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All Aboard the Wave Train

Wave pools have been around for a while now, but the “waves” they produce are really more like water bumps or water treadmills. Something like that isn’t going to satisfy a real surfer. Luckily, legendary surfer Kelly Slater has cooked up something a bit more true to life.

Teaming up with Engineering professor Adam Fincham, Slater has created a long, artificial coastline. At this pool, named the Surf Ranch and located in Lemoore, California, you can ride 6.5 foot-tall open-barrel waves. The trick is a train-like vehicle that cruises alongside the water, creating a wave in its wake. Thanks to this machine, a surfer can cruise all the way from one end of the pool to the other on a nonstop wave.

A contest hosted by Slater, the Surf Ranch Pro, just concluded on September 9th, attracting a large turnout of competitors and spectators, with some of the latter even given turns in the pool in the contest’s off hours (albeit for a hefty entry fee). Rumors are circulating that several other companies are considering creating their own wave pools with Slater’s design, and that this method could even become a standard in the surfing championship circuit.

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