How to Surf Your Nearest Wave Pool

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Surf Ranch, California

Location: Lemoore, California, about a three-and-a-half-hour drive from either San Francisco or Los Angeles

The Setup: Surf Ranch is Kelly Slater’s private facility in central California, built in a defunct man-made waterskiing lake. Despite being the most well-known man-made wave in the world right now, the 2,100-foot long lake is not open to the public and shrouded in secrecy. However, having been purchased by the World Surf League late last year, we can expect, at a minimum, a competition event in the near future, likely followed by a rollout of public facilities. A recent post on Slater’s Instagram read: “We took [the wave pool] apart and made it even better — more waves, more sections, and goofy footers might be pretty excited, too.”

The Technology: Similar to NLand’s wave foil, Slater is believed to also use a hydrofoil of some sort — it’s been described as an underwater airplane wing — that creates a very specific wave shape because of a carefully designed lake floor.

The Wave: That specific shape we refer to above has been described as nothing less than the perfect barrel. Slater is said to have been obsessed with a heavy and hollow technical wave, and that’s exactly what they built. If — or when — Slater’s wave is made available to the public, it would likely be most suitable for more experienced surfers.

Surf It: The only way you’ll get to ride this wave — for now — is to either make friends with the man himself or win a visit through his next Golden Ticket contest.

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