Phenomena

Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch

Many of us who grew up visiting water parks instead of ocean beaches have spent time bobbing in a wave pool. They’ve been around for decades. But a new generation of wave pools are aiming for a different goal: the perfect surf wave. One of the foremost current facilities is Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, shown above. Here a hydrofoil (draped in blue tarps on the left) is pulled along an artificial lagoon to create dozens of wave profiles, all engineered to give surfers a long ride on the perfect solitary wave.

Other facilities, like the surf ranch used by USA Surfing in Waco, Texas, design their waves with different goals in mind. The Waco wave pool uses air pressure to drive their waves, and aims for a larger quantity of shorter waves. They’re designed to help young surfers practice skills they’re working on, and to give them a place where they can experience waves like those they’ll face in the upcoming 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. (Image credit: R. Young/WIRED; CNet, source; submitted by Lionel V.)

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