Matrix help AirWave create the most versatile standing wave in the world "Finalist in NZ Young Innovator of the Year"

The Company

AirWave Ltd is a young company using innovative technology to develop wave machines used by attraction operators as a training tool.  Not only for keen surfers, their development spans into other areas of wave technology to benefit the sports of wakeboarding, wakeskating and more.  Visit 

The Challenge

In late 2011 Matrix were approached by a young surf enthusiast with big ideas on how to build a revolutionary man-made surf wave.  "Existing wave machines are just too aerated" stated Ross McCarthy. Ross had several ideas on how to improve the status quo but needed engineering help to see if his ideas would work before building expensive physical mock-ups and purchasing pumping equipment.  A method was needed to test Ross's wave machine ideas and Matrix had just the solution. 

The Solution

Ross provided conceptual sketches of his wave machine ideas to Matrix who built a 3D computer model of the pump station to help evaluate each design.  Matrix employed a numerical technique called Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to simulate flow in the wave machine and also over the wave form. The model was built using STAR-CCM+ (, a powerful, commercially available CFD code with excellent capabilities in multiphase flow analysis.  The advantage of CFD over physical models is it allows more detailed visualisation of complex flow features, whilst allowing a large range of geometric and flow scenarios to be readily considered. A CFD model allows the wave shape, aeration and speed to be visualised before building anything physically.  This way costly mistakes could be avoided and an ideal design could be identified as quickly as possible. 


The Result

The simulation work rapidly eliminated problematic designs and allowed Ross to focus his efforts on a machine design that ultimately produced a better quality, more efficient wave that is manufacture-able for only a fraction of the cost of the original concept.