Slater, on a real wave. Photo courtesy of Testemale/Quiksilver
After five years of research and development, ten-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater recently launched Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC), with the goal of creating artificial, world-class waves around the world.
A team of scientists, businessmen, and engineers experimented with a working model in an LA warehouse, testing its feasibility. The wave is formed in a circular pool that sends swell toward an inner island, where breaks "endlessly."
“Until now, there hasn’t been a man-made wave technology that even comes close to reproducing a natural feeling and world-class waves,” Slater says. “From the start, we’ve been committed to creating an authentic surfing experience."
Wave pools have a long history of failure, at least in terms of creating ocean-like waves. Because of this, attempts like Japan's Ocean Dome and the Flowrider failed in attracting large numbers of surfers.
Slater wants to change this by not only creating world-class waves but by creating a plaza-like environment with shops, conference rooms, bars, and restaurants.
“I'd like to see this be a sort of default wave for when the surf in the ocean isn't good, as well as a platform to help anyone advance from the level they're at quickly and easily in a safe environment," Slater says.
Will it work? Only time will tell, but Slater is not prone to failure, except maybe for "Baywatch." We'd put our money on him.