Stab Magazine | The Plan To Add 2 Extra Pools (And Much More) To Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch By 2026

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The Plan To Add 2 Extra Pools (And Much More) To Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch By 2026

We got our grubby paws on the Surf Ranch development plans. 

news // May 1, 2018
Words by Rory Parker
Reading Time: 5 minutes

No matter how you feel about the existence of Kelly’s pool—whether or not it’s a violation of the sanctity of the sport destined to destroy whatever ‘soul’ is left by bottling and selling a heretofore naturally occurring bit of fun—you can’t deny the thing is a damn miracle of human genius.

It looks so fun, so challenging. Not quite a ‘real’ wave, but close enough to scratch the itch.

Kelly and company have been hard at work dialing it in, tuning it up, turning it into a high-performance barrel that will almost certainly change the face of competitive surfing forever.

The upcoming Founders’ Cup will be the first real chance for the public to take a closer look. Until now it’s been kept an open secret. Only lucky members of the media, legit members of the surf industry, and those with deep enough pockets to rent it out have gotten a taste. What footage exists has been released in drips and drabs. Enough to whet an appetite without sating.

Employees have remained mum, requests for comment to the WSL and KSWC go unanswered. But given enough resourcefulness, and a willingness to wade through the massive amount of tedious paperwork filed with Kings County, there’s a lot to be learned.

As recently reported, earlier this month the WSL received conditional use permits allowing for further development onsite. Taking place over three stages, the first of which has already been completed, the schematics filed alongside environmental impact reports and traffic abatement plans provide a helpful illustration for those of us yearning to know more.


wavepool 01


This is the Surf Ranch as it currently exists. Access roads to be used for further development, the pre-existing water ski lake, the existing wave pool, and the supplementary buildings used for an assortment of purposes. Water treatment, equipment storage, three temporary buildings used for lodging, one building meant for storing surfboards and accessories.

wavepool 02


The second stage of development revolves around the upcoming events planned at the Surf Ranch, and focuses on providing entertainment/music venues, bleachers, lighting, pedestrian and vehicular access, and parking.

Parking will not be finished in time for the Founders’ Cup. Instead, as previously reported, shuttle services will be provided from the nearby Tachi Palace and West Hills College, with some lucky few allowed to park onsite.

Shuttles will run from 9am-12pm, with the event scheduled to run from 12-3pm.

While the WSL expects 5000 people to attend, new information suggests that the Tachi Palace will be VIP only, and the West Hills College has space for only 1,583 vehicles. If you’re going you should plan on carpooling, and be sure to get there early. Anyone who’s ever had to deal with shuttle service during a jam-packed festival knows that they never run smoothly, despite any amount of planning.

If you were hoping to arrive extra early and sneak into a spot along the road out front, think again. As a safety recommendation, temporary “No Parking” signs are recommended to be posted along 18th Avenue and Jackson Avenue 1,000 feet from the driveway entrance. It is anticipated that this measure would limit vehicles entering and exiting the roadway from the narrow road shoulders, discourage parking on private property and reduce potential conflicts with pedestrians.

Additionally, it is recommended that a Sheriff’s Deputy or CHP officer patrol, or roam, the area roadways near the driveway entrance to enforce parking restrictions prior to and during a special event.

On site parking should be finished in time for the Tour event in September.

It was unable to be determined whether seating at events will be assigned, or available on a first-come-first-served basis, but attendees would do well to note the location of bleachers and make their selection based on knowledge of how the pool functions.

While seating on the North end of the pool will provide the longest unobstructed view of the wave, it will also leave spectators watching from behind when the train changes direction and moves away. Bleachers along the East and West sides of the pool are most likely to provide a good middle ground as the wave shape alternates between right to left.

wavepool 03


Stage three is where things get exciting. Two additional wave pools, a two-story, 5000 sq ft, “High-Performance Training Center,” a 4,000 sq ft “multi-purpose recreational facility,” and a community outreach building will be added to the pre-existing structures.

Of note is the shape of the third pool. Rather than the long and narrow version currently in existence, of which a second is planned, the third pool is square in shape and only two-thirds as large as the existing pool.

At first glance, one might speculate that its shape and size point toward an intended purpose as a beginner pool. While the existing wave is undeniably amazing, it’s not exactly the best type of wave on which to learn. However, the current pool can be set to produce varying sizes of surf, depending upon the speed at which the foil moves through the water. Slow it down and the surf size and power decrease. Crank it all the way up and you get the gorgeous barrels we’ve all enjoyed watching.

It’s possible the square pool is the intended site of a “peak,” wherein a central train creates breaking waves on both sides. This would lead to shorter rides, quicker turnover, and the ability to accommodate more surfers. 

There’s also the possibility that the KSWC does not have concrete plans regarding the third pool but decided to act in a forward-thinking manner and apply for permitting for a structure that fits on the land available in the hopes they’ll come up with something later.  

Better to get permission, then build, then come up with the idea and hope permitting works out.

Prototype pools 2 and 3 are scheduled to begin construction sometime between 2020 and 2026, with each taking six to twelve months to complete.

The existing wave pool, and the pre-existing water ski lake, contain 15 million gallons of water each and require an additional” 25,000 to 150,000 gallons of makeup water per day, depending on the season.”

The planned stage two and stage three prototypes will be 15 million gallons and 10 million gallons, respectively.

Upon completion, the Surf Ranch will consume up to 300,000 gallons of water per day, which is provided by onsite wells.

If you’re unclear about how much water that is, here’s a picture of a man standing next to a 300,000 gallon water tank.   

Screen Shot 2018 04 30 at 9.38.56 AM

While that amount is the high-end estimate, relating to the most that will evaporate or be lost as runoff/overflow each day, it points to an important fact regarding future wave pools construction off-site. Any potential investors looking to license the design will need not only funding, a sufficient amount of inexpensive land, and relatively inexpensive power, but also constant access to a very large supply of clean water.

The water ski lake, which was present prior to the Surf Ranch’s construction, will remain in place and continue to be used for the foreseeable future.


-The Surf Ranch does not actually exist within the borders of Lemoore, CA. In fact, it sits on unincorporated land within Kings County.

-The property’s prior use as agricultural land, then as a golf course which was abandoned, means there is little risk of destruction of endemic plant or animal life. The one exception being the endangered, and adorable, San Joaquin Kit Fox, which is listed as having a “high potential to occur on the project site due to the presence of suitable habitat.”

-Coccidiodes immiti, the fungus that causes Valley Fever, a serious and potentially long-term respiratory illness, is endemic in the soils of Kings County. 

However, the risk is only present during construction and the KSWC is taking steps in order to reduce ambient dust and shield workers from harm.


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