The centerpiece of any major water park is their Wave Pool.
So, how do they make the waves?
For very small pools and marine engineering test tanks, a paddle is used. Waves are formed by simply swishing a mechanically operated paddle at one end of the tank. Size and frequency of waves is directly related to how vigorously the paddle laps at the water.
For mid-sized wave and surf rider pools (to 150,000 gallons) featuring 1' to 4' waves, a quantity of water is dumped periodically into one end of the pool from an above-ground reservoir. Pumps constantly refill the reservoir from the pool and the size and frequency of waves is strictly dependant on the size of the reservoir and how quickly it can be refilled.
One of our Winter renovations was this Wave Pool, capable of 3' to 6' waves.
The photo (right) shows five of the eight surge chambers at the deep end of this 750,000 gallon wave pool. The openings you see are at the bottom of 10' wide by 5' deep shafts that rise almost 12' or just under the finished deck elevation (where the center lifeguard chair sits). Stainless steel gates (removed for access, visible leaning against the pool wall left, center) keeps guests out of harms way. A long, narrow pumproom sits directly behind these surge chambers.
Air blasts into the top of each surge chamber in repetitive, 3-6 second pulses. With each surge, the water level is driven further and further down the shaft.
When the air halts, water roars back into the chamber.
Another blast of air repeats the process.
Water boils and plummets within the surge chamber, forcing water on the pool side of the chamber wall to do the same. These eruptions rush to the shallow end as waves.
With a maximum depth of 6' to 8', the pool floor is a constant slope up to zero depth entry; there is nothing to step over, you simply walk in. This gradual loss of depth and the sudden widening at mid point in the pool wall rapidly steals energy from the wave and it arrives at the shallow end as a gentle lap .
Screaming, twin 80 HP air blasters and insulated 14" stainless steel conduit provide the pressure necessary to form 3' to 6' waves regulatable to a frequency of 3 to 6 seconds.
Each blaster drives four of the 600 cf (cubic foot) surge chambers.
14" steel flapper vents, visible next to each yellow pressure inlet, release air into the pumproom when the chambers re-fill with water. A switch linked to the air blaster shifts all 16 air and vent flappers in a fraction of a second.
For safety, the head lifeguard (seated in the center deck chair and always in visual contact with every other guard) carries a wireless 'kill switch' that instantly shuts down the blaster. The pool surface will settle down in a matter of seconds, assuring quick location of any swimmer in distress.
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