Since Slater’s wave pool was sold to World Surf League (WSL) in 2016, including the mechanical wave on the world tour had always been on the cards, but the confirmation came just a few days ago.
The WSL Surf Ranch Facility in Lemoore, California, will now be part of the 2018 Championship Tour – offering perfect waves on demand.
With top surfers competing in an environment no longer at a whim to the ocean’s fickle nature, will this completely change the sport of surfing?
The surf ranch can deliver high-quality waves at any location, opening up unique possibilities to evolve competitive surfing. It means schedules can be created well in advance, with pinpointed accuracy, guaranteed waves and fair opportunities for all surfers. Lay days look to be a thing of the past.
CT competitor, Sage Erickson notes: “one of the takeaways from this season’s test event at the ranch 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.”
Yet, will the advanced technology take away the raw essence of surfing: the luck, timing and strategy, to create a mere “gymnastics-style” event in a fully controllable environment?
Does the sheer ideology of having a controllable wave make surfing, well – boring?