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Rick is widely recognized as a leading U.S. expert in river wave design.  He has been the lead designer of nearly all of MWDG's whitewater projects, including the acclaimed 1996 Olympic venue, the $16m Adventure Sports Course in Maryland, Confluence Park, Denver, the Chattahoochee River, the Boise River Park, and numerous others.  He has been on the forefront of wave design since his post graduate studies at Stanford University in the 1980's.  He invented the patented WaveShaper adjustable wave technology and continues to push wave design today.  Rick is known for his unique ability to apply innovative, efficient and holistic solutions to complex projects.  He blends his experience in traditional water resources and environmental engineering with his life-long interest in whitewater boating and river restoration.  His career started in conventional large-scale drainage, hydraulic and hydrologic, and water resource projects.  This has provided Rick the foundation to reliably deliver whitewater projects over the past 25-years with structural integrity and predicted performance that is unparalleled.  He has been the principle investigator in over a dozen large-scale whitewater physical modeling efforts – far more than all others combined - and has developed several computer modeling programs related to whitewater hydraulics.

Ben brings a rare combination of both engineering expertise and wave knowledge.  As a surfer who has ridden countless river waves across North America and Europe, he understands the nuances that make good surf waves.   As a licensed professional engineer with specialty in open channel hydraulics, recreational whitewater, fish passage, wave design and hydraulic modeling, he has the skills to analyze and design surf waves (and surf them too).  Ben graduated with honors from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, California with a BS in Civil Engineering. While living in California Ben surfed the powerful, empty waves of the Central Coast almost daily.  When he moved to the mountains in 2005 he thought traveling to surf was his only option, until he found river surfing.  In 2009, his brother, living in Jackson, Wyoming at the time invited Ben to surf the Lunch Counter wave on the Snake River.  One amazing session and the light went on – build good waves and the surfing lifestyle and community will happen inland.  Since this trip, Ben has focused on designing reliable, high-performance surf waves.  He stills travels to surf oceans waves at locales such as Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Hawaii but now he also travels to surf river waves like Skookumchuck and Eisbach. In 2016, Ben founded Streamline Surfboards, a company committed to building custom river surfboards sustainably and locally to meet river surfers’ riding needs.  He sits on the Board of the Colorado River Surfing Association, an organization with the goal of promoting river surfing and inland surf communities.  Ben writes as a contributor to Riverbreak Magazine focusing on wave building and design topics.  He has been the design engineer on a multitude of river projects including the National Award winning Hartland Dam Fish and Boat Passage, the Boise River Park, Gunnison Whitewater Park Replacement project, South Platte River Run Park (Denver), and the Austrian Wave.   

RICK

BEN

Our team is a diverse group of engineers who love rivers - and surf.  We have collectively over 50 years of river engineering and surfing experience.  We believe that our diversity of skills and experiences has been key to the successful waves we have built and will continue to spur innovations that will shape the future of river waves. 

 

The goal is simple: create the most advanced, consistent, perfect river waves, period. 

"Surf waves being created by the WaveShaper are Rick's 'Sistine Chapel'.  A culmination of decades of study, design and innovation in river waves.  Although I'd say we've had good success, I believe we have just scratched the surface as to what is possible.  His expertise and vision will be crucial in the evolution of surf wave design going forward."                     

                                                                                    -Ben Nielsen

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p: +1 303-964-3333

World Headquarters:

2480 W. 26th Avenue, B225

Denver, CO USA