This Super Sopper is an example of an Australian innovation which soaks up excess water from sporting fields and courts. Comprising simple technology, it was developed by a Sydney inventor and has been successful in Australia and internationally. Super Soppers, in a range of sizes, have become part of the sporting culture of Australia and many other countries. Their use means that outdoor games can be played after soaking rain that would otherwise have made grounds and courts unusable. Owners of sporting venues soon make back the purchase price via extra admission fees and TV coverage that result from increased playing time. Cricket fans know that if it rains overnight, the Super Sopper will be out in the morning so the test match can continue!
The technology of the Super Sopper is simple. A foam pad fitted to a perforated metal drum soaks up water and squeezes it into an internal storage tank. The water can then be carried away and emptied into a drain. The advantage of this system is that it uses a perforated roller in combination with a storage tank to carry water away.
Angelique Hutchison, Curator, 2001
In 1974, while playing a round of golf in the wet, Gordon Withnall realised that the world needed a way to remove water from sports fields. By the time he reached the next tee, he had thought up the Super Sopper. He made the prototype the next day and soon after was manufacturing them.
The Super Sopper has a large roller that absorbs water and another small one that squeezes it dry. The water is squirted away from the 'sopper' or can be collected for later use. Super Soppers are now used to dry tennis courts, golf greens, racecourses and sports grounds around the world.
Withnall achieved a marketing coup when his machine was approved for purchase by schools in Japan, which bought hundreds of them. And the machines acquired prestige when one was acquired for the hallowed turf of Lord?s cricket ground in London; now every major cricket ground in the world has at least one Super Sopper on standby.