The World Surf League made history with the first official competition using a man-made wave pool, which was created by Kelly Slater. He is the most successful champion in the history of surfing. Slater is an 11-time WSL champion, and known for being the youngest and oldest to ever win the title. He teamed up with a group of specialists to create the wave pool, which is revolutionizing the competitive aspects of the sport.
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Now professionals don’t have to worry about the unpredictability of actual waves that can vary in size and timing, especially when it comes to high and low tide. Some feel that this takes away a vital part of competitive surfing, but others argue it expedites the competition in a way that allows the athletes to be judges on a more level playing field. This week’s historical debut took place in Lemoore, California, about 120 miles away from the Pacific coastline.
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The 54 surfers, comprised of 36 men and 18 women, compete on six waves throughout the first three days of the tournament. On the fourth day, finalists are decided by a combination of the best scores, and then they ride another six waves to determine the winner. The man-made wave pool certainly brings a new level of consistency to the sport, allowing the competition to focus solely on the talent and skill of the surfers.
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The technology uses a system of hydrofoils that get their energy from a vehicle, which resembles a train, that runs along a bridge-like overhead structure that’s next to the rectangular, 2,000-foot pool. This creates waves that are almost identical for every run, but the WSL says there are still minor differences from wave to wave. Check out the video below to see how it was made…