Kelly Slaters Wave Pool Full Story !!
The 11-time world champion of surfing, Kelly Slater made dreams come true for almost any surfer on the planet, when he released his first “Kelly’s Wave Video”. it was the stuff of dreams and our wildest dreams at that! Perfect man-made waves that were consistent, had power, barrels and not mention… up to 40 seconds long. When that video broke into the surfing world, it also came with its fair share of haters of course, for the change it might cause in the future and how surfing, as a sport will progress from this point on. One thing is for sure though surfing will never be the same.
‘The New Yorker’ talks about how the wave pools have changed surfing history, how everything before them is now from one era and everything post-wave pools is another and he’s right. For as-long as there has been a world tour, surfers have travelled all over the world surfing perfect and sometimes pretty crud waves, but the anticipation of a swell, an event and how unpredictable the waves will be is the exciting thing about watching as a spectator. Having the events only on when the conditions are optimal also gives them the element of uniqueness and excitement. But with wave pools being able to turn on waves every 2-3 minutes like clock work, delivering the same wave every time, it can take away that exciting and mysterious part of surfing culture. The sheer terror as you watch someone pull in to a super heavy unpredictable wave, over a shallow reef makes it gripping to watch. The WSL (World Surf League) tested an event at the surf ranch and of course it’s mesmerising to watch, but i can’t help but feel that a little bit of the magic is lost, when you know you’re going to get the same wave as the person before. Some of the drama and the unpredictability is lost as a spectator.
Don’t get me wrong, i think Kelly’s Wave Pool and wave pools in general are an incredibly cool thing, i hope they will be good for the progression of surfing, but as they say in the video, if someone that has grown up surfing in a wave pool, only ever known perfect waves, in a controlled environment, then decides to paddle out in the ocean, in a constantly changing environment, where skill and experience are key, especially when it comes to paddling and surf safety – This is where the potential for wave pools to be a problem exists. They might create a proficient surfer in a wave pool, but also a potential casualty or risk to others in the ocean.
Which ever way you look at it, wave pools are coming so we will have to embrace them what ever the outcome.
Kelly’s wave pool isn’t the only one on the market trying to catch our attention and potentially paying good money to have our surfing fix. Weber Wave Garden and a few other companies are all improving, building test pools, their first commercial facilities, trying to be the first to crack the market and be one of the first to conquer this whole new business opportunity.
For wave pool manufacturers the idea isn’t about just creating waves for surfers, it’s about expanding an industry that has long been associated with coastal communities, expanding to
Even with the power of Kelly Slater at the helm of one of the worlds most perfect wave pools, it has no doubt spurred other companies to up their game with wave pools and the surfers representing them. Companies working with different technology, working towards a commercial wave pool, that can produce a lot of waves consistently is the ultimate goal and as you can see from some of these wave pool clips, these companies are pretty close to creating something special.
Being in the UK we are pretty lucky, we were the first country in the world to have a commercial wave pool, built for the public use. Surf Snowdonia, built in Snowdonia, Wales uses wave garden technology, to propel a small 2ft wave over the duration of about 15-20 seconds of ride-able wave time. This like most wave pools was the first of its kind, so a lot of things have been learnt since then, especially with target audiences and who is visiting these wave pools. As much as we all want massive barrels and perfect peeling waves, the beginner market is were companies like Surf Snowdonia are making their money. They have been pretty much fully booked since they opened and there’s a reason offering a safe, guaranteed wave for people to learn in is very appealing. After spending 3 years as a surf instructor i know it can be difficult to get the right conditions to teach in, some days it’s too big and dangerous and some days it’s flat. But guaranteed waves sound pretty perfect from a beginner point of view and even more so for surf schools.
The UK will also make history by 2020 as one of the only places in the world with 3 wave pools; “The Wave” being built in Bristol, utilising The Wave Garden Cove technology, to create different types of waves more suited to intermediate and advanced surfers, as well as being a prime location for a lot of surfers from Devon and Cornwall to travel to, which has the largest surf community in all of Britain. The UK will also have another first as London prepares to have its very own wave pool, which i can only imagine to be fully booked on completion. With these wave pools in surfing, who knows were surfing in the UK could be in a few years time.
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