"Much like Blackberry, KSWC pioneered a new technology. And like Blackberry, KSWC is stubbornly hanging onto its original blueprint."
If you ever have the good fortune to grace the fabled Kelly Slater wavepool in Lemoore, California, you will be awed by its size, the shore where the right extinguishes itself after one minute of riding barely able to be seen, even with squinted eyes.
I rode the joint in 2017, nine waves lassoed, and have yet to sight or command a wave, even close to as good.
Therefore, a terrific surprise this morning when a wavepool expert slammed the Kelly Slater Wave Co pool as “obsolete the day it was unveiled.”
Skip Taylor, a Partner of Surf Park Management told wavepool mag, the reason there hadn’t been another Slater tank built since it’s unveiling in December 2015 was that,
“What happens time after time is once people start to dig into the financial feasibility and see the limited capacity, the large footprint of the venue, the scale of civil construction, and the awkwardness of the pool shape to build around, KSWC quickly gets dismissed in most cases.”
Meanwhile, Wavegarden, Perfect Surf and Endless Surf, smaller, modular tech, dominate the market.
When the developers of that wild housing estate built around a pool near São Paulo, Praia da Grama and Boa Vista Village, looked at the various techs, they dug the Kelly pool but came to the same conclusion as everyone else, it don’t have the commercial potential of its rivals.
Author of the comprehensive story, Evan Quarnstrom, posits,
I liken the position of Slater’s pool to the Blackberry cell phone circa 2010.
Blackberry was a pioneer in the cell phone space and even the preferred option of then US president Barack Obama. They had an industry-leading 43% of the market share in the US at their peak.
Then came the iPhone with its touchscreen technology.
Blackberry insisted on sticking with a keyboard. Their complacency spelled the beginning of the end. After an initial aversion to transition with the market trends and a far-too-late attempt to enter the smartphone market, the Blackberry cell phone finally sputtered to an inevitable death with its final model in 2018.
Much like Blackberry, KSWC pioneered a new technology – in this case a wave that could mimic the power of the ocean. And like Blackberry, KSWC is stubbornly hanging onto its original blueprint. As markets demand a smaller pool with a higher wave rate, KSWC is sticking to its guns.