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River Repairs: Installation Back On Track!

Our wave installation is back on track!   I chaired the meeting of the Lower Kananaskis River Users Association this week and lots of good was revealed.

Installation and Dam Repair

Currently our river cannot shut off because the power dam that controls the flow is damaged.  Repairs are taking place over the winter and we will be able to completely shut off the river for wave installation in 2014 and for regular adjustments.    More specifically, the inside of the dam including the turbines were seriously damaged and so was the substation. The outlet of the dam is clogged with rock. Transalta, the dam owners, are in the process of repairs and plan to be finished in Spring 2014.  The dam owners will help us with our construction by shutting the water on and off as  we need once the dam is fixed. The Barrier Dam is an electricity generator and everyday it is off is a financial loss so they are very keen on fixing the dam.

There is a large donation of rock available in Spring 2014 through contacts in the Alberta Whitewater Association. We are still looking for material independently. More rocks mean more, better and stronger features.

The LKRUA and other river organizations may be willing to provide us with additional funds. We are still fund raising independently and will be doing a few events during the winter months.

Wave Model

We have the location determine and have begun building a 1/12 scale model of the Kananaskis River!  The model will be made available to wave builders around the world to test their ideas and their waves.  We will also be sharing our build details.

New waves are on the horizon!

Neil Egsgard

Founder & President

Surf Anywhere Project

Slope Complete: Ready to Install!

After weeks of seemingly non-stop labour, well spent funds, countless hours of donated time, we completed the slope and it is ready for installation in the river. The slope frame is made from welded steel tubing and is in two sections for transport by a large flat bed trailer. The sections will be joined together on site and out of river by our team of welders and placed in the river by combination of track-hoe & rock truck. The plywood has been sealed with multiple coats of epoxy and is now fully water proof and extra strong. The wave ramp is still under construction and the end result will be fully adjustable and removable allowing us to test a wide variety of wave shapes. The 2200 lbs (1000 kg) concrete blocks ready for pick up and we just found some additional large boulders. All of our pieces are in place but we are still looking for more boulders and blocks … but we are still waiting on the river.

We have yet to hear confirmation from the dam operators whether they will be able to shut off the river for our construction. Either way it will be good. If they can shut off the river then we can install and begin testing and surfing our waves. If they still need to repair then we have more time to make the feature even better.

Key Points on Building a Steel Frame

  • Welding wave ramps requires experienced and skilled welders with powerful welding rigs.  We had gas generator powered welding rigs.
  • Setting up the frame and ensuring everything is level in all directions before and during the welding is hugely important.
  • Steel bends so keep your structure support during construction.

Stoke & Flow,

Neil Egsgard
Founder & President
Surf Anywhere Project

First Slope Section Complete

On a sunny day with a strong showing of the local river surfing crew, we completed the assembly of our first section of the slope. The structure is coming together fast now!

Neil Egsgard
Founder & President
Surf Anywhere Project
Photography provided by Britta Kokemor

Construction Begins In Earnest

We picked up our first order of steel today and began construction of the wave slope. We have a beautiful location with a covered barn, views of the mountains, sun and lots of space. There is a lot of cutting, grinding, welding, measuring, sweating and general work to be done in the next 6 weeks but we have a solid plan and a good crew. We are building the in run slope and wave ramp / kicker out of welded steel and expoy sealed marine plywood. The constriction will be made from a combination of concrete barriers and large boulders. The end result will be a 30′ (10m) long channel, 20′ (7m) wide with a 3′ (.9m) drop) along a 7 degree slope. The wave will be 20′ (7m) wide, 3′ (.9m) high with eddy access from one side and will be completely adjustable.

Neil Egsgard
Founder & President
Surf Anywhere.

100 Year Flood: River Destroyed

In late June 2013, southern Alberta experience massive downpours in mountains. More water fell and more snow melted in these few days then any time in the past 100 years. The result is catastrophic flooding in the mountains and in the communities downstream. The Surf Anywhere test site is completely submerged and probably has been washed away, the dam that shuts the river off has been seriously damaged and the river can no longer be shut off. We do not know how long the repairs will take or when we will be able to do work in the river. We are helping in our communities, with the damage homes and displace friends, families and neighbours. When the water receeds we will be helping with the community clean-ups. Once the homes and people are in better shape we will continue out of river construction. We will be ready to install a world class wave in September 2013 … we can only hope the river will be ready for us.

The Barrier Dam that feeds the Surf Anywhere Test Site – June 24, 2013

Flooded Surf Anywere Test Site. There used to be waves and a kayak course here – June 25, 2013

Neil Egsgard
Founder & President
Surf Anywhere Project

Initial Ramp Test

In May 2013, the Surf Anywhere Project and the Alberta River Surfing Association completed our first three wave tests. We only had a few days for testing and it was a huge success. The test was paid for entirely by small individual donations and lots of donated labour by local surfers. Using less than $5,000 we created a safe and surfable wave on the second day of tests and learned a lot.

The design was an adjustable wooden ramp structure installed downstream of construction.  We modified the ramp and the surrounding river bed over four days.

Day 0:  Constriction with no ramp.  November 2012

Day 1:  30 degree ramp with sloped top.  Bedrock around ramp and between ramp and construction is covered with small boulders and rocks.   May 2013.

Day 2: 50 degree ramp with flat top.  Bedrock between ramp and constriction has been cleared of rocks making the water infront of the ramp deeper.   Submerged rock wall were built on either side between the edge of the ramp and the constriction.  May 2013.
Day 3: 45 degree ramp with top slightly sloped back and surfers right submerged wall strengthened.   May 2013.

The biggest improvements were from creating the underwater channel forcing the deeper water over the ramp and from the structure forcing the water upwards.  In this case the angle of the ramp had little effect which suggests the ramp size was incorrect for the flow.   A simple, low cost wave can be create with a basic constriction, underwater channel and ramp.  No slope is required for this design.

Neil Egsgard

Founder & President

Surf Anywhere Project

Surf Anywhere Mission

The Surf Anywhere mission is born.
Make better surf waves everywhere by:

Building the best river surfing wave in the world

Proving surf waves can be easily built anywhere

Testing new waves designs and improving old wave shapes

Sharing the technical details and construction knowledge of our builds so you can build your surf wave better

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Work with Engineers Begins

Neil Egsgard further updated the wave proposal and in the fall 2011 presented the work to local Calgary based engineers with extensive Alberta river construction and modification experience. The engineers’ initial tests and modelling of the design confirmed the potential for a world class wave. The engineers quoted about $15,000 for the stamped engineering drawings. In 2012, ARSA has been building a grassroots fundraising campaign aimed at raising the funds for the wave from surfers and surf supporters everywhere.

Planting the Seed

In February 2009, Neil Egsgard went the local river users association asking for their support and feedback on building a river surfing wave. With support and community comments in mind, the Alberta River surfers got to work professionally surveying promising surf wave locations, extensively researching existing waves, calculating the general specifications and identifying financial, labour, equipment and material support.

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  • Dam River
  • history
  • river wave building

In The Beginning…

In 2007 & 2008 the ARSA worked on building a river surfing wave with other river users. During the process it became clear that a high quality surf wave could only be built by a river surfer led project. In 2009 the Alberta River Surfing Association began work on the Surf Anywhere Project.

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  • AWA
  • history
  • Kananskis