How Do Wave Pools Work?

Wave pools are commonly found in resorts, recreational facilities, and water parks. But have you wondered how wave pools work? Just like regular pools, wave pools are chlorinated and sanitized, but how artificial waves are created?

Wave pools used varying technologies to generate waves like piston-powered paddles, pressurized air, hydrofoil, plunger, rotating foils, and water dumping. By employing these mechanisms, the waves are created for a more enjoyable swimming experience or year-round access to surfing.

Piston-powered Paddles

This mechanism uses large submerged paddles along the bottom part of the pool. The paddles move back and forth controlled by a hydraulic system consisting of hydraulic cylinders, pumps, and control valves. The paddles can be programmed to create different wave patterns for a more enjoyable experience for swimmers and surfers of different levels.

Pressurized Air

This technology utilizes pressurized air on the water’s surface to simulate ocean waves. Large air chambers are positioned on the sides or bottom part of the pool connected to a compressed air system. When compressed air is released into the chambers, this increases the air pressure within the chamber increases creating a burst of pressurized air causing the water to rise and form waves.

Hydrofoil or Plow Technology

This technique involves propelling a large submerged foil along the bottom part of the pool to displace water and initiate continuous waves. The foil is designed to work as a snowplow that is driven by a cable system. As it moves, it would push the water on each side copying rideable waves.


The plunger technology works like the toilet bowl plunger. The central large plunger when dropped displaces water creating concentric wave circles. When waves break and spread out, they can create different surfing waves accommodating various surfing skill levels.

Water Dumping

This method basically works by storing a large volume of water in the chamber and then releasing it suddenly into the deep end of the pool to generate a peeling wave.

Rotating Foils

The rotating foil system works by housing a rotating foil in a floating atoll displacing water to generate a series of waves within the perimeter. This approach does not only produce artificial waves but also purifies water while at the same time being economical in energy use.

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