The only Caribbean surf spot in the Basque Country
Artificial waves are among the most exciting developments currently in surfing. The idea of creating thousands of perfect and consistent waves is no longer just a dream, it’s happening. Building surf equipment testing facilities used to seem like something out of an Aldous Huxley book but now it seems like a surf park could be in your town before the next season of Stranger Things comes out. For years, snowboarding and skateboarding have led the charge with crazy aerial maneuvers and gear, all of which evolved in a relatively short amount of time. Having a consistent and predictable playing field has given them the upper hand. Their ramps aren’t constantly changing or moving, it will be there tomorrow the same as it is today.
Surfers are beginning to catch up to the aerial antics of snowboarding and skateboarding regardless of the moving ramps. Guys like Hector Santamaria are doing crazy flips in the ocean, it takes years to come up with a move like that. The level of surfing will increase in the coming years’ thanks to surf parks providing the closest thing to a stationary ramp. But first, we’re going to see changes in our equipment. From prosthetic advancements for surfers to boards and fins, let’s look at how the game is going to be changed.
When scientists’ conduct studies every variable needs to be consistent throughout, otherwise, the results will be conflicting. The same also goes for designing surfboards, fins, camera mounts etc. In a pool, the exact same wave can be created for an entire day, with the same surfer drawing the same lines. For the top dogs like Gabriel and John John, shapers or designers can create a new product and have proper feedback within hours. Sure, we’ve been doing this in the ocean forever and it’s worked well.(stab in the dark). However, the market is growing and with the introduction of artificial waves, there’s going to be more surfers than ever. Once companies like FCS or Channel Islands set up their own surf equipment testing facilities, surf technology will skyrocket.
If you’re a custom-board shaper carving out your own designs, a wave pool is a perfect place to test them and gather your own feedback. Say you have four designs that you’ve been working on and want to feel the subtle differences between them. You can condense what would be months of testing in limited swell conditions into a one-day session and go home with the insight for what needs to be modified or changed.
Take a look at The Omni that Kelly designed for his wave – this board was inspired by the wave pool. It has a short rail line in order to have a tighter turning radius in a small pocket. The tail is pulled in and rounded to draw out wider more open face turns. Sure, Kelly has been seen riding The Omni in big surf as well, but that’s Kelly. If not for the evolution of artificial waves, that design may not ever have come to fruition. The consistency of the wave pool helped to fine-tune this board. Now, The Omni is used by hundreds, if not thousands in the ocean.
Flex bars, rail stringers, fin shapes and all the other areas where new technology is being introduced now have a place to be constantly developed and perfected. Since the ocean isn’t going to cough up an identical wave every eight seconds, pools are going to be used more and more in order to properly vent new and old designs.
Since some of us go weeks or months without riding a single wave simply because the ocean isn’t providing. (Although this isn’t the case for the guys/girls leading the charge). Advancements in wave technology have opened the door for progression to those individuals that previously may not have advanced passed an air reverse.
Conversely, a pool will never replace what surfing is to us. Moreover, surf equipment testing facilities can be used as a consistent tool to advance every aspect of surfing. For the surfer that isn’t trying to come up with the next crazy blow tail, it’s still a way to skip out of the office at lunch, get barreled and come back to work. Leaving your co-workers to wonder about your sudden mood change. Who knows, we may see a spike in good-heartedness and overall friendly-ness around the world if everyone starts surfing.