The perfect wave beyond the sea

Cooperation between LEITNER ropeways and Wavegarden

The world’s longest artificial surfing wave using ropeway technology

June 2015 - LEITNER ropeways has joined forces with Wavegarden, the market leader in artificial wave generation, to develop a system to create the world’s longest artificial surfing wave using ropeway technology. The wave breaks naturally, just like on a sand bar or reef, and can be regulated with respect to both size and speed.

The artificial waves are ideal for surfing, body-boarding, stand up paddling and swimming, while guaranteeing the highest recreational quality. The first perfect wave will roll this summer at the “Surf Snowdonia” water park in northern Wales. The first inland surfing facility in the USA is currently being built in Austin, Texas.

The central component of this new system is the gearless DirectDrive made by the South Tyrolean company, Leitner AG, one of the largest manufacturers of ropeway systems. The system consists of a synchronous motor working at low speed. In this way, up to 20 tons of water mass can be moved – from one end of the system to the other. Using ropeway technology, a watercraft, the “Wavefoil” is pulled through the system by the pier, thus creating a consistent swell generating waves between 0.5 and 1.9 meters high, allowing a surf ride of 18 to 35 seconds. The force and shape of the waves remain constant. It is hard to find a surf spot anywhere else on Earth with waves that break this perfectly all year long. Despite the high loads, the DirectDrive is extremely consistent. The elementary components of the drive are redundant and guarantee continuous operation. Compared to conventional systems, this results in significant advantages with respect to sustainability, economy and reliability. The drive generates very little sound to disturb surfers or spectators.

The integration of the DirectDrive with the revolutionary Wavegarden technology creates the perfect surfing opportunity, otherwise available only at the best surfing locations. Surfers of all skill levels can enjoy these ideal conditions. Since 2012, LEITNER ropeways and Wavegarden have developed technically demanding applications for generating the perfect wave. “Using DirectDrive technology we have achieved not only excellent results with our ropeway systems, but have also increased the efficiency and reliability of our wind turbines and urban transport systems. Due to the versatility of our DirectDrive technology, we are constantly striving to develop new application areas. Today we are very happy to have supported Wavegarden in creating the longest man-made surfing wave. DirectDrive is absolutely environmentally friendly with reduced noise, and functions without hazardous lubricants”, said Anton Seeber, member of the Board of Directors of the LEITNER Group.

Josema Odriozola, CEO of Wavegarden, is similarly enthusiastic about the cooperation with LEITNER ropeways. “In order to develop the required technology, it was necessary to work with a company that produces precision technology that is also highly reliable under extreme conditions. Around the world, systems by LEITNER ropeways transports people to ski stations on high mountains or to points of interest in urban areas. With their almost 125-year history, LEITNER ropeways is the perfect partner, and for us, they were the logical choice.”