When Kelly Slater unveiled his artificial wave – in mad scientist fashion content to the point of uncontained elation – back in December 2015, the surf world stopped. It was the first time in surf history that can be described as internet-breaking. Mick’s secret wave is perhaps the next, and perhaps only other moment, that comes to mind.
Shortly after, web sleuths were determined to discover where in the world Kelly hid his wave. And they did. Lemoore, California.
Since, things have progressed considerably. Kelly Slater Wave Company has applied to develop a plot of land in Palm Beach County, Florida – which will become a public surf park. But until now, the future of the facility in Lemoore has remained unclear. Maybe it would remain private for R+D and high profile guests. Maybe it would be opened to the public.
A new conditional use permit obtained by The Hanford Sentinel, though, may shed some light on KS Wave Co. and the WSL’s ambitions regarding the Lemoore Surf Ranch.
According to the application, Slater and his investors hope to expand the operation year-round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and staff the place with 50 employees who will continue to tinker with wave design.
The application also says the facility plans to hold six large competition events (attracting as many as 8,000 visitors) per year – complete with outdoor music and camping for guests.
“Operations under this SRCUP will permit up to six events per calendar year, including recreational and competitive surfing events, and ancillary music performances during a two-to-four day period (i.e. Thursday through Sunday evening),” reads the application. “Event operation time will be from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Attendance is estimated to be up to 8,000 guests per day, over a two-to-four day period. Temporary bleachers, sound equipment, and lighting equipment may be setup for events and live music performances. Parking will be provided on site during the events. Contracted services will include traffic control, security, temporary lighting, potable water, portable toilets, wash stations, and trash services for each event.”
Back in March, Kelly teased that there were big plans for the Surf Ranch. “The feedback we received from dozens of surfers … was incredibly helpful,” he said in an Instagram post. “And a few months ago we did what obsessive people do: We took something great and took it apart to create something even better. This will mean more waves, more sections and the goofy footers might be pretty excited too.”
The six events referenced in the application certainly suggest the place will be open to the public – at least insofar as they can attend the planned contests/festivals. But the application stops short of saying the Surf Ranch will be completely open to any and every surfer that wants a piece of it.