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Founded by visionary Tom Lochtefeld who had the dream of taking the sport of surfing beyond the beach, flowboarding is rapidly gaining a foothold in the greater board-riding conscious, and is being touted as the future of action sports. But Tom wasn’t the first person to have this dream, and the history of wave machines, wave pools and surf machines dates as far back as the 1920s.
Traditional wave machines, or wave pools, were often marketed as surf pools, but were not very rider-friendly because they were designed to get as many people in the water as possible. While splashing around and colliding in the dissipating wave energy that was created by pumps and plungers was an added thrill, none of these wave pools came remotely close to satisfying the needs of true wave riding enthusiasts.
It wasn’t until the late 1980s that anything came close to re-creating the thrills and challenge of the ocean. That was when Wave Loch founder Tom Lochtefeld developed “sheet wave” technology. Tom Lochtefeld is the Wizard of Big Rock. Growing up in La Jolla, California, and honing his technique in the barrel at the local surf break that provided his wizardry, (a hollow left slab to the south of Windansea), Lochtefeld graduated with a law degree from USD and set out on a real estate/waterpark/mad scientist career path to develop a new kind of artificial wave technology that would deliver the Big Rock barrel to the world.
Tom’s technology solved the biggest hurdle to bringing the thrill of surfing to the inland masses by creating a ride that provided ample energy and the necessary ride surface that fit in a relatively tight space. Wave Loch’s surf machines harnessed the power and challenge of the ocean in closed systems that share the same footprint as a family pool, rather than an Olympic sized one.
Things haven't ended there though. Tom and the team at Wave Loch are still looking at ways of bringing wave riding to the world in new and innovative ways. Sheet wave technology is only the start and the future is indeed looking bright.