Big-wave surfer Kelly Slater shocked the sports world a little more than a year ago with the creation of the largest man-made wave pool in history — and now he intends on opening the first public facility. Sure, artificial wave pools have been in development since the 70s; the Kelly Slater Wave Company has since revolutionized the industry. Soon, you’ll be able to hit the (manmade) waves in Palm Beach, Florida.
The pro surfer’s personal pool boasts a seven-foot high right-hand barreling wave formed by a hydrofoil mechanism initiated by cables that run taut across the surface. Unlike most artificial waves, this meticulously designed pool effectively emulates the ocean, providing a steep enough face for riders to practice maneuvers along the lip. A test version of Slater’s artificial surfing paradise was revealed in March and resides on a narrow lake in the San Joaquin Valley of Central California. The project served not only as Slater’s personal training ground but as a prototype for the professional surfing world. A year’s worth of machinery modifications and testing resulted in a welcome public surprise.
The Kelly Slater Wave Company filed a zoning application with Palm Beach County in the surfer’s home state of Florida earlier in 2017. Slater and the company want to implement a wave park into the blueprint of Palm Beach Park of Commerce’s developing industrial zone. Additionally, the team dubbed the project “Surf Ranch Florida” and hopes to bring professional surfing opportunities to the state while maintaining the equally safe and consistent environment offered by artificial surf. World-class recreation is not the only goal, however: Establishment of a large-scale wave pool could result in Florida’s first Championship Tour event.
The team moved one step closer to their goals this week, as Palm Beach County commissioners unanimously approved zoning for the wave park on Thursday. Slater noted following the commission meeting that construction is slated to begin in 2018, with 2019 set as the target completion date. In an Instagram post announcing the approval, Slater wrote, “I’m beyond proud and stoked to see the first of our developments at [Kelly Slater Wave Company] going to my home state of #Florida. Thank you to Mayor Burdick and the city commissioners for your approval and support of the project.” Maybe it’s time you picked up a new wetsuit?
Update: Kelly Slater has approval from Palm Beach for his public wave pool.
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