There is one thing that every surfer is constantly seeking and has never able to find – the perfect man made wave. Many wave parks in the past have only been able to offer a standing wave – a wave that is created from a sheet of water that is pumped into a pool and over a barrier, which will create a continuous breaking wave. As a result of this, the wave will always stay in place but does not provide the same conditions that true waves create. It doesn’t move and there are no wave faces to ride. As a result of these differences, most surfers can improve their balance and learn to maneuver the board, but it offers no real challenge.
Surfers say the Holy Grail of waves is one that recreates the physics of an ocean wave – one that can move over the pool, rise up and break towards the left or the right. As a result of these physics, surfers can catch it, move with its motions or even perform aerial turns by launching themselves off the lip of the wave. It didn’t seem that it was possible to recreate something that was created by Mother Nature.
That was until this past Friday. Legendary surfer Kelly Slater and a team of engineers managed to make a wave pool that recreated the waves off the coast of Rincon, Puerto Rico – a popular surfing spot that are known to have head-high swells. World Surf League’s Chris Mauro has been quoted saying, “This changes everything”.
The team, alongside Slater, worked on this wave pool for just under ten years. They finished the project earlier in December, but decided to wait on the announcement of the pool until the 2015 world title holder had been decided. Afterwards Slater, an eleven-time world champion, made it public via his Instagram account.
Slater wrote the following about the wave pool on his Instagram; “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. I’m proud to say we took our time to get it right, and the first fully-working prototype of the wave now exists (a huge personal thank you to everyone in our lab and on our team for seeing this through!).”
The creation of this wave pool brings so many new and exciting things in the future. For the first time, surfers will be able to practice with a wave that mimics Mother Nature. It will also provide a safe and stable learning environment for those who may not be comfortable in the ocean just yet.
View the video, which has gained over a quarter of a million views already, below: