Sessions at the Wave Bristol last 1 hour. Every 5 minutes the machine pumps out a ‘set’ of approx. 20 waves (although the number of waves per set varies depending on the wave setting). Each surfer lines up in a queue and takes it in turns to surf a wave. After the end of the set, the machine stops and the water goes calm which gives people a few minutes to paddle back into position ready for the next set to begin. Then another 20 waves are pumped out and the cycle repeats. If you can catch 1 wave per set, then you would typically surf 1 wave every 5 minutes for 1 hour which is 12 waves per hour. If you are lucky and have good paddle fitness, you can catch one wave then paddle back to the end of the queue to catch a second wave in the same set. In some sessions I have counted 18 waves in 1 hour.
The number of waves per set depends on the setting which is discussed in more detail below.
Each wave setting has a ‘take-off zone’ marked on the concrete wall by coloured bits of tape. You should position yourself closer to the front marker for each setting. Green for intermediate. Blue for advanced. Red for advanced plus. Black for expert.
I don’t know how many waves per set this setting pumps out because I haven’t surfed it or been arsed to count the number of waves whilst watching!
This setting is not suitable for complete beginners. It is designed for early intermediates who have learned the basics of standing up on a soft board. If you can’t stand up on the board, “these are not the droids you are looking for”. If you can stand up on a soft board and can ride the white water into the beach, and now want to progress to surfing ‘green water’, this is for you. I have not surfed this setting but watching it from the side, it looks very fun for progressing but also very chaotic and out of control at times so could be frustrating for more experienced intermediates (who should just surf the intermediate setting instead!).
The wave itself is a mushy ‘rebound’ wave that reflects off the concrete wall and then re-forms, gently breaking towards the middle pier.
Tip – When taking off, set yourself at a 45 degree angle from the concrete wall pointing your board directly towards the middle pier instead of facing directly towards the ‘beach’ like you would normally do when catching white water in the ocean.
Really good fun, nice mellow take off. Waist to chest high to start then drops to knee high at end. Quite a fast little wave that is suitable for all sorts of boards from soft boards and long boards down to shorter hybrid ‘fun boards’ depending on skill level. Really good fun wave for learning how to walk up the board trying to nose ride or trying a ‘cheater five’.
Pumps out at least 25 waves per set which is much more than the advanced setting (which I think pumps out between 18-20 waves per set). This allows people plenty of time to get into position for their wave and means that everyone will get a chance to catch a wave each time. If the session is not fully booked, you can catch two waves per set no problem. One time I even managed 3 waves in one set!
Tip – When taking off, make sure you are closer to the front green marker closer to the ‘beach’ when you start to paddle. If you are too deep and closer to the back green marker, you will struggle to catch the wave. Sit approximately 1 metre away from the concrete wall when taking off. If you are too close to the wall, the wave will be much steeper on take off and you also risk your board hitting the wall if you fall and getting a very nasty ding. Finally, as with all wave setting, you should angle your board towards the middle pier when taking off. The more you angle your board, the easier the take off.