Are you tired of wave pools yet? You are? Well here’s some more! Open wide! Here comes the wave pool! Watch it! Love it! Slurp it down and burp it up!
First came Wavegarden’s Basque testing ground. It was the beginning of an arms race. A whole bunch of pools opened all over the world using their technology, and the internet was awash with complainers. “That wave sucks!” they shouted from inside their dirty, unwashed sweatpants, a nearly-empty bowl of Cheetos in their lap. “It’s not perfect! I want perfect!”
Then Kelly Slater ruined Adriano de Souza’s world title (yeah, he got one. You just forgot because Kelly decided to drop footage of his pool on the same day) with the very-secretive surf ranch. It was perfect! Twenty-second tubes. A lip line as straight as Chuck Norris drinking neat bourbon and doing push-ups! Then, of course, the internet was awash with complainers again. Their sweatpants were still dirty, but they’d had refilled their bowl of Cheetos. Now they had a fresh Mountain Dew, as well. “But where’s the soul!?” they yelled from their mother’s basements. “The ocean is the only place to surf, you miserable soul-stealing surf ruiners!”
But lo, there’s a surprise competitor in the arms race. American Wave Machines is making a home stretch come back. Yeah, you’ve already seen the footage, because the Texas pool that features American Wave Machines’ technology Slatered Kelly Slater himself and released their footage during the Founders’ Cup. Then Jamie O’Brien–who has some kind of stake in the company—pumped it up from inside his ever-present Hawaiian shirt. And now, for some reason, the imperfections that made the internet commenters so angry with the WaveGarden are cause for celebration. “Oooh!” they shout with glee from behind their glowing screens. “It’s not perfect! Now we love it!”
Confusing. But how fun! Look at the wave. It has a little tube. It has an air section. It has little wobbles and warbles and the water is a wonderful shade of blue. With any luck, wave pools will suck all the wind from the sails of the surfing tourism industry and create a whole new genre of the sport—one that cleaves ocean lineups in two