Stab Magazine | The Change To Wave Pool Regulations Set Forth By The Kelly Slater Wave Co.

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The Change To Wave Pool Regulations Set Forth By The Kelly Slater Wave Co.

AB1161, which sought to eliminate wave pool sanitation regulations, moves on to the State Senate.

news // Jun 15, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

There’s a lot going on in the wave pool world these days. Competing models, boondoggle land buys, a veritable avalanche of proposed developments placing the ersatz slide front and center. Maybe they’re the future, maybe they aren’t. But there are plenty of deep pockets pushing builds so you shouldn’t plan on seeing them disappear anytime soon.

Earlier this year the Kelly Slater Wave Company tossed its hat into the political ring by attempting to modify current regulations regarding wave pools. Prior regulations were passed in 2009, laying out the definition of a wave pool, as well as the various health and safety regulations operators, were required to follow.

California Assembly Bill 1161, sponsored by KSWC and introduced by former mid-oughts D-tier “professional” surfer, and current member of the California Assembly representing the 57th district, Ian Calderon, sought to ease the burdens of wave pool operators by exempting themselves from water quality regulations and their relevant penalties.

Additionally, it sought to limit the number of customers allowed in a pool at any time from 100 to 40.

Analysis of the original bill stated:

Based on the volume of water in wave basins, the current requirement for water treatment turnover rate is excessive and would require significant equipment and capacity to pump, filter, sanitize, and return the entire water volume multiple times per day. The wave generating technology employed in wave basins generates frequent turbulence and mixing of water that would enhance circulation and disbursement of sanitization treatment placed in water basins. There is also a smaller bather load limit, or number of individuals in a wave basin at one time, than traditional swimming or wave pools.

From an operator’s standpoint the desired changes make sense. Running a massive filtration system carries a heavy financial burden. Equipment, power, and maintenance don’t come cheap. In an industry which is, largely, struggling to find a path to profitability every penny matters.

From a consumer’s standpoint… it’s pretty gross. Public pools are a slurry of urine, sweat, mucus, and unwashed buttholes. Which is why they carry existing sanitation requirements. Like buffets, if you want to partake it’s best to remain blissfully unaware or do your best to just not think about it.

Unfortunately for KSWC, the proposed bill was amended, substantially, before the final vote. Exemptions to sanitation guidelines, and the misdemeanor penalties they carry, have been eliminated, leaving only the reduction in capacity from 100 to 40 users at any time.

Whether this was a foreseen, or desirable, development from KSWC’s perspective is unknown. It’s difficult to imagine a world in which a Lemoore-style pool could handle one hundred human beings at once. But it puts a crimp in the plans of developers of competing technology. According to one such person, the reduction in capacity will, “make my business plan not financially viable.”

AB 1161 passed the assembly with a unanimous vote on May 16th and now heads to the State Senate before it can be signed by the governor and enshrined into law.

Which will likely happen, barring unforeseen opposition. But one must wonder, did anyone actually get what they wanted?


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