One week ago took place the Founder’s Cup of Surfing in Leemore, California, United States. This special event was held at Surf Ranch.
Surf Ranch is not a beach and is located 175 kilometers far from the ocean. You’re probably asking yourself how is it possible so let’s go a little bit deeper on it.
Kelly Slater and a fluid mechanics specialist have teamed up to transform a farm country in a surfing pool. At the beginning they created a 700-meter-long artificial lake and then they added a system that drags a carefully shaped metal blade called “hydrofoil” through the water. When the resulting swell sweeps over the lakebed, contoured in detail with the help of supercomputers, it transforms into a surfing wave of unearthly perfection. It seems that finally they found the perfect wave, the one that the two globetrotting surfers in the documentary “ The Endless Summer” was looking for. On last september pro surfers came to test this artificial spot, still not open to the public, to prove if Surf Ranch can be a competition venue for the World Surf League’s Championship tour. One of the pro surfers, Adrian Buchan said that surfing at Surf Ranch is an experience second to none. Kelly Slater founded the Kelly Slater Wave Company in order to start this huge project that took 10 years to be developed and it is still considered a working prototype.
At Surf Ranch there is a wave created approximately every 4 minutes, which allows the pool to smooth off after the previous run. A ride will last for 45 seconds if you complete it and you’ll have the opportunity to have the longest tube time ever on a wave.
So last week there was the first event held in this unique place. And Kelly Slater proved his strenght immediately on the first run.
Kelly Slater is the most famous surfer and he is a real legend. He is the only one that that won the World Surf League title eleven times, of which five consecutives (1994-1998). He made also another record: he is the youngest (at age of 20) and in the same time the oldest (at age of 39) to win the title. Since 1990 Slater had been sponsored primarily by surfwear industry giant Quiksilver until 2014 when he started to collaborate with fashion brand conglomerate Kering. He is also an advocate of a sustainable and clean living lifestyle. In collaboration with Kering he created the eco-friendly and sustainable apparel company “outerknown”.
The Founders Cup at Surf Beach features five teams USA, Brazil, Australia, Europe and World. Kelly Slater surfed amazingly and score 8.80 on his left and 8.47 on his right. Thanks to this performance the american team reached the top spot after the first run. Surf Ranch seems to be a great success and here the surfers cannot complain about the lack of perfect waves. But what about the beautiful unpredictability of the ocean?