The environmental paradox as explained by the man powering the waves at Palm Springs Surf Club…
There’s no bigger name in the wavepool game than San Diego’s Thomas J Lochtefeld, a former tax lawyer turned water park proprietor turned creator of surf dreams.
Lochtefeld got his surf chops threading caves at Big Rock in La Jolla, San Diego, and has spent the last thirty-five years trying to recreate similar thrills at the punch of a button.
In 1987, he sold his share in a bunch of theme parks for two million dollars and used that cash, as well the sale of his beachfront joint at La Jolla for 950k to create a standing wave, called Flowrider, that ended up being installed in over 200 joints in thirty-five countries.
In 1999, the Swiss watch company Swatch toured a souped up version of the Flowrider called Bruticus Maximus and that caused more permanent injuries in one year than Teahupoo in the last thirty, around the world: from Florence to Munich, Vienna, Hanover, Long Beach, San Diego, Manila and Sydney, with Tony Hawke, Kelly Slater, Chris Miller and Terje Haakonsen wowing crowds with a surf, snow, skate combo of airs and tubes.
Lochtefeld’s real goal, however, was a wave that didn’t involve standing waves and finless mini-boards.
As computer tech got better, he deepened his research on the different ways of making waves: hydraulics, ploughs, boats.
Lochtefeld ended up using pneumatics, which is pretty much wind power, to birth his newest invention, called WaveLoch, and being used, right now, as the tech behind the Palm Springs Surf Club, currently in the proof-of-concept phase and only half the size of his proposed build.
“It’s going to be an A-frame so you can backdoor it,” says Lochtefeld.
Lochtefeld ain’t afraid to call a spade a spade, as they used to say, and is a born entertainer.
You’ll dig this one.
Note: The surfer with the fabulous capacity for booze in between sessions on Bruticus Maximus and that Lochtefeld couldn’t remember during the interview was Matt Hoy and the ovum, egg story he references can be read by clicking here.
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