BC startup Ka’ana Wave uses support from SOLIDWORKS to help bring unique surfing machine to market

At a Canadian startup in North Vancouver, SOLIDWORKS CAD tools are making waves.

Javelin customer Ka’ana Wave Co. has designed and built a wave machine that can be installed in an existing body of water or new custom build, such as a community swimming pool. To produce a wave for a surfer, the Ka’ana machine shapes a flow of water as it passes through the contours of a shaping head. With interchangeable shaping heads, and the ability the articulate the pitch of the shaping head, one machine can create a variety of wave forms and flow rates.

See a demonstration of the Ka’ana machine: 

Jamie Watson is Ka’ana’s CEO. He said he was first introduced to SOLIDWORKS 3D design software because it was recommended by their manufacturing partners.

“When we had our minimum viable product and started communicating with our engineering firm and steel and fibreglass fabricators, they all pointed us to SOLIDWORKS.”

Javelin suggested that Ka’ana Wave apply for a SOLIDWORKS program that supports entrepreneurs and startups with a year of free access to 3D design software tools and the SOLIDWORKS online community. Ka’ana’s application was successful.

“Support from SOLIDWORKS was vital to our success,” Jamie said. “As a startup, resources were tight.”

Previously, Ka’ana had been using a lightweight software to design small prototypes that were produced on a desktop 3D printer. When it was time to meet the industry standards of engineers and traditional manufacturers, using SOLIDWORKS was key.

Analysing designs before production

Upon completing the free one-year term offered by the SOLIDWORKS program, Ka’ana purchased SOLIDWORKS Premium.

Surface modelling is especially important at Ka’ana. Jamie said the team has worked with a thousand iterations of the wave machine’s shaping heads. Being able to easily evaluate surface features, well before moving to creating fibreglass parts, has been valuable.

Jamie appreciates that SOLIDWORKS makes communicating with Ka’ana’s partners seamless. He is also benefitting from their experience. In one case, Ka’ana’s fibreglass manufacturer told Jamie that a part’s design needed to be modified before production. They provided instructions to help Jamie make the change, which helped him add to his knowledge of the software.

“I am so impressed with the SOLIDWORKS community,” he said. “We have access to an extensive public knowledge base. I’ve watched YouTube videos with qualified teachers and relied on Javelin’s technical blog articles for troubleshooting.”

Jamie reports that Javelin has been “fantastic from the get-go,” helping Ka’ana apply for free software, then supporting them along the way.

“I can call anytime to ask questions, and I have also benefitted from their expertise in 3D printing.”

High quality renderings help the marketing effort

Ka’ana had planned to launch at a large amusement and attraction industry trade show in the U.S. in November 2020. When the pandemic made that impossible, they quickly ramped up their marketing efforts, creating new materials and methods. Their live product demo in a test pool in Chilliwack proved to generate a lot of excitement for their product.

Ka'ana Park Overview

Ka’ana park overview rendering

Renderings and animations created in SOLIDWORKS are helping potential customers understand how the Ka’ana machines work and how they would look and function in real life settings. These include resorts, waterparks, amusement parks, municipal or private swimming complexes, and mixed use developments combining shopping and entertainment attractions.

The small and medium sized units can produce waves up to six feet tall and will be ready around the end of 2020. Larger units, coming in 2021, will produce waves up to 12 feet tall.

The Ka’ana machine is a crowd pleaser, and suitable for all levels of surfer. It’s unique because when you turn off the machine, your swimming pool is still there for regular uses.

Ka'ana Machine

Ka’ana machine rendering

Making surfing accessible is the goal

Jamie is most proud of the mission his team of nine lives by – to share the fun experience of surfing. On a wider scale, he hopes to support the board sports industry and retailers, who are challenged by seasonal highs and lows.

“Snowboarding depends on climate. Until now, surfing has depended on geography. We are using our technology to make a great wave, challenging the theory that surfing happens only in the ocean.”

 

To learn more about Ka’ana Wave, visit kaanawaveco.com.

Results

  • One year of free access to the suite of SOLIDWORKS 3D design software allowed Canadian startup Ka’ana Wave to begin using the industry standard tools expected by all of their manufacturing partners.
  • Ka’ana continues to take advantage of the technical expertise of Javelin specialists, as well as the SOLIDWORKS community, to learn how to maximize their use of the software.
  • Being able to easily evaluate surface features, well before moving to creating fibreglass parts, has been valuable, considering Ka’ana has worked with a thousand iterations of the wave machine’s shaping heads.
  • Renderings and animations created in SOLIDWORKS are helping potential customers understand how the Ka’ana machines work in real life environments
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