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Keynote Lecture Series Archive

Spring, 2024

The Effect of Reef Geometry On Breaking Wave Shape. Computational and Field Data Comparative Study

Adam Fincham

Chief Scientist and Engineer
Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC)
Lemoore, CA
Adjunct Research Associate Professor
Department of Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

With growing demand for inland surfing and interest in artificial surf reefs, CFD methods supplemented with field data constitute an effective tool that allows for analysis, optimization, and verification of the design performance of surfing waves. Bringing surfing to non-coastal areas provides big opportunities for a new market. This led to the formation of a new sub-genre of hydrodynamics engineering, where one is looking at transformation of shallow-water waves through a slightly different lens. In classical coastal engineering, wave characteristics can affect various design conditions of certain structures – however, in the following case, one is looking specifically into analysis, optimization, and verification of design performance of the surf-zone wave itself, i.e. its surfability aspect. This presentation provides a high-level overview of the scientific process behind the creation of the Kelly Slater Wave Company basin in Lemoore, CA. Some details of the new and much larger wave basin opening in Abu Dhabi, where excess energy from the main wave is reformed and broken again providing a secondary surfing experience will also be discussed.

Adam FinchamAdam Fincham is a Scientist, Engineer and an Entrepreneur. Dr. Fincham is currently the Chief Scientist and Engineer for the World Surf League’s (WSL) Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC). He is a Research Associate Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at USC. He has successfully founded two technology companies and is the primary named inventor on dozens of US and International Patents.

Fincham’s research interests include; Geophysical Fluid dynamics, turbulence and vortex structures in stratified and/or rotating flows, advanced algorithms for Digital Particle Imaging Velocimetry, particle dynamics in turbulent flows with application to oceanic plankton ecosystems, sonic boom interactions with the ocean surface, turbulent combustions at high Reynolds numbers, surfing wave dynamics, wave erosion and Computational Fluid Mechanics approaches to resolving breaking waves.

Fincham is from the island of Jamaica, he obtained his PhD in 1994 at the University of Southern California and was Chargé de Recherche at the Laboratoire des Ecoulements Geophysiques et Industriels, CNRS-INPG, Universite Joseph-Fourier, Grenoble, France. From 1995-2004. He has close ties to the University of the West Indies in Kingston Jamaica and interacts with scientists there.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024
3:30 PM
Zumberge Hall of Science, Room 252 (ZHS 252)
The Zoom webinar is at


host: Ronney

Published on August 2nd, 2017

Last updated on April 17th, 2024