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Imagination catches the perfect wave

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

First, he cracked the code of wave physics and created the perfect synthetic wave. Now, he’s designed a surf park opening in Orlando next year that will provide eight-foot, Oahu-style waves with the flick of a credit card.

How did Kerry Black do it? The Australian surfer/scientist-turned-businessman imagined it first, then did it. Like this:    

Identify an area of interest. Black, who’d surfed trillions of cubic feet of water, wanted to understand waves, so he earned undergraduate degrees in math and geophysics, then wrote his master’s thesis on wave dynamics. That wasn’t enough for Black. He needed to understand sand, so he developed the world’s first computer model simulating the movement of sand along the ocean floor.

Work it. Black spent five years collecting data on 43 reefs. He dissected, quantified and digitized the world’s greatest “breaks,” or surfing waves, on his computer.

Overcome problems. One of the drawbacks of existing wave pools is that they use fresh water, which is less buoyant than saltwater and requires a thicker board. Get past the obstacles.

Make it real. At the touch of a button, Black’s patented pool floors will shape themselves into reefs that produce steep “tubes” of surf peeling for 100 yards or gently peaking after 40, and breaking different ways … all for a few dollars a ride.

Take it to the next level. Black envisions more surf parks and, eventually, enough surfers to create an Olympic sport.

— Adapted from “Endless Summer (On Demand),”Carl Hoffman, Wired.

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