The Kelly Slater Wavepool Event Is On In A Month
An invitation-only show featuring twelve of surfing's heaviest hitters!
Nearly two years after its dramatic unveiling, this fall the public will enjoy the true utility of Kelly Slater’s Wave Ranch. According to sources close to the WSL, plans to hold the first speciality wavepool event. The official "waiting period" is Sept 17-19th.
There was much speculation as to when the WSL would flex their new man-made muscle, having held the keys to the Kelly Slater Wave Company for more than a year without any real signs of movement.
"...the amazing man-made wave technology developed by Kelly Slater… has the power to dramatically enhance every aspect of our sport," former WSL CEO Paul Speaker said at the time of the company’s acquisition. "We do believe that all stakeholders – athletes, fans, broadcast and corporate partners – will be super energised by the advent of Championship Tour-level competition with man-made waves.”
In May, Slater started dropping crumbs on Instagram stating, "A few months ago we did what obsessive people do: we took something great and took it apart to create something even better. This will mean more waves, more sections and the goofy footers might be pretty excited too. Also, I can’t say officially, but there’s some exciting projects on the horizon and I look forward to sharing more with you as the year unfolds."
Just two weeks ago, Slater and Co reportedly filed for permits to hold events in Lemoore. And as we reported earlier this week, the WSL’s onboarding of former UFC chief strategist, Joe Carr, points to radical changes coming for WSL fans in the coming months. Will Kelly’s Wave offer Mr Carr the perfect Thunderdome to build the WSL into a global juggernaut, bringing UFC’s high drama to the Harris Ranch right? Will home-viewers be met with their first paywall experience, hoping to enjoy it in real time?
While rumours oscillate wildly around the event, there’s talk of an accompanying music festival*, fun for the kiddies, and—and this is total speculation—not only have they engineered sections, there may very well be a mirror-image left being unveiled on contest day, too. Here's who we know you'll be seeing in the pool so far: Matt Wilkinson. Filipe Toledo. Jordy Smith. Stephanie Gilmore. Mick Fanning. Julian Wilson.
When reached for comment, the WSL’s Senior Vice President of Global Brand Identity and Putting Out Fires had this to say: "We'll be releasing information to the public when able, but I can confirm that we continue to develop and explore how we can use the technology—competition formats, wave quality, intervals, experiential, etc. Whether this tech can be applied to the products we currently offer, or will be an entirely new offering, is still to be determined. It’s a new frontier, and it’s captured the imaginations of a lot of people inside and outside of surfing. We’re excited about new developments and about bringing it to the public as soon as possible."
*When reached for comment re: the potential for a music festival at his surf ranch, Slater had this to say to Stab: “That's so far ahead of any place we are at right now that I can't even speak hypothetically. Would be rad and can't say I haven't imagined it but there are literally zero plans for that so far. Dream music fest I would bring people back from the dead though.”