How to create the best wavepool on earth and why Surf Lakes gonna self-destruct!
All that heat about the new Palm Springs Surf Club wavepool, featuring the tech of wavepool king Tom Lochtefeld, has been entirely warranted despite earlier fears it was a modern incarnation of the old Disney Typhoon Lagoon.
Three years ago, the world’s best surfers lined up to ride the then proto-wavepool built on the site of the old Wet N Wild, the same pool used in the opening sequences of North Shore, a film from 1987 that tells the fictional tale of Arizona’s Rick Kane, a boy from a broken home who learns to surf in a wavepool and then attempts to transpose his skills to Pipeline with mostly pleasing results.
The Tom Lochtefeld tech, which is called Surf Loch, is diff to Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, Wavegarden, American Wave Machines and Surf Lakes. It uses a combo of vacuum and pressure to make waves.
“An opening at the bottom of each chamber allows the wave energy pulse to be released into open water independently of each other. The controlled variations of the independent pulses can generate an infinite variety of wave swells.”
The Hawaiian-raised surfer Cheyne Magnusson, who turned the Waco tank into the hottest party in town, was handpicked to run the tank and help push it to its full potential.
“He is a phenomenal wave composer, a virtuoso on our equipment,” says Tom Lochtefeld.
“I come in and play the piano,” Cheyne told me of his role complementing the Surf Loch tech. “Give me a bunch of knobs to move water and I can make it sing.”
The pint-sized proto was built and surfers, including Mason Ho, Jackson Dorian etc, came from all over the world, flared and made clips. The pool was then demolished to make way for the full-sized tank, which opens to the public on January 1, 2024.
Tom Lochtefeld is a long-time friend of BeachGrit and its co-master Charlie Smith.
In this long-form interview Lochtefeld reveals the secrets behind creating better-than-perfect waves, why Surf Lakes is gonna self-destruct and why the Slater plough is destined for the junkyard.