LatiTube Port Hedland is the ‘Cover Story’ in this month’s issue of Australian Leisure magazine.
Wave of Success
Geoff Leaver explains Australian
innovation in surf ride simulation
With the completion of the first Australian designed and manufactured surfing simulation ride at Port Hedland in Western Australia, the LatiTube® product range is now set to
launch onto the Australian and world stage.
The ride is an initiative of BHP Billiton Iron Ore’s Community
Development Program aimed at providing healthy alternatives for the wider community of the Pilbara region. Funding was made through the Town of Port Hedland Council and formed part of an $11 million upgrade to the South Hedland Aquatic Centre conducted by Perth-based Commercial Aquatics Australia (CAA).
Five years in development, the LatiTube explores wave- riding options like no other device in the world. Dynamically changing wave shapes and radical changing tubes combine to thrill novices and experts alike. Electronic settings can throw up left and right-handed barrels and pits ranging from 1.5 to 3 metres high while the boardrider floats on water pumped through hundreds of jets from a large water tank.
The LatiTube wave machine delivers liquid energy from a suspended sub-surface, with water pumped through a flexible 30mm mat which has a similar feel to a domestic innerspring mattress. As a result, wave-like power and flow meet the rider’s board at a safe, low velocity similar to a real wave of comparable size and shape. It uses multiple nozzles spread out like an air hockey table for surfing, the only difference being
South Hedland Aquatic Centre’s new LatiTube surf simulation ride offers dynamically changing wave shapes and radical changing tubes.
it uses water and that the ride’s sub-surface is finely tuned to drain away the right amount of water to keep the wave rolling.
Steve Kriticos, the ride’s inventor explains “the LatiTube ‘Pocket Double’ as installed at Port Hedland is likely to be our most popular model.
Kriticos adds “we went through a rigorous selection process chaired by the development head contractor CAA.
“Along with two other US based competitors we made individual presentations to a committee consisting of representatives from CAA, the Council, the architect, an engineering firm specialising in aquatic design, and BHP Billiton Iron Ore and to our knowledge, the decision was unanimous in our favour. Page 2>>
“We have since tendered against other devices and come up trumps each time so the future is looking bright.”
As the developers and manufacturers of the ride, its unique dynamically engineered wave shape is its major attribute as it can be managed for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced riders. In addition, the opportunity for potential customers to test ride our Coffs Harbour-based prototype machine has been a big part of the selling of LatiTube. During such tests it’s just as good a feeling to watch a chief executive get barrelled as it is to watch younger ones take their first surf on the ride.
Kriticos attributes much of LatiTube’s current ‘wave of success’ to advice provided by a water park legend many years ago to break down design goals into five crucial areas and consider them through every step of the process - and to never accept “4 out of 5”. As a result, throughout the design and development of the LatiTube these key design elements have been: safety; throughput (numbers of patrons per hour); public appeal; the upfront cost; and ongoing costs.
With this in mind, we had to make the LatiTube superior in each of these areas to enter the market in these days of easily accessible information, skills and cheap overseas manufacture.
Swimplex Aquatics currently has two further LatiTubes under manufacture for Sydney clients with other sales under negotiation in Australia and overseas.
Geoff Leaver is Managing Director of Swimplex Aquatics. LatiTube® will be showcased at the upcoming AALARA Exhibition on the Gold Coast 7-9th May.
Home to the most northerly 50 metre pools in Western Australia, back in 2010, the Town of Port Hedland received the backing to refurbish its South Hedland Aquatic Centre.
Backed by the Western Australian Government as part of its Pilbara Cities initiative, with additional funding provided from BHP Billiton Iron Ore, the Pilbara Development Commission and the Town of Port Hedland, after a year-long redevelopment, the YMCA of Perth-managed Centre has been transformed into a state-of-the-art aquatic facility.
In addition to its LatiTube wave machine (see previous page) the redeveloped facility includes:
•A 50 metre x eight lane pool refurbished using the Myrtha Pool RenovAction technology system;
•Expansion of the facility’s existing leisure/lagoon pool with an added 25 metre Myrtha learn-to-swim pool;
•The addition of splashpad play features from Waterplay Design Corporation in the leisure/lagoon pool;
•Installation of a children’s zero-depth water tower aquatic playground with waterslides;
•A new plant room with full replacement of all pool hydraulics and filtration.
The upgrade also includes disabled access, heating to enable year-round use and new paving.
Explaining their backing for the project, BHP Billiton Iron Ore Senior Manager Community and Indigenous Affairs Chris Cottier explains “we’re excited to be a part of the Aquatic Centre re-vamp, and to deliver the state-of-the-art LatiTube.
“It’s something totally unique to the North West and I know a lot of local kids will be counting down until the time they can test it out.” Town of Port Hedland Mayor Kelly Howlett adds that redeveloping the centre represented the most significant investment in youth facilities and services in the town’s history, stating that with the new Centre “the South Hedland community
will have access to one of the State’s best recreation venues.” Now the Council is looking to add an administration building and new changing rooms to the Centre, and is also looking to further enhance its aquatic provision for its 15,000 population by redeveloping its other 50 metre pool at the Gratwick Aquatic Centre.
Design and Construction
Architect: Christou Design Group. T: 08 9285 6888 Head Contractor/Project Manager:
Commercial Aquatics Australia. T: 08 9240 8622 Suppliers/subcontractors
LatiTube Wave Machine: Swimplex Aquatics.
T: 02 6651 9825
Waterslides and Play Equipment: Polin Waterparks and Pool Systems. T: + 90 262 656 6467
Splashpad features: Miracle Recreation/Waterplay Design Corporation. T: 08 9309 0200
Hydraulics, Water Treatment and Filtration:
Commercial Aquatics Australia. T: 08 9240 8622
Aquatic Controllers: BECS/Tim Batt Water Solutions T: 02 9948 4177