July 26, 2022

Wyve tests the Wave Garden

You may have seen it recently on our social networks, a part of the Wyve team went to the Alaïa Bay wave pool in Switzerland for a competition. 

This wave pool in the middle of the mountains gives a sci-fi feeling! Why did we go there? What were our first emotions and surfing feelings? 

We tell you everything!

One year after we made our first test session there, we went back to Alaïa Bay for new R&D tests, with new boards and new surfers. One of our riders, Lionel, participated in a competition organized by Alaia Bay and Boardriders.

We took a bunch of Wyve boards with us that had the same shape but a structurally different construction in terms of composite and 3D mesh. The goal of this process was to have one of our team riders, Lionel Lourenço, testing these boards in order to collect and identify his feelings on each precise moment of the wave and then link them to our mechanical test benches. Meaning, to correlate the surfing feelings with laboratory datas. Having an artificial wave, offering similar conditions, allowed us to repeat turns and compare the boards with others.

Lionel was able to test them both in free surfing and during the friendly contest. Tony Voisin, was onboard with us to shoot the whole weekend.

photos @tonyvoisin

"When I got to Alaïa, I was like a kid entering Aqualand. I just wanted to get in the water and see how the Wyve boards would react. Before getting in the water, I first took the time to check the wave entry, the wave line, the hollow and flat parts of the wave. I started to visualize the different surfing options I could get. When I got in the pool, I felt the same excitement as during my first session in Uluwatu or Taapuna. I was there for a period of time and each wave had to be surfed and optimized to its maximum. I didn't want to waste one. So I focused on getting my first wave in.

Taking off, I was surprised how hollow the wave could be. When I first leaned into the bottom of the wave, I felt the board responding perfectly to the compression in the turn and in the exit of the bottom turn, just before the “going up” phase where the board gave all the acquired energy back. I was able to make a first sharp top turn. It was the first of many. Wyve boards gave me a great feeling.

photos @tonyvoisin

A friendly competition within the test sessions

During the Alaia Bay x Boardriders competition, 24 amateur surfers, including Lionel, competed during the qualification phases. These phases were composed of 4 heats of 4 surfers getting 4 waves each: two rights and two lefts. The best score of each surfer's right and left were added together to make a total score. The surfer with the best result of each heat was directly selected for the finals with, in duo wtih Quiksilver and Roxy pro riders. Lionel finished far and away first in the qualifying heat with very good results, scored by Patrick Beven and Christian Bradley. 

"At the end of the day, the Alaïa x Boardriders challenge started. The only motivation for me was to win to get through the rounds and enjoy surfing as much as possible. The heats went really fast and I was really happy to be able to test the different wave levels." 

For the semi-finals, the 6 qualifiers found themselves competing in a duo with a pro-rider. Lionel was paired with Francisca Veselko, aka Kika, a Portuguese surfer from the Roxy team. Each duo had to compete with two other duos, randomly chosen. All surfers had to surf only the barrel mode (B1). Despite the good results that Francisca and Lionel had, second and third best results of the semis, one of the team they were competing against got the best result, which stopped them right before the final... They still finished on the 3rd step of the podium.

"I got caught up in the game. In the semi-final, I tried a nograb backside barrel to stand out from the other competitors, but unfortunately, the barrel was a little short and my pelvis hit the curl... I got caught by the lip and then fell. We weren't far from making the final, I was a little disappointed but still satisfied."

photos @tonyvoisin
Francisca Veselko & Lionel Lourenço

A large variety of waves which requires a little time of adaptation

During the weekend, we had the chance to test different types of waves: Experts (T1, T2, B1), Pro (T2, B1) and T3. We loved the T3 waves which were only during the competition. It is the biggest “turn wave” where it was possible to realize aerial maneuvers, snaps, carves etc...

We immediately noticed that the feeling of surfing in the pool and in the sea was very different. First of all, as it is clear water, we felt less buoyancy. There’s a current turning in a specific direction, as well.

"It took us some time to adapt, for the first wave, the best was to cruise and understand how the wave worked with the water movements. This allowed us to get up, to speed in the wave, to feel it and identify its potential."

photos @tonyvoisin

Being able to surf a perfect wave that is always the same makes Alaïa Bay a unique experience with outstanding feelings and a lot of datas from the tests. The setting was magical with a very friendly atmosphere. However, nothing can compete with surfing sessions in a natural environment. Surfing waves at home, waiting for the set, paddling towards the wave, feeling free to choose, and pushing your limits in difficult conditions gives surfing more adrenaline.

What we take away from this experience

We take away a lot of positives from this experience. First of all, in terms of data from the different tests, which will be used and correlated with those from our test benches. This will allow us to develop our products and validate some mechanical results measured. Moreover, it was the first time that a Wyve board was surfed during a competition and we are proud of the outcome (Bravo Lionel!).

In our opinion, these wave pools are interesting for the high level athletes training and the product development. 

Nevertheless, this type of session will remain exceptional for us because most of our "field" tests can be performed in natural conditions. 

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