Kelly Slater wave pool will host the World Tour
The World Surf League announced that the WSL Surf Ranch Facility in Lemoore, California, will host the world's best surfers as part of the 2018 Championship Tour (CT) calendar.
"Based on the results of our test event this year and the feedback from surfers training at the facility throughout the season, next September's event has the potential to be something special for both surfers and fans," Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO, said. "We're only scratching the surface of how this technology can be applied and it is completely game-changing for the sport."
"It's incredible what the WSL and KSWC teams have developed at Surf Ranch over the past year and California's Central Valley now boasts a world-class wave," Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner, said. "This technology, and its ability to deliver high-quality waves at any location in the world, opens so many possibilities for how we can complement and evolve the competitive experience."
Since coming online in December 2015, the WSL Surf Ranch Facility in Lemoore has undergone constant refinement and evolution of its technology. A test event this year in September delivered positive results in terms of competitive experience and the overwhelmingly supportive feedback from surfers training there throughout the season has encouraged the WSL to pursue an event at the facility in 2018.
"The experience of competing at Surf Ranch is pretty extraordinary," Adrian Buchan, CT competitor and athlete representative, said. "What the team has created is hard to fathom at first -- a perfect, 400-yard-long, bi-directional wave in the middle of rural California. I have no doubt that both the quality of the wave and the experience is befitting of hosting a world-class CT event. The ocean will always be our home, but as we grow, having the opportunity to showcase and share the stoke of surfing to new audiences and schedule with pinpoint accuracy the huge match-ups and drama of the WSL is really exciting."
"The surfers and the WSL have had a long-running discussion about the whole new set of opportunities that an event at the Surf Ranch facility can offer for the sport," said Sage Erickson, CT competitor and athlete representative. "We now have the opportunity to schedule events in advance, guaranteed high-quality waves, fair opportunity for all surfers and a totally new and unique environment for spectators. One of the takeaways from this season's test event is surfers really have to bring their whole arsenal -- forehand, backhand, barrels, turns, airs and timing -- to make an impact. It's going to be incredible."