Today, September 19, 2017 marks a historic date in the realm of surf parks and man-made surf destinations. The World Surf League (WSL) and Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC) hosted a private, invitation-only event in Lemoore, California with a cherry-picked roster of the world surfing elite at the KS Wave Co Surf Ranch. The purpose of the event is reportedly intended to demonstrate and showcase the potential of hosting competitions and events at KSWC’s man-made surf venues.
‘The Test‘ conducted today should show the world the broadcast capabilities, enhanced spectator experiences and a long list of advantages of hosting professional surfing events in surf pools and man-made facilities as opposed to natural ocean breaks.
See below for a full rundown of ‘The Test’ and a full list of updates from the day.
According to the WSL, “put simply: this is a research and development exercise that allows all the stakeholders involved in any future event to understand the wide array of opportunities available. Everyone from competitors, organizers, judges, broadcasters, sponsors and even a delegation of the sports founders are on hand to witness the technology that will have a dramatic effect on the future of surfing’s evolution.”
Via WSL “The aim of the test is to determine what a future broadcast will look like, so while our broadcast team is here on site experimenting, the mission is to explore new options, many of which aren’t ready for prime time coverage just yet. That said, we’ll be updating this post throughout the day to give you some fun facts about what’s happening here.”
The 11x champ welcomed the crowd and opened the festivities by riding his first wave since breaking his foot at Jeffreys Bay in July. “I don’t care if it takes an extra month to heal, it was worth it.”
The women have been blowing minds during the mock Round One test. With a stiff breeze blowing, the rights are easier to surf than the lefts. The barrel sections zip off quickly in both directions, so there’s little margin for error. Johanne Defay and Pauline Ado got busy refining their acts in the athlete chill zone.
Matt Wilkinson is digging this place. The World No. 4 has been ripping on the new left, but with the wind blowing hard offshore on the rights this morning, he got busy working on his backhand tube poses.
“The WSL intends to learn a lot today – how this technology can be applied to live competition, how the surfers perform, how waves are scored, how we cover in broadcast, the overall experience that we can create and what it feels like to witness this kind of surfing.” – Sophie Goldschmidt
It’s honestly hard to tell who the most excited surfer here is today, but Filipe Toledo would have to be in the running. The Hurley Pro champ has his game face on, too. Something tells us he’s hoping to make some history here.
With this test event representing a huge milestone in the history of professional surfing, the WSL and Kelly Slater invited a number of pro surfing’s founders to attend this landmark occasion. Shaun Tomson, Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew, Mark Richards, Ian Cairns and Peter Townend are all here, along with Hawaiians Fred Hemmings and Randy Rarrick, who started the IPS.