’ll be able to get away from all the other nutcases.”
The vee-reef, he says, are three hundred metres long, base to tip, and they’ll create “a phenomenal wave, a world-class wave that is like two Supa Banks, back to back. How the fuck wouldn’t you want to ride something like that? Of course, it’s the same deal as the Supa Bank, crowd-wise, unless you’re building seven or eight of them.”
Therefore, Greg recommends a mixture of vee-walls and vee-reefs for somewhere like the Gold Coast where overcrowding has made surfing there, for the most, a Mad Max-esque experience.
Greg has sat on the reef and wall idea since 2015 ‘cause he didn’t want divert attention away from his pool. Now, he figures his little 200-grand walls may have the potential to convince someone to stump up the two million bucks needed to build a single channel, linear wave pool to show the world how good it is.
Same plough sorta idea as Kelly, but with his patented reverse current to make the wave “hollow as fuck.”
Third invention? An EVA blanket that sits under water and that’ll act like a kelp bed and keep the surface of the water clean even in an unfavourable wind.
“You can ride an onshore day and there’ll be no surface chop at all,” he says.
The vee-reef, which would be anchored in deep water offshore, also comes with shark nets, which opens an interesting, and compelling I think, philosophical side to Webber. He says that by employing the old we’re-in-their-environment-deal-with-it argument every time a surfer or swimmer is hit by a shark, we’re doing society a grave disservice.
“These nets are to appease environmentalists so sharks, dolphins, whales or any other loveable sea creature doesn’t even get a graze from the reef,” he says. “I am being a bit facetious but I do count human lives above the life of a shark or any fish, really. There’s a biological instinct that makes us fearful of deep water just as children are scared of the dark. As adults, we can rationalise the dark but when you’re sitting in deep, dark water no rationalising can stop that fear. And, I think, we all need to become more comfortable with the ocean, not less. And the only way to do that is for more people to surf or to feel comfortable swimming out into the ocean. The more people who use the ocean, the more who will want to protect it.
“We make a mistake when we favour the shark at the expense of the happiness of billions of people. If a billion people are happier by being immerse in the water, you’re having a large-scale effect on the way people think about life, society and materialism. The ocean gives us that.”
He’s feeling his 200-grand vee-walls, knows they’re affordable enough to actually be built.
“Not this thirty million dollar fucking nightmare (wave pools),” he says. “These are a two-hundred thousand dollar wet dream. I’m excited.”