Put a surfer and a non-surfing fluid mechanics engineer in front of Kelly Slater’s coveted Surf Ranch wave in all its glory, and you’ll likely get two wide-eyed dudes looking like kids in a candy store. For as perfect as the wave is from a surf perspective, it’s also a feat of modern engineering, replicating the properties of ocean waves down to specifically designed bottom-contours.
Recently, Science put together this little video package on the mechanics of Kelly’s wave, and as you can imagine to develop a wave of the quality the winningest surfer in the world would put his name on was a complex task.