Popular Science


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Wave pools let anyone enjoy a surfing safari, and pros like the machine-made barrels because they are consistent and customizab­le. Several Olympians have practiced in Waco, Texas, at BSR Surf Resort, which uses a pneumatic system called PerfectSwe­ll from American Wave Machines. Here’s how it works.

1/Twenty-four air pistons along the pool’s rear wall fire sequential­ly at intervals with only microsecon­ds between them.

2/Each volley can release more than 1 million pounds of thrust, sending swells of up to 150,000 gallons surging forward.

3/The pool floor imitates rolling undersea topography, pushing the water up and down to increase the wave’s size and power.

4/Breakers dissipate in a 180-degree arc along three sides of the basin, which holds a total of 2.7 million gallons of faux ocean.

5/Surfers rest in the shallows at the edges before paddling out for another ride on waves that can be as tall as they are.

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