Stab Magazine | WSL Adds Wavepool Event To 2018 CT Calendar
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WSL Adds Wavepool Event To 2018 CT Calendar

For the first time in the 21st century, a wavepool will help decide our world champions.  

news // Nov 18, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In a press release this morning, the WSL has announced they’re adding a wave pool event to the 2018 CT calendar. 

WSL CEO, Sophia Goldschmidt, had this to say: “Based on the results of our test event this year and the feedback from surfers training at the facility throughout the season, next September’s event has the potential to be something special for both surfers and fans. We’re only scratching the surface of how this technology can be applied and it is completely game-changing for the sport.”

True, and exciting. 

Then Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner chimed in, saying: “It’s incredible what the WSL and KSWC teams have developed at Surf Ranch over the past year and California’s Central Valley now boasts a world-class wave. This technology, and its ability to deliver high-quality waves at any location in the world, opens so many possibilities for how we can complement and evolve the competitive experience.”

https://player.vimeo.com/video/234779991

As we’ve already witnessed, the wavepool’s inclusion to the CT calendar will breed a variety of reactions from surfing fans — some positive, some negative. One potential issue is that while some competitors (namely Slater and his cronies) have had ample time to practice in the pool, others have had limited access to Lemoore, putting them at a disadvantage for the event.

Stab reached out to the WSL for comment on this issue, who replied: “Since Version 2 came online in September, the WSL Surf Ranch facility in Lemoore has been available as a training facility for all CT surfers. This will continue to be the case in the lead up to and following the scheduled CT event in September 2018. The Commissioner’s Office has been overseeing the scheduling to ensure that all CT athletes have ample opportunity to train there.”

Another question is whether or not pool surfing should be considered worthy of deciding world champions. In my opinion, September’s specialty event proved that, despite certain technical glitches, a competition at The Ranch is a fun and feasible endeavor. The wave’s perpetual sameness adds a unique flavor to surf events, being that riders can no longer rely on wave selection or priority usage as part of their competitive strategy. It now comes down to on-wave performance, with an emphasis on degree of difficulty and, of course, not falling. How the event will be structured into a CT-compatible format has yet to be explained.

I think most would agree that professional surfing needs change. The inclusion of a wavepool event is Step One in the WSL’s massive transformation effort, and a great stepping-stone for the alleged overhaul of 2019.   

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