Leave it to Kelly Slater to create the best artificial wave man has ever seen. Under the famous surfer’s direction, the Kelly Slater Wave Company has been deep in engineering and development for their secret release: an artificial wave park. At long last, it seems the 11-time World Surf League Champion has created the world’s first barreling artificial wave. Obviously, he had to surf it himself for the Slater stamp of approval.
Wave parks have always struggled to create artificial waves that can compare to the real thing. Other than missing the ethos of reverence to the open seas, artificial waves just haven’t had the same surfable quality as natural ones. At least, until now. Slater did the honors of riding the first wave created in his company’s top secret test facility, and his performance looks like it belongs in the ocean – high praise for a fake wave.
The issue with artificial waves is the questionable quality of its many different components. Slater’s system is powerful enough to give the surfer the speed and stability to progress all around the perpetual wave, from above-the-lip tricks to riding in the barrel itself. Whereas ocean waves can barrel, artificial waves haven’t yet been able to crest in quite the right way. Of course, not all ocean waves barrel either. Many surfers travel the world in search of the perfect barrel wave, and that couldn’t have hurt the Kelly Slater Wave Company’s pressing ambitions.
With an incredible, star-studded career of experience and a team of dedicated engineers, it looks like the Kelly Slater Wave Company has blown its predecessors out of the water. It seems that Slater’s artificial wave is powered by a more refined, precise approach to the technology we’ve seen in other wave parks, such as Surf Snowdonia in Wales. From comparison footage and the little information that has been released, it looks like Slater’s system uses a wave plow to generate the artificial wave in a closed pool. The official Kelly Slater Wave Company word is still “top secret”, and even the test facility is hidden away in an undisclosed location. But landlocked surfers are certainly breaking out the board wax in anticipation.