Big Surf Waterpark, Arizona
Location: Tempe, Arizona
The Setup: Big Surf calls its “Waikiki Beach Wave Pool” the “original.” And it’s old, alright — constructed way back in 1969 by a guy named Phil Dexter, it was probably the first surfable man-made wave in the world. Of course, the pool itself has since been eclipsed by insane waterslides, lazy rivers, and screaming kids, and surfing has become a bit of an afterthought here.
The Technology: Like Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, Waikiki Beach uses the old “water drop” technology to pump a column of water into the lagoon, creating a bump that ripples to shore.
The Wave: Like its namesake, the wave here is a mellow peak that breaks just enough to hang ten, and often has up to a half dozen surfers on it at once.
Surf It: Only problem is, these days Waikiki Beach is only open to surfers for one hour each day, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Big Surf is open from May to September; admission is $16 (after 3 p.m.) and it’s an additional $17 to surf.
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