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Elevator Pitch: AirWave, the standing wave machine

We gave AirWave founder Ross McCarthy a little longer than an elevator ride to convince us that his newly-launched fun machine has merit. 

So, what is AirWave?

It’s a standing wave machine for surfing, wakeboarding, waterskiing and other water-based sports.

Who is the AirWave for and why would they be interested in the product?

The great thing about the AirWave is that it kind of targets everyone. Because there’s no set form, the waves can be generated to fit the individual. So advanced surfers can certainly use it, but surfers who are in the 15-20 age bracket can use it as well.

Because the AirWave has no hard surfaces, we have an edge over our competitors because it’s great for beginners. People who have never surfed before can try it and feel safe that if they fall off the board, they’ll land on a soft surface. It makes the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.

How is the AirWave different from other artificial wave generating machines?

The difference with the AirWave is that there’s no solid structure to it. Everything is fluid-based so it’s kind of like a bouncy castle. Because there are no solid structures, it’s a lot safer for people to use as well.

It’s also different because you can actually manipulate the waves whenever you want while the machine is still running. So you can go from a large-left to a small-right, you can create barrels, and you can manipulate the face of the waves to make it easier for beginners.

What stage of the product are you in now?

We currently have our 'Slasher' single wave units available for sale, but our new double wave units are currently in development. With the AirWave Double, you can create a really large wave for a single surfer, and it also has full barrelling capacity. Alternatively, you can add in a partition to divide the AirWave in half so that two people can surf on the same wave at the same time.

Ross McCarthy, AirWave

What difficulties did you encounter developing the product?

I think the biggest difficulty with the AirWave was trying to secure the funding. After that was trying to develop a prototype because it’s a big unit that you need to be able to surf on. Originally, we were looking to create something that just created front-on waves, but when we started playing with it, we realised we could manipulate the shape of the waves so the product went from something similar to better.

What kind of reaction have you received from the market so far?

We officially launched the AirWave at the start of September this year, and we went to Surf Park Summit in Orlando, Florida to release it front of the largest man-made wave producers in the world. We currently have four or five contacts working in the US, and we have one big waterpark that is very interested in the product. We also have a customer in Wanaka who’s definitely interested in the AirWave as part of their facility, so the feedback and reaction from the public has so far been very good. 

We’ve also had some really good feedback from some of the local surfers here in Dunedin, who’ve told me that riding the AirWave has been the same, or almost the same, as riding a real wave. They really love it.