"Surf pools drained and empty, wave generating equipment apparently dismantled..."
Oh to be 11x ASP/WSL champion Kelly Slater. In California’s armpit, his eponymous Surf Ranch Pro is set to kick off tomorrow under a scorching sun with many professional surfers dreaming fevered mutinous dreams. Not one happy person within 15 miles (save event winner Gabriel Medina).
And, hours away, in Texas’s heart, once-thrilled residents are seething, angry, growing increasingly restless with the purchase, then shuttering, of a proud NLand Surf Park just outside of Austin.
Austonia, a locals’ only website detailing life in, and around, Austin, has just published a scathing piece titled “Summer Bummer” blaming “the world’s greatest surfer” for their woes and let us read, now, together:
Austin’s surf park made a splash when it opened in 2016, astounding the city’s land-locked surf-lovers with new artificial wave technology. Two years after a company led by the world’s most famous surfer took over, an Austonia drone photo survey shows a desolate site where there once was a thriving attraction that brought surfers from both coasts, and beyond.
Surf pools drained and empty, wave generating equipment apparently dismantled, parking lots empty, surf shop and pub closed. Mud, weeds, and only the sound of prairie wind, where once big waves broke to the sounds of joy from excited surfers.
Austonia goes on to detail how they hired a drone to fly above the surf park and see what Kelly Slater hath wrought (mud, weeds), writes of how Slater and the World Surf League have done nothing with the property since August 2019 when an engineering plan was denied by the City Council and how this has not been Slater and the WSL’s only boondoggle.
Shall we read more?
Austin’s Surf Ranch isn’t the only location to flop. According to Beach Grit, Slater’s first U.S. location, a prototype Surf Ranch location in Lemoore, California, seemed closest to opening but remains closed to the public, open by invite only. Another in the works by KSW is Surf Ranch Coolum in Queensland, Australia, a $1.2 billion development with plans to open in 2022.
We already know what’s going to happen in Coolum, don’t we.
A handful of nothin’.
The world’s greatest film has taught us that, sometimes, nothin’ can be a real cool hand but not in this case.
Not in Austin.
(More as the story develops.)