How to catch a 6 foot wave even when you’re hundreds of miles from the ocean!
Most people are familiar with wave pools. You’ve seen them at the water-park or the amusement park and even on cruise ships. These consumer-grade wave-pools don’t create “waves” per-se, but more like “chop.” They move water around but it isn’t in any clean, usable wave. Think of it as the surface of a lake in a storm, as opposed to a killer-pipe on the north shore of Hawaii.
When you’re arguably the greatest surfer of all-time, you don’t mess with any consumer-grade, kiddie-pool shenanigans. Kelly Slater has been ranked #1 in the world 11 times. People keep thinking he’s going to retire, but he just comes back to dominate kids half his age. He has won 47 competitions and two triple crowns. This man needs to surf every day, but even living in California or Hawaii, there are not always surf-able waves.
Kelly and his amazing team of engineers took on the task of creating the world’s first surf-able wave in a man-made body of water. They achieved their dream, using a man-made lake outside of the San Joaquin Valley which was originally built for water-skiing. The wave pool is 700 yards long and 70 yards wide. The wave action is powered entirely by solar energy, and creates one of the cleanest, most consistent waves anyone has ever seen. A perfect environment for beginners or crank up the juice and watch the pros cut loose!
A typical ocean wave allows a pro surfer to get 10 to 15 seconds of time “inside the pipe” at best. With Kelly’s wave, a 30 second tube is extremely common!
He likes to say that this is “Version 1.0”—a “shot in the dark” full-scale prototype that shocked them all by actually working. He’s already messing with the shape of the lake’s floor, and the foil’s design. It can be smaller or much larger and, with some changes to the engineering, even installed in a circular pool, so that a surfer could, in theory, ride forever. “That’s the dream,” Slater says.
The cost of a system will depend on many variables, most obviously the size of the pool and the foil. “If you said $2 million you wouldn’t be wrong, and if you said $20 million you wouldn’t be wrong either,” he says. “It’s literally like a buffet.”
We can’t wait to see what comes down the “pipe” in the future!
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