Since Kelly Slater Wave Company released the first video of the perfect artificial wave constructed at Surf Ranch two years ago, Slater’s wave pool has been making splashes across the media. Although not open to the public, numerous press releases, and accounts from those who have had the opportunity to surf there confirm that Surf Ranch is the real deal. Now it is slated as a stop on the 2018 World Surf League’s Championship Tour — drawing even more attention to the coveted, 400-yard long artificial wave.
Surf Ranch is located in California’s San Joaquin Valley in a land-locked location more than 100 miles from the coast. A recent article revealed the science behind the wave pool, which up until this point had been kept a trade secret. Slater’ company joined a fluid mechanics specialist to construct a hydrofoil blade that efficiently moves the water in a way that imitates a real ocean swell. The bottom of the wave pool is constructed to mimic a reef, like out in the open ocean, in order to produce surfable waves. The hydrofoil can be adjusted to change the height and magnitude of the wave, making it ideal for use in competition.
Although Slater’s personal Surf Ranch is not open to the public, he is planning on opening a public facility in Palm Beach, Florida in 2019, dubbed Surf Ranch Florida. Although other wave pools have been under construction across the country, none have been able to come close to Surf Ranch’s perfect seven-foot high bi-directional barreling wave. The owners of the World Surf League (WSL) took interest upon its completion, acquiring a majority stake in the Kelly Slater Wave Company just last year. It is only fitting they are now including Surf Ranch as a stop on the Championship Tour.
“Based on the results of our test event this year and the feedback from surfers training at the facility throughout the season, next September’s event has the potential to be something special for both surfers and fans,” WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt said in a press release. “We’re only scratching the surface of how this technology can be applied and it is completely game-changing for the sport.”
The World Surf League plans on releasing a full 2018 competition schedule next week.
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