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Big Surf Waterpark

Location: Tempe, AZ, USA
Date: 1969
Creator(s): Dexter, Phil

The first wave pool in North America to consistently generate 3-5 foot spilling waves suitable for surfing

Big Surf Waterpark uses 15 gates that empty water into a 2.5 acre lagoon with contours that replicate a natural beach. Waves are produced by pumping water to a pre-selected height and released through underwater gates. The water released breaks over a baffle (similar to a natural reef), forming one wave per cycle. Water is recirculated to the lagoon through pumps.

Referred to as "Waikiki Beach," Big Surf currently runs on the same equipment that was installed in 1969. All hydraulic systems are original. Minor modifications have included the replacement of solenoids. Also, the pool was reduced in size in the 1990s and as a result the waves were reduced to 3 feet in height.

Tags: Era: 1970-1979
Innovation designated by:
Designed by Phil Dexter, the facility uses 15 gates that empty water from a reservoir into a 2.5 million gallon lagoon with contours that replicate a natural beach.
1500 N. McClintock Dr.
Tempe, AZ, USA

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