June 2, 2008

Offshore wave break – Wicked, Dude!

As I was falling asleep and visualizing breakwaters (design, manufacture, and deployment thereof), I thought about how my favored breakwater design works by making the waves pile up and break (as opposed to being a wall that breaks the waves).  And suddenly I realized that, if it was deployed in a circle to protect a seastead colony…it would be a never-ending surf break!

And we could even shape the resulting waves, since Wikipedia tells us:

The factor which most determines wave shape is the topography of the seabed directly behind and immediately beneath the breaking wave. The contours of the reef or sand bank influence wave shape in two respects. Firstly, the steepness of the incline is proportional to the resulting upthrust. When a swell passes over a sudden steep slope, the force of the upthrust causes the top of the wave to be thrown forward, forming a curtain of water which plunges to the wave trough below. Secondly, the alignment of the contours relative to the swell direction determines the duration of the breaking process. When a swell runs along a slope, it continues to peel for as long as that configuration lasts. When swell wraps into a bay or around an island, the breaking wave gradually diminishes in size, as the wave front becomes stretched by diffraction.

Since the "seabed" of the break will be an artificial structure, we can give it whatever topography will make for the gnarliest surfing.  In a place where the swells (and the reefers) will be huge and plentiful, this could be wicked!  And its gotta be good for our tourism prospects.

Hey, if you can Ski Dubai, why not surf in the middle of the ocean?