The past and the future of artifical playspots

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tube6You are interessted in an artifical playspot for surfing and paddling? Not one of those shitty holes – no. An amazing wave for all those cool tricks you want to be able to perform… just read more :)

The history of making artifical white water courses and playspots is not exactly glorious.

Of course there are a few ones that worked. The famous Eiskanal in Augsburg certainly has a potential as a playspot and the Penrith, Sydney white water course constructed in dry Australia is certainly great. But it looks like there are a lot of failures around as well.

We are not aware of any artificial feature with a big, fast wave, that you require nowadays for the real fun rodeo stuff. There is Hawaii Sur Rhone in Lyon, which looks fabulous and is artificial? But it happened – it was designed not on purpose! And then there is Plattling of course, which is also a good place, if more of a whole than a wave.

But then there are also plenty of failures. The now defunct Rattenloch (thanks
to some so called enhancements), the not so great Silzer wave on the Inn and
the newest and probably biggest failure is the world championship terminiator
trashhole in Graz. I am sure there is a lot more around too.

So why do these always go wrong? We are not sure, but some obvious things seem
to be forgotten all the time.

  1. The river and water is very powerful. This is why a wooden planck in the
    water with some ropes will not work unless you have solid anchors, steel ropes
    and so on.
  2. Water levels vary. The consequence of this dynamic behaviour is that
    unless your feature can adapt to the water levels or you can adjust the water
    level the quality of the playspot will vary.
  3. Natural river beds are dynamic and rivers carry more than water. Just have
    a look at any bigger flood and you will see logs and all sorts of stuff
    drifting down the river potentially stuffing up your installation. Not to
    mention that the actual river bed changes. Unless you create an artifical
    river bed it will move and your beautifully arranged rocks or whatever will
    simply not be there any more after the next flood. You can ask the guys in
    Silz how that feels.

Now it suddenly looks much more complicated, doesn’t it? Well yes and no.
Certainly throwing a few rocks in the river will not work in the long run, but
we are sure that a proper artificial playspot can be made. There are so many
natural ones as a model it sure must be possible to create an artifical one.

What you probably will need is

  1. enough water (this can be a problem with seasonal rivers)
  2. enough of a drop to create a fast flow
  3. a controlled water flow and/or playspot creating feature
  4. and of course quite a bit of money, networking and so to get it happening.

We recently found out about a new approach that looks quite promising. Check
out for more information. Coming from a surfing
background they are trying to get things to happen in Munich. It would be
great, if you could show them your support. After all we are all after the
epic ride!!!

Manfred & Werner