WATCH: Local firm is on the crest of a wave with surf ride

It is the surfing experience to rival all others – but there are no sun-scorched Aussies, no soft white sands, and no VW camper vans.

But what did spring up at Lerwick’s Staneyhill Industrial Estate was a prototype of a full-size surf-ride machine.

The innovative project was put together by Shetland Composites on behalf of Glasgow-based organisation, Murphy’s Waves, which specialises in machines that, literally, make big splashes in the leisure industry.

Surfing machines have been seen before, but what makes this one, called Surf Air, stand out is its relatively small size. That should give it added appeal to certain sectors of the leisure industry where space is at a premium.

Managing Director of Shetland Composites, Fred Gibson, said he was delighted to be involved.

“What we’ve built here is a full-size surf ride. The reason we have to make a full-size is because we were testing nozzles out which basically fire the water up a slope – which you can then surf down.

“We’ve been working closely with a company called Murphy’s Waves for quite a few years now.

“This particular surf ride is a more compact, smaller surf ride than what we normally do.

“But as we’ve scaled everything down we still have to go through the process of actually testing the nozzles. We had it up and running over the last couple of days.”

Murphy’s Waves has gained experience over nearly 25 years in supplying similar devices. As well as the leisure sector it also supplies machines for offshore or military training, and the film industry.

The company’s Neil Walsh said Murphy’s Waves had built up a strong relationship with the Shetland company over the years.

“Fred is a fibreglass manufacturer who can fabricate quite bespoke things,” he said.
“He has been a good partner for us. We approached Fred initially with a view to doing a ‘slice’ of the ride – a much smaller model – and Fred, being a very hands on guy and innovative thinker, came up with the solution that we arrived at where we were able to prototype a full-size ride.

“Fred is a great guy to work with. He’s very hands on. He’s the kind of guy you can hand a sketch to and he’ll go away and make it a reality.”

Mr Walsh said a compact surf machine such as Surf Air would be handy for use in more confined places such as cruise ships.

• For more details, see this week’s Shetland Times, out today.


Add Your Comment

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.