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21st Centrury Playboating: who needs nature :-?

An exclusive article for PLAYAK.COM by [mail address protected from spambots with javascript] ">Arnd Schaeftlein about completely artificial playspots.

Man-made waves have formed a hot topic on many discussion boards lately. Mostly the question is how to adopt a river feature to get a better wave than before. The surfers are one step ahead of the kayakers and are now able to play without any natural feature at all. They use the big, totally artificial waves from WaveLoch (eg the Swatch wave) for this. In our continuous search for the perfect kayak playspot, we couldn't help wondering how well such systems might be adjusted for paddlers. Whom better to ask than the only person who has used them with a paddle already in 1999, and who is in close contact with the inventors of the system, Waveloch, to make our dream come true, [mail address protected from spambots with javascript] ">Arnd Schaeftlein? Read below what Arnd has planned for the good of all playboaters.

50 kmh!

Imagine 5 cms of water rushing over a padded construction in the form of a wave with almost 50 kmh. Surfers and boogieboarders flowboarding on a Waveloch using specially designed foam boards without fins. That means that you cannot take your ordinary kayak and paddle on a Waveloch wave, as that would destroy the fragile surface!

Foam kayaks and hand paddles

To be able to surf the flowrider during the opening event of the Swatch-Wave tour in Munich last year, I made a tiny sit-on-top foamboard with foot- and thigh straps and padded a very short eskimo acrobat paddel with foam. I had a few rides, did a bunch of flatspins, blunts and even got a few tuberides! The best move I got was when Kelly Slater started to give me shit about my surfing on the butt and I stuck a big old airborn barrel roll coming out of a tuberide... There is a lot of potential to do some very radical moves due to the shape of the wave and the speed of the water.

To have a chance to introduce kayaking on existing waves, a hand paddle glove out of neopren instead of a paddle and a custom made sit-on-top out of the same material as the boards, will make it easier to convince waterpark owners with a Waveloch sytem to allow paddlers on the wave.

The real stuff!

There is a huge potential for kayaking on an artificial wave designed by Waveloch, if not so much on the existing ones, more for the ones to come in the future. Waveloch is working on a wave which can be surfed in a normal kayak. They already advertise these 'options' with juicy names like 'Deep Flow Channel', 'Action River' and 'Tidal Wave River', but none have been sold yet. The current plans are to install it below an existing dam, to have the pressure and amount of water to make it possible. The first one may be installed in France, since EDF (the French electricity company) already requested information from Waveloch about the possibilty to have a wave for this purpose.

Way to go for the perfect (if you are not too much of a nature fan, that is :-) playspot!

Article by [mail address protected from spambots with javascript] , slightly edited by PLAYAK.COM

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