“Every time this thing runs, it’s better than ninety percent of waves ever are when we’re there!”
The Surf Ranch Pro, a WCT event held at the Kelly Slater wavepool in Lemoore, California, and also known as the Freshwater Pro, has been completed three times, and in every instance Gabriel Medina and Filipe Toledo have been in the final, Medina winning twice.
The contest was very unpopular with fans, however.
As our tour correspondent, the late and forever beautiful Longtom, wrote, “When you strip out the ocean and the possibility of anything that adds unexpected drama to pro surfing, a Medina brain explosion, lulls, a heat-winning ride in the final seconds, sharks, coral etc etc, it boils down to a bland formula.
“For the viewer, a dull ache of unrealised desire at the deathless sight of that impossibly perfect wave that fades with each wave to be replaced with niggling boredom and a jarring resentment.”
In the latest episode of Lost Tapes, an 11-part series that documents Kelly Slater’s 2019 year, he reveals that it was Kolohe Andino, and not he, who was the catalyst for the event running.
“After watching footage, Kolohe goes, ‘Why isn’t this on tour…well think about it!’” remembers Slater. “That’s when the conversation became real.”
Ironically, Kolohe’s initial enthusiasm would turn to sad when the contest did manifest, Kolohe accusing the judges of “playing mind tricks” and rewarding safety surfing and sitting in a barrel that carried with no risk.