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“Wavegarden just went Betamax!”

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Are Wavegarden execs really standing on building ledges, crying?

Earlier this morning, the Seattle-based surf historian, former Surfer editor and once-a-week-lovemaker, Matt Warshaw, wrote me a short email.

“We need to do a back and forth on Kelly’s wave machine. I feel dizzy.”

I replied, “Matt I feel dizzy, too, maybe a little chilly. Do you see a dystopian future? ”

The following back and forth ensued, with Warshaw even suggesting the desirability of the Slater pool as a WSL event. After all, said Warshaw, “If you had a choice yesterday between Pipe or Kelly’s wave, world title on the line, you’d take Kelly’s wave.”

The bit at the end of the vid where Kelly parks in the tube, all I could think of was, I’ve never seen anything like that except maybe Barra. And Barra is hot and sticky and crowded, and where’s my passport, and where do you stay, and who’s renting the car, while this wave . . . fuck! I don’t know. Do I want to surf it? I don’t know. Yes. Yes, of course I want to surf it!

BeachGrit: How do you think Kelly’s wave compares to Wavegarden?

Warshaw: Wavegarden just went Betamax! Wavegarden execs are standing on office building ledges, crying, looking down at the sidewalk! How does it compare to that pool you surfed in Dubai?

BeachGrit: Not Dubai, but Malaysia and the Canaries have felt my touch. Malaysia was terrible, Tenerife was something else. Do I want to surf Kelly’s pool? I’ve never wanted anything as much…how about you old man?

Warshaw: There used to be this place called Big Surf, in Arizona, this big toilet-flusher of a wavepool. Maybe its still there. This huge three-story tank filled with water, and somebody would press a button, and water gushed into a pool and made this rolling shitwad of a wave. Big Surf was in a couple surf movies in the early ‘70s, and the whole point was to laugh at it. Nobody wanted to actually ride it. Same deal with the FlowRider. Then the pool in Japan, Ocean Dome I think it was called, that was better, then a few pools after that were crap, then the early Wavegarden clips, I remember thinking, Ohhh, they’re getting closer. But not until 10 minutes ago have I ever actually wanted to surf an artificial wave. The bit at the end of the vid where Kelly parks in the tube, all I could think of was, I’ve never seen anything like that except maybe Barra. And Barra is hot and sticky and crowded, and where’s my passport, and where do you stay, and who’s renting the car, while this wave . . . fuck! I don’t know. Do I want to surf it? I don’t know. Yes. Yes, of course I want to surf it

RonJon_wavepool

BeachGrit: Surfing just changed, you think?

Warshaw: I do. Absolutely. Like, put a big red before-and-after mark in the timeline. For starters, just to take the easiest topic, since we’re all thinking about contests after yesterday— do you put a wave pool on the WCT schedule?

Kelly Slater wave pool

Kelly Slater at the Ocean Dome wave pool, Miyazaki, Japan. Closed since 2007 due to inflated operating costs.

BeachGrit: Do you?

Warshaw: Wavegarden just went Betamax! Wavegarden execs are standing on office building ledges, crying, looking down at the sidewalk!

Warshaw: How do you not? If you had a choice yesterday between Pipe or Kelly’s wave, world title on the line, you’d take Kelly’s wave. But its making me a little crazy thinking about it.

BeachGrit: What about the idea that this is the opener for a dystopian future of inland jocks finally putting paid to the myth of surfing being for evolved souls?

Warshaw: Twenty years ago a lot of people were saying, and I was in this camp myself for a year or so, that surf-cams and high-tech forecasting were about to suck the magic out of the sport. But that was nothing compared to what Kelly just did. Wow, Kelly just kicked surf forecasting in the nuts! We praise the adventure and exploring and culture and things that come with wave-hunting, but those are cheap virtues, when there’s no option. What we all want, first and foremost, is the good wave. Now there IS an option, or will be soon, are you still going to go halfway around the world to chase a swell, and risk a surprise crowd, or a rogue bit of shitty weather, or 10 other things that’ll mess the surf up? Or you going to book your time at the pool? I’d still probably choose travel but I’m not as sure about that as I was when I woke up this morning. And probably a majority of surfers just flat out will take the sure thing and go to the pool.

BeachGrit: Did you like the timing of the release? Our little buzzy bee world champ and Pipeline Master enjoys limelight for exactly…one day.

Warshaw: Nah, I don’t think that has anything to do with the timing. They filmed on December 5, and Kelly’s been sitting on it since then. He would have been dying to drop it. Anybody would. Nice of Kelly to wait until Pipe was finished, actually.

BeachGrit: Where do you think it is? Real cold, near a major road, you’ve got a handle on US geography?

Warshaw: Not a clue. I was thinking it was some other country. I’m sure we’ll know by tomorrow.

BeachGrit: Where’s it gonna be in a year? In 10 years?

Warshaw: One year from now, my guess is they’re going to be programing variations and even flaws into the wave, so it doesn’t look so antiseptic. Then I guess the biggest thing is figuring out the economics and scalability. Ten years from now 90% of us will be within a half-day’s drive of a Kelly Slater signature wave. Fuck, I’ll be to old for the Barra model.

Did Reddit Find Kelly Slater’s Wave Pool?

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

…oh you'll never guess where!

What did we do before the miracle of the internet? Before we could jam hither and yon, sharing information with the punch of a key?

For a few hours this morn, it looked like the entire world was pushed up against their laptop and phone screens, gobbling up the just-loosed video of Kelly Slater’s wave pool.

Of course, the short is low on details, Kelly choosing to eschew all references and details. Whereupon Reddit, that fabulous online bulletin board full of devoted keyboard jockeys, filled in the blanks.

Street views, satellite views, anecdotal evidence, comparison of trees, of buildings.

From stuftup: “Basically gonna confirm its the lake on the right – the one under construction in the google aerial map. Check the building styles from the street view and the screencap: http://imgur.com/a/dFfc3

Hell, the building in the background of the screencap where you can see the two rollup doors on the left side may be the same one from the street view.

Screen Shot 2015-12-19 at 9.13.14 am

From Weatherhaboob: “It think we found it boys! I don’t like blowing up spots but this is different. I really think this is it.”

XFHjoRp

 

Want more on these sleuthing threads? Dive in here and here. 

Cruel: Kelly Slater steals ADS thunder!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

He is an absolute master.

I was enjoying a wonderful cup of coffee this morning with ol’ pal Ashton Goggans. You remember him? He used to write great things for us here. We were speaking on all manner of fun topics, just having a good time. Then Bart Wilson, Julian’s brother, came up and we talked about more fun things until Bart said, “Have you seen Kelly’s new wave pool?”

And FUCK! There went my wonderful cup of coffee and nice sunny chat. I had to sprint home to try and toss the video on our little site. Thankfully Rory, floating in the middle of the ocean, beat me to it but my morning was still gutted. Wrecked.

Kelly Slater is an absolute master of stealing the spotlight any time it drifts, slightly, from his handsome face. He was mad at me for having a cup of coffee and not talking about him and so he released a perfect video that is burning the Internet down.

Worse still, though, is poor Adriano de Souza. Hours ago, literally hours, he was on top of it all. He was champion of the world, the first ever Brazilian Pipe Master too! He had etched his name into the record books and could sit back and be lauded for a hard-fought year.

Except he couldn’t because when he woke up this morning the lauders were glued to computer screens not watching his year’s highlights but ogling Kelly Slater’s magnificent wave.

I want to be frustrated but he is so good at it, so utterly masterful, that all I can do is stand, mouth agape, like everyone else. Oh, my mouth is not agape at the wave. It scares me in a way that I cannot explain. Like, really points to the end of the world somehow.

No, I stand in awe of Kelly Slater. 43 years old. Ended the year in 9th place. And he is still the epicenter of our world. Bravo and here’s looking at you, kid

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 11.37.25 AM

Just in: Kelly Slater Wave Pool!

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

And you thought it was bullshit, right?

 

 

I’ve always assumed that the Kelly Slater Wave Company was more or less bullshit. Like, a tax dodge, or some deal where a dude offered Kelly bunch of equity in exchange for his name, and used that name to slide through re-zoning deals.

Guess not, though. Kelly dropped the bomb this morning on Instagram:

Now that the world title has been decided and events for the year have finished, I’m excited to show you what I’ve been sitting on for the past couple of weeks. For nearly ten years, my team and I have been working on creating the first truly world-class, high-performance, human-made waves. This is something I dreamt about as a kid. Through rigorous science and technology, we’ve been able to design and build what some said was impossible, and many very understandably never thought would actually happen. I’m proud to say we took our time to get it right, and the first fully-working prototype of the wave now exists (a huge personal thank you to everyone in our lab and on our team for seeing this through!). I’ll be sharing more details in the coming weeks and months but I can’t wait any longer to share a film of my experience surfing the wave for the first time, almost two weeks ago. It was an insane day. I’m still a little in disbelief, and trying to process how much fun this wave is, but it certainly feels like this is going to change a lot of perceptions about human-made waves. There’s a direct link in my bio to kswaveco.com to view the short film. Can’t wait to see other people surf it soon and show what is possible on this thing. #KSWaveCo #FreakOfTechnology#LooksLikeSuperbank but#NotCrowded!

Hot damn! Thing shits all over the Wave Garden, huh?

"I’m still a little in disbelief, and trying to process how much fun this wave is, but it certainly feels like this is going to change a lot of perceptions about human-made waves."

“I’m still a little in disbelief, and trying to process how much fun this wave is, but it certainly feels like this is going to change a lot of perceptions about human-made waves.”

Which is, at first glance, what this looks like. A much bigger, far better, many times more powerful, version of the Wave Garden. Which isn’t to say they stole ideas or anything…

But let’s keep our expectations realistic. The limited footage doesn’t address numerous factors- most importantly, is it a viable business? Costs an awful lot to generate that much power, so unless the KSWC also came up with cold fusion, sending those bombs down the line all day long is going to be unreal expensive to run.

Then there’s the more mundane problems WG’s already run into.

Water is heavy, will moving that much constantly break components? Where does the energy go? Is it going to be a half hour between waves as it settles, or be a choppy soupy mess as it runs? Why not the circle pool idea? That one was always my fave.

Slater’s face lighting up at the beginning of the clip is totes adorbs, the wave looks like a surf-starved teenager’s wet dream, and I’d bet dollars to donuts KS and Co is already working to figure out freshwater surfboards. Kelly Slater brand boards on Kelly Slater Brand waves.

Post-sesh Purps for power while wrapped in Outerknown’s latest. The potential for synergy is endless!

In Defense of the Tawdry

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

A continual tilting toward windmills!

The sun rose this morning on a new surf landscape. One where a proud little worker bee from Sao Paulo, Brazil with the letters H and D emblazoned on the nose of his surfboard (what’s HD?) stands above the blonde/bald Adonises. One where we can speak truthfully about things maybe?

I hate to keep beating this drum but just one more time, for clarity’s sake!

Yesterday early, I published details of Mick Fanning’s brother’s death. Through the day Derek and I debated its pertinence before Derek evaporated it in the afternoon and published the wonderful piece What is Newsworthy? documenting why/how we do what we do.

And in the comments a very great discussion took place, one that inspired. The whole reason I published in the first place, even though, it turned my stomach was because I am tired, exhausted even, of the surf media being a dumb ostrich. Anytime something veers into the distasteful or uncomfortable we put our collective head in the sand. It has become patently absurd especially when things are either widely reported externally and/or very very public on social media or elsewhere.

Longtom said it well. “It was bizarre (that day) hearing people giving shout outs to Mick and wondering what the fuck was going on and then watching the whole thing blow up into a huge mainstream story……like every News Bulletin I heard today featured it as the lead story, front page of New Ltd newspapers. Can’t silence something that is news to that extent, no matter how much you want to respect the family. At that point it seems ridiculous, surreal even to try.”

Derek added, succinctly, that part of BeachGrit‘s trouble when it comes to reporting uncomfortable truths is, “the architecture of our site doesn’t help. Our headlines… YELL… and give the impression we’re tap-dancing every time we post…”

Completely true. Still, one of the things I most wanted to do when we founded this little nugget was to be honest about what’s happening. Anti-depressiveness first but truthfulness also even when tawdry second!

Burt Reynolds (welcome Bo “Bandit” Darville!) added, “When you want the idea of exposing the truth to become why people read as opposed to what you feel your individual narrative can give to a story then you’ve stepped a foot wrong in my opinion.”

And he is exactly right. I don’t want to be an ugly tabloid and would never, ever report something personal and private. I have sat on more of those stories than I can count. But, again, if something is widely reported and/or impossible to ignore public then, hell, even if it turns the stomach it flies, in my opinion, because opening up the window and letting air into the stale, ultra-conservative, fearful den that is the current state of the surf has value.

Captain Clark added, ” I personally don’t think dodging the elephant in the room does anyone any good albeit done in the right way. Dodging enables the issue to fester causing regrets.” And boredom. And an utterly skewed perspective. And slow slow death.

So I will keep tilting at this damned windmill unless a super minority says, “Stop it!” And I will point back to this post, the next time, because it is not personal and it is not mean-spirited. The truth is simply nothing to fear.