When the famed king of surfing, Kelly Slater, released the first brief video of the super secret wave pool he’s been designing for 10 years back in December, it was met with huge buzz from the surfing community.
Most of the gossip centered around where it was located, which Slater seemed to purposely cloud in mystery not as much to protect the design but to increase the hype.
Like the Willy Wonka of surfing, Slater has released four new videos of riders taking to what looks to be in fact the world’s most perfect wave. But still no more details on where it’s located or how it works.
Slater has reportedly been working for the past 10 years with engineers to design the world’s best artificial wave. One of the designers is an aerospace engineer at USC, which was detailed in a student magazine in 2014.
According to the story, early prototypes were created on a circular wave pool witth hydrofoils driving water from a track along the perimeter as opposed to some recent wave pools that utilize a bulldozer type design, which pushes water essentially along a pier forming cresting waves on either side.
Still it’s difficult to tell by the videos, how exactly the current wave pool works. It’s location has only been revealed as 100 miles from any coastline, though on-line sleuths have suggested it’s located in Lemoore, California.
In the USC article, Adam Fincham, PhD, talks about wanting to design a wave that was variable, more like the actual ocean. Creating a static wave, each one identical to the next, is one of the major drawbacks of artificial wave pools.
Surfer Magazine Editor-in-Chief Steve Hawk told the L.A. Times he isn’t too thrilled about the idea for the 2020 Olympics.
“We might have an Olympic champion surfer who has never duck-dived under a wave, never jumped off a jetty, never put on a leash, never been scared out of their wits,” he said. “I find that future thoroughly disheartening. It’s not real surfing.”
But it sure looks like a lot of fun!