Ben Silk rides a man-made wave of his own.
Ben Silk rides a man-made wave of his own. John Mccutcheon

Webber quiet on Coast pool plan as Slater makes waves

WHILE Greg Webber is tight-lipped about his Coast wave pool plans, one former Australian surfing champion believes Webber will have to pull out all the stops to outdo Kelly Slater.

The world of surfing was sent into a spin over Kelly Slater's revelation of a wave pool design that creates perfect barrels.

But Mr Webber, the man set to bring his groundbreaking wave pool technology to the Coast, remained tight-lipped on its progress.

The founder and designer of Webber Wave Pool has had a long-running race with Slater spanning more than a decade.

While their ideas evolved at similar times, Slater focused on a Soliton style of wave while Mr Webber developed a Kelvin Wave.

Mr Webber's wave design produces a trough in front of the wave, which Slater's one does not.

Since Mr Webber secured a design patent in 2008, Slater and his business partner, Adam Fincham, were rejected twice by the US Patent Office when they attempted to secure their own designs under the Kelly Slater Wave Company brand.

They have since succeeded in securing a number of patents.

Mr Webber on Sunday contained his emotions on Slater's You Tube video, which went viral in a matter of hours on Saturday.

"I can't say anything much at the moment since we haven't had a chance to discuss the patent issue fully," he said.

"It may or may not breach any of our claims.

"The wave angle suggests that it's using a similar technique to ours but without knowing exactly what their hull or foil system is we cannot pass judgement."

A hull or foil is what displaces water to send a wake that forms a sustained wave.

In July 2014, Mr Webber told the Daily two of his wave pools were being considered by the Waterplay consortium for their Sunshine Park.

The proposed $90 million theme park, set on a 24 hectare Steve Irwin Way block, was granted preliminary approval by the council in January.

Wave pools highlighted in the plans were to be 160m by 90m and 200m by 100.

The bigger of Mr Webber's designs could produce 1000 waves an hour with 500 at a height of two metres running 200 metres and another 250 at each end breaking on a "V-shaped" reef to one metre high.

Which would you prefer: Man made waves or what nature has to offer at the beach?

This poll ended on 28 December 2015.

Current Results

Leave it to Huey. The good days wouldn't be as good without the bad ones to compare them to.

9%

A wave pool would be better for consistency.

11%

Beach on good days, wave pool on bad days.

78%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Mr Webber yesterday declined to comment on the project or whether it was still in the pipeline.

But the winner of the wave pool race did not matter for Ben "Silky" Silk, he just hoped the technology would finds its way to the Sunshine Coast.

The former Australian surfing champ and surf school instructor said the realisation of a wave pool that delivered consistent "fairly perfect" waves was like a boyhood dream come true.

"Greg (Webber) might have to go back to the drawing board to make his just little bit better than Kelly's," he said.

"I used to surf against Greg's younger brothers Will and Ben when we were kids and this is something we've always dreamed about.

"I think anyone that starts surfing young dreams of wave pools and perfect waves and not all of us have got the funds to put those dreams into action like Kelly has."

Mr Silk said he had been keeping a close eye on the Sunshine Park development as it had great potential from both learn to surf and professional development points of view.

"Twelve months ago I had been in touch with Greg and had suggested maybe getting the surf school in there," he said.

"People would be able to go into the pool in a controlled environment and have them send down the right wave for their ability, it's just amazing for those who are just learning.

"It would also be a great training tool as well.

"In the end, it will never match what we've got in the ocean, but this phenomenal technology is going to change surfing if it can be reproduced all over the world."



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