Today, the WSL announced that the artificial wave in Lemoore they acquired from Kelly Slater Wave Company will be an official stop on the 2018 World Championship Tour. While it’s certainly groundbreaking and exciting news, this announcement was more a matter of when than if.
“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,” Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO, said. “We’re only scratching the surface of how this technology can be applied and it is completely game-changing for the sport.”
The technology is undeniably impressive, and its applications for both competitive and recreational surfers have vast potential to change surfing forever. Our own Alex Haro meditated on this vision in his fictional story This is the Dystopian Future of Surf, illustrated by Damian Fulton.
While it’s anyone’s guess how mass adoption of wave pools will affect surfing, the WSL and its surfers are excited for a watershed moment. The WSL issued a press release today that reads:
Since coming online in December 2015, the WSL Surf Ranch Facility in Lemoore, California has undergone constant refinement and evolution of its technology. A test event this year in September delivered very positive results in terms of competitive experience and the overwhelmingly supportive feedback from surfers training there throughout the season has encouraged the WSL to pursue an event at the facility in 2018.
“The experience of competing at Surf Ranch is pretty extraordinary,” Adrian Buchan, CT competitor and athlete representative, said. “What the team has created is hard to fathom at first – a perfect, 400-yard-long, bi-directional wave in the middle of rural California. I have no doubt that both the quality of the wave and the experience is befitting of hosting a world-class CT event. The Ocean will always be our home, but as we grow, having the opportunity to showcase and share the stoke of surfing to new audiences and schedule with pinpoint accuracy the huge match-ups and drama of the WSL is really exciting.”
“The surfers and the WSL have had a long-running discussion about the whole new set of opportunities that an event at the Surf Ranch facility can offer for the sport,” Sage Erickson, CT competitor and athlete representative, said. “We now have the opportunity to schedule events in advance, guaranteed high-quality waves, fair opportunity for all surfers and a totally new and unique environment for spectators. One of the takeaways from this season’s test event is surfers really have to bring their whole arsenal – forehand, backhand, barrels, turns, airs and timing – to make an impact. It’s going to be incredible.”
A full 2018 WSL schedule is planned to be released next week.