“This Changes Fundamental Things … About Surfing”
Kelly Slater is an 11-time world champion surfer, but he’s done something else no one else has – and that is to make great artificial waves in the middle of farmland. He posted a video of him riding waves from the machine and within a week, it had 9 million hits. Up to then, he’d been keeping his project a secret.
The LA Times sent a reporter out to find him and filed a report:
For 10 years, Slater had been working with a team that includes a USC aerospace engineer to beat competitors in Spain, Germany, Australia and San Diego. He hasn’t won the race; it’s not clear how many waves an hour his pool can produce, or how much energy is consumed doing it. But he cleared a hurdle no one else has.
“A wave of that shape sits in the subconsciousness of every surfer in the world,” says longtime Surfer magazine editor Steve Hawk. “That wave is exactly the fantasy wave I drew on the margins of my notebooks when I was in high school.”
Slater kept his “secret spot” shrouded in mystery. He didn’t say where it was, other than “110 miles from the coast.” He hasn’t said if the wave pool will be open to the public. But the sight of him carving across his waves’ uniformly steep faces and repeatedly snapping sharp cutbacks to slip into its dark liquid tube — once for an astoundingly long 17 seconds — was too much to leave alone.