I was treated to a lovely news segment, this morning, from Atlanta, Georgia’s CNN. The 24-hour news network has fallen on harder times, viewership numbers plunging as competitor Fox News maintains a steely grip on ratings, but it was once groundbreaking, even synonymous with the very concept of “news.”
A recorder of history as it is occurring in the very moment. The events which will someday be codified into books and taught to our children’s children’s children’s children.
As it happens, our World Surf League should be entirely worried about its place in the aforementioned history for the lovely news segment I was treated to featured wave pools and was filed under the title “Are artificial surf parks ready for competition?”
It began with the footnote that the first wave pool in history was built in 1870 by the “mad king” Ludwig II of Bavaria. He, allegedly, dug a pit under his beautiful castle, filled it with water and zapped it with electricity. The narrator then discusses artificial wave pools growing in popularity through the 1980s, the sort that lap against children floating on tubes at Disneyworld etc., to our modern high-performance surf iteration.
Off we then whisk to Gipuzkoa, Spain, the location of Wavegarden’s private R + D facility to meet founder and CEO Josema Odriozola. He chats about the various technologies they are employing, making better air sections for Brazilian surfers (since they are the best at that sort of thing), better barrels, better faces for turns. The well-spoken Aritz Aranburu is introduced and says, “I really think the waves are good enough to hold events. I think it is going to be interesting to do events in places with no ocean.”
The storyline returns to the narrator, who says, “While wave pools will never replace the ocean, there is the potential for a new kind of contest.” And takes us to the Switzerland which “has hosted the first competition.” According to Odriozola it was “a big success” with the surfers knowing that the waves would be there for them, no ocean going flat, no waiting etc. Aranburu declares the only thing left is to make the waves bigger.
Not only no mention of Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch there in Lemoore, California, but not mention of the Surf Ranch Pro which, not once but twice, hosted World Surf League Championship Tour competitions.
Those who were forced to watch the Surf Ranch Pro in real time likely felt that history would not treat it kindly but for it to be disappeared from the annals in a Stalinist purge?
A pure and vicious repudiation of the World Surf League.