The Perfect Swell Technology That Brought You The Waco Ramp Is Launching In New Jersey And Brazil
A conversation with AMW's head honcho, Bruce McFarland on The American Dream wave pool in New Jersey, and Sao Paulo's synthetic near-reality.
Bruce McFarland and his company American Wave Machines is responsible for the technology behind the BSR Surf Resort in Waco, Texas.
AMW / Perfect Swell have been more selective with who and where is getting their tech, and for good reason. They're not trying to make false promises, and they've kept their press releases to a minimum. But, he’s about to throw down the gauntlet in the world of wave pools. With the American Dream project in New Jersey ready to produce surf any day now, and another project in development outside of Sao Paulo, Brazil, his Perfect Swell tech is quickly making the inland world a more wave-rich place. Stab caught up with McFarland this week after returning home from a scouting mission to Sao Paulo. While it seems Wavegarden Technology has plans all over the world, with many seeming to struggle to come to fruition.
Stab: How did this latest development in Brazil come about?
Bruce: We found out this real estate developer in Brazil called JHSF was trying to get ahold of us. We eventually connected. They’ve got experience and projects under their belt. so we engaged with them. On two occasions we had representatives out to Perfect Wave BSR to see their facility and ride the waves. And they came back from that 100-percent wanting to do something on their next development.
So, that got us up to the pre-development phase, now we're in the pre-design phase. And then we’ll be moving rapidly into the construction phases. I just got back from there, and it's exciting. We had the kick-off meeting and I was able to go meet them at their office in Sao Paulo and then go travel out into the country, a place called Boa Vista, and the pool is going to be in a place called Boa Vista Village. And to see the work they’ve already done and the architecture, it’s really cool.
This will be the first project we’re going to do with them. It’s a big pool with probably 20-second rides at full size. It’s going to be amazing.
So, it’s a bigger pool…or lake…what do you call it?
That’s a good question. There’s a lot of confusion about that. Right now we’re just calling it a pool. But when it comes down to actual construction and code compliance, there’s new and good words people are using, and I think “recreational lagoon” is going to be what they end up calling them. It can’t be called a pond anymore because a pond doesn’t have clean enough water. Whatever you call it, it’s going to have crystal clear, blue water and it’s gonna look like a pool.
And it will be bigger than BSR?
It’s going to have a longer swell by about 70-percent. The overall width is a little bit less, but it’s going to be a lot longer. It’s going to be a big facility.
When you say “full sized,” how big is that?
Well, we’re measuring right now the basic set waves at a constant six feet for the ride length. And that is trough to the top of the wave. It’s the one thing a computer can measure. It’s not that easy to measure in the field. But our computers are measuring them at six feet, and we were able to confirm that at BSR when we’re running full power.
And what’s the timeline on this?
They are looking for a late 2020 opening.
How far from the coast is it?
It’s interesting, you land at the airport, which is in the southeast corner of Sao Paulo, and the coast is only an hour and a half from there, traffic permitting. But these developments are north, so you go through the city and north. It’s beautiful up there. Everything’s really green. There’s little towns and stuff sprinkled around, it’s nice.
Is this part of a bigger development, will there be other attractions to draw people in and make money?
This first one is residential, but it will have commercial-type services in it. There are other developments, but there aren’t other water attractions. It’s a big enough pool that we can do a lot in it. And it’ll have a lot of nice architecture and restaurants and stuff around it. It’ll be a place where people can go and easily spend the day.
I know you always have a few irons in the fire, what else do you have cooking right now?
Our team is back in New Jersey right now at the American Dream and starting that up. We’ll have waves within the month. We’re waiting to see the first photos of waves and the guys on site are working on two Surf Streams and one indoor Perfect Swell. It’s got water and power and they’re just on a day by day basis now to start surfing. They’re literally putting the finishing touches on it right now.
Congratulations, I know you’ve been working on that one for a while now.
Yeah, it took a long time. What happened was the developer had nothing but persistence. No matter what hurdle came up they got through it. And there were plenty of hurdles. It’s a project we announced well before BSR, and it’s just now getting to open. That how long these things take some times, but I think this is going to be well worth it. We’re really excited.