Kelly Slater Just Built A Perfect Artificial Wave — And It May Save Surfing
The surfing world is abuzz after world champion Kelly Slater casually took to Instagram on Friday to unveil what he says is, without a doubt, the “best man-made wave ever made.”
“It’s a freak of technology,” Slater said of the wave.
The wave generator, located in a “secret spot” about 110 miles from an undisclosed coast, has been in the works for a while.
As he writes on Instagram, Slater has been “sitting on” his announcement for a couple of weeks.
“For nearly ten years, my team and I have been working on creating the first truly world-class, high-performance, human-made waves,” he writes. “This is something I dreamt about as a kid. Through rigorous science and technology, we’ve been able to design and build what some said was impossible, and many very understandably never thought would actually happen.”
Artificial waves have long been a sort of holy grail for the sport — and business — of surfing. By taking geography out of the equation, everyone from the Midwestern U.S. to the Middle East could experience the sport, providing an obvious boon for market expansion.
The technology also could allow for surfing to finally gain acceptance as an Olympic sport by removing two of the biggest hurdles: ensuring standardized waves and unlocking the ability to host a surfing competition anywhere in the world.
Entrepreneurs have been looking to capitalize on wave-making technology for years now. Slater even tried to open his own wave park in Australia a few years ago.
But until now, surfers have complained that artificial waves don’t live up to the real thing for two very important reasons: they don’t form barrels and they don’t allow progression, which surfers need to get air.
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