Types and costs of adjustable river waves

A variety of adjustable river waves designs make good and consistent waves. Projects costs range from $100,000 creative commons designs to $3,500,000 patented wave systems. Low-cost wave designs can make excellent waves. This article provides simple diagrams and costs for wave types. All diagrams are based on published information in news articles, project pictures, or site visits.

Multi adjustable kicker system

Surf Anywhere created the innovative multi adjustable kicker system to provide high quality rivers waves at low cost that encourage more wave development. This system makes the widest variety of river waves of any wave system including lefts, rights, bowls, perpendicular, and more. The river wave multi adjustable kicker system is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons Licence

Model of flat bottom multi adjustable kicker system

Planned installation of 12m wide wave in 2023 or 2024 in the Lower Kananaskis River. Project is in the engineering and permitting stage. Designs and costs will be published as the project proceeds.

Simple diagram of flat bottom multi adjsutable kicker system

The sliding kickers allows the creation of different wave shapes. Diagrams are not to scale.

  1. Height of the fixed ramp provides the drop.
  2. Fixed ramp accelerates the water.
  3. Kicker angle shapes the wave steepness
  4. Not needed.
  5. Kicker positions changes wave type.
  6. Tailwater gate controls tailwater elevation.

Model of ramp multi adjustable kicker system

This ramp system provides low cost and simple tailwater management for locations with large variations in tailwater. A 15m wide wave is in engineering and permitting stage. More details will be provided as project progresses.

Simple diagram of ramp bottom multi adjustable kicker system

Diagrams are not to scale.

  1. Height of the fixed ramp provides the drop.
  2. Fixed ramp accelerates the water.
  3. Kicker angle shapes the wave steepness
  4. Not needed.
  5. Kicker position creates wave at different tailwaters and changes wave shape.

Kicker at the end of a ramp

The kicker at the end of a ramp wave type is a public domain design that consistently makes good perpendicular waves for low cost. More complex versions that adjust ramp angles as well as kicker angle may have patents.

WaveWidth Cost of completed projectsYear builtWave design
Almwelle, Austria5mLow. 90,000 EUR2010Graz Building Waves
Bend, USA11mMedium. Small part of a large $9.7M whitewater and natural park.2016Surf Anywhere and River Restoration
Don-Surf, Russia7mLow.2020Don-Surf
AnnecyWave, France8mLow. 90,000 EUR.2021Surfeurs d’eau Douce and Hydrostadium
Blackforest Wave, Germany4.5mLow. 80,000 EUR.2021Blackforest Wave e.V.

Example waves that use variations of a kicker at the end of a ramp

Simple diagram of kicker at end of a ramp

  1. Headwater gate controls the drop size.
  2. Fixed ramp accelrates the water for the wave.
  3. Kicker shapes the wave angle.
  4. Not needed.
  5. Not needed.
  6. Tailwater gate controls tailwater elevation.

Suspended ramps

These wave systems produce excellent waves, are patented, and they are very expensive. The suspended ramp systems involved precisely lifting and controlling large steel structures weighing over 10 tonnes.

WaveWidth Cost of completed projectsYear builtLicensor
The.RiverWave, Austria10mHigh. Around 2,000,000 EUR.2019Patented by The.RiverWave
Nuernberg Dauerwelle, Germany8mHigh. 2,400,000 EUR.  2022Patented by DreamWave
Wolfratshausen wave, German8mHigh. 1,400,000 EUR.On holdPatented by DreamWave

The.RiverWave

Simple diagram of The.RiverWave

Diagrams are not to scale. The ramp is lifted at both the upstream and downstream ends. Tailwater is managed by raising and the lowering the ramp. Wave can be made to disappear as needed.

  1. Upstream part of ramp sets the height of the drop.
  2. Ramp accelerates the water and helps set wave steepness. Ramp can be fully lowered.
  3. Kicker angle shapes the wave steepness
  4. Trash gate prevents large material and people from going under the ramp.

Nuernberg-Dauerwelle

Simple diagram of Nuermberg-Dauerwelle

Diagrams are not to scale. The ramp is rotated to lift upstream end. Downstream end may be liftable. Tailwater is managed by raising and the lowering the ramp. Wave can be made to disappear as needed.

  1. Upstream part of ramp sets the height of the drop.
  2. Ramp accelerates the water and helps set wave steepness. Ramp can be fully lowered.
  3. Kicker angle shapes the wave steepness

Adjustable ramps without kickers

These wave systems produce good waves, are patented, and have a medium to high cost.

WaveWidthCost of completed projectsYear builtLicense
Boise Phase 1 – Waveshaper 2, USA6.5m or 10mMedium to high. Part of a $3M+ whitewater park.2012Patented by McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group.
Boise Phase 1 – Waveshaper 3, USA8mMedium to high. Part of a $3M+ whitewater park.2012Patented by McLaughlin Whitewater Design Group.

Boise Phase 1 – Waveshaper 2

Simple diagram of Waveshaper 2

Diagrams are not to scale.

  1. Headwater gate sets the drop height.
  2. Ramp accelerates the water and sets wave shape.
  3. No kicker.
  4. Trash gate prevents objects and people from going under the ramp.

Boise Waveshaper 3

Simple diagram of Waveshaper 3

Diagrams are not to scale.

  1. Pneumatic bladder inflates or deflates to raise of lower the ramp. The upstream end of the ramp sets the drop height.
  2. The ramp angle sets the wave shape. The downstream end of the ramp is raised or lowered using hydraulics.
  3. No kicker.
  4. Trash gate prevents objects and people from going under the ramp.