29 June 2018 • Gideon Wille
Indoor surf pool: from final thesis to real-life prototype
Clear blue sky, a bit of a breeze. But why is the die hard wave surfer Joeri Fredriks on the beach of Scheveningen and not in the water waiting for the next wave? Because he is in the Volvo Ocean Race’s innovation pavilion of the Volvo Ocean Race, enthusing visitors for the first indoor surf pool in the Netherlands.
Joeri got the idea for his indoor surf pool when he was training the son of his business partner, Jeroen den Otter, to surf. The conditions for surfing are not always ideal in the Netherlands so it takes a lot of time to become good. People learn more quickly in stable conditions with regular waves. An indoor surf pool would give the Dutch surf sport a great push forward.
Joeri was smitten by the idea and, in the third year of his Sport Studies at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, he decided to do his graduation research and write his final thesis on this subject. “Just before I started my graduation research, I set up the Stichting Surfpark with Jeroen and others,” he explains. “A wave pool like this was completely new. I believed that we should research it and I could use the data about the surfing market and feasibility later to interest municipalities and investors. His course at THUAS gave him the tools he needed to get started. “In a subject like Entrepreneurship, I learned to make connections between knowledge and practice.”
Noud van Herpen, Sport Studies lecturer, undertook a few study trips with Joeri and acted as a sounding board during Joeri’s graduation process. “Our students graduate on the basis of professional products – products which can really be used in practice. In the degree programmes, we do not work with multiple choice tests anymore, but with things that the students will face in their professional practice. We want to make the graduation process as real as possible. The wave pool is not only a good example of this, but also a good example of the fact that a graduation thesis can be the start of your career. As a lecturer, this gives me a kick.”
The Hague University of Applied Sciences is a partner in Joeri’s project. Noud sees opportunities for Sport Studies students to do internships there and for Human Kinetic Technology students to do experiments in the wave pool. Over the next year, the student Pepijn Tigges will do a marketing internship at 24/7Waves, the company behind the wave pool. At his end, Joeri will give guest lectures and his graduation thesis will be used as an example in the classes.
The key question is: will there be an indoor surf pool three years after Joeri graduates? Joeri says that “In Australia, they are currently building a wave pool. Using the technology we have available, we will build a prototype of 80 by 20 metres in an old factory hall in the former industrial area of De Binckhorst. Our crowdfunding is well underway and we are working hard on subsidies and with banks. Our plan is to start building in September so that the first surfers can ride the waves at the end of 2018.
The Hague University of Applied Sciences and the Volvo Ocean Race
The Hague University of Applied Sciences showed how multi-facetted it is at the innovation pavilion of the Volvo Ocean Race in Scheveningen. It showcased several projects in the ‘Quality of Life Humans and Technology’ research programme such as protheses which help people with disabilities to swim again. The Healthy Lifestyle in a Supporting Environment research group gave a demonstration of the Athletic Skills Track. Sport Studies students gathered data for their graduation research during the Ocean Race event.
Joeri Frederiks and Noud van Herpen