#252 Big Surf Waterpark


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

ASME President Madiha Kotb (right), with Big Surf Waterpark General Manager Bob Pena (left), and John Cournoyer, grandson of Big Surf inventor, Phil Dexter after plaque unveiling.
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.

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.

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Landmark Location

1500 N. McClintock Dr. / Hayden Rd.
Tempe, Ariz.
(480) 994-2297

Visiting Info:

Open seasonally, from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend

Ceremony Notes:

August 17, 2013

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