Kelly Slater infamously broke the internet late last month when the 11-time world champion uploaded footage of himself riding a perfectly-formed artificial wave which he said had been 10 years in the making.
The headlines screamed “This Changes Everything”.
Obviously, in terms of competition surfing, it may very well have a massive impact on the future of the sport. We all know that competitive surfing, love it or loathe it, only involves a tiny percentage of surfers across the globe.
It may also make surfing more accessible to billions of in-landers in the same kind of way public swimming pools, public skate ramps and fun parks do?
The question I would raise though is will the creation of artificial fun park style surf complexes end the search The Perfect natural wave?
I very much doubt it!
That’s not to say there isn’t room for both, though! Kelly has come up with an insane artificial wave, but only time will tell if such fun parks are going to be a commercial winner or a long term alternative to chasing and surfing natural ocean waves.
Actually, that is not really the question here.
Let’s just say that the emergence of such brilliant design and technology keeps evolving to the point where it does become commercially viable and it does offer a fun alternative to pay for some uncrowded fun sessions etc, hold some big contests etc.
I don’t want to sound like I’m sitting on a high horse here – I would never rule out The Perfect Wave or begrudge any travel co or individual booking such an experience. The point I can unequivocally make though is it is not, and never will be the same as chasing natural waves with all the mystery and fun cultural adventures that involves.
We all embark on surf holidays. Surf travel is a massive part of our lifestyle. Chasing waves is what we do on a daily basis.
Waiting for all the elements to align – swell size, direction, wind, tide – all the elements coming together to create the ultimate session is what keeps our lifestyle so interesting and keeps us humans evolving.
Purchasing a coupon and waiting in line for wave number 61 to arrive in an hour and 1 minute may unfortunately remind you of a Snapper session, but it is going to be nothing like young southern Sydney surfers Brody Blinkhorn, Harry English and Jake Gerard’s first trip to Indonesia with The Perfect Wave last year whereby they immersed themselves in the culture and the lifestyle and scored some incredible waves on their journey.
It will never be equal to bedding down in a small surf village, trekking through the jungle, eating exotic local cuisine, and waking up pre-dawn to a new swell.
The Perfect Wave specialize in making these kind of experiences easy for you, and they will not be available at any fun parks or wave pools any time soon.