3D River Wave Research

River wave design continues to evolve. While there are plenty of natural river wave features that are surfable on a shortboard, a lot of the highest-performance waves are artificial structures. A lot of those structures, like Nikki’s at River Run Park, involve a channel with a single plate or structure in the water that is perpendicular to the river’s flow (Benni’s, by contrast, has three different plates). Other waves, like Eagle or Glenwood, involve fixed structures in the current.

Neil Egsgard of Surf Anywhere has been trying to push this particular envelope, modeling artificial waves with multiple plates that are adjustable not only up and down (like the flaps of an airplane), but also move forward and backwards. Once that three-dimensional adjustability comes into the mix, it allows for significantly more complex wave shapes. For lots more reading, photos, and videos, head over here.

So far as I know, none of these shapes (or the more complicated plate system) have seen real-world testing, so I’m curious to see how full-scale tests go (I may have a chance to pick Neil’s brain about it in the future). It still seems like the translation from scale models to real life involves some black magic when it comes to whitewater parks and wave design. But if these structures work and are low-enough maintenance to stay in service, the future seems bright.