The Fiji Pro is just about two weeks out. The venue is always one to look forward to – maybe because of the picture perfect nature of the place. The ruler edge reef dishes out flawless wave after flawless wave, and the rawness of the Pacific shows its true beauty. Lemoore, California is 5,553 miles away from Fiji.
But despite the distance, some would argue that there exits an even more appealing wave sitting in a pool in the middle of some farmland. And amongst this “some” is the sport’s governing body, the World Surf League. Yes, the headline is true, the WSL just released a press release announcing their plans to acquire the Kelly Slater Wave Co. Read for yourself the chilling subhead,
“This partnership and technology will allow for advancements in athlete training, access to surfing for people of all levels and increased fan engagement globally.”
I know, big right!? These glorified and grand ideas that have been kicked around about the WSL seeking out potential for a man-made venue are seeming much more feasible. I mean, they even used words terms like fan engagement and globally!! This ain’t no humble little purchase, the big heads behind the surfing world are looking to break through the only ceiling that competitive surfing is limited by – a finite amount of coastline.
Here’s what Slater had to say about the acquisition (bleh, hate that word).
“"Surfing great waves in a controlled environment adds a new dimension, as there is no hassling for waves, no stress over who got the best wave – they are all good. Everyone can relax, have fun and focus on improving their surfing."
"It's beyond my dreams that this wave will be a canvas for the global advancement of this great sport in partnership with the WSL," he added. "It will democratize surfing and provide incredible training opportunities for athletes as well as aspirational surfers in areas with no ocean waves."
And that last little bit is what will be amazing to see flourish. This sport that has been so foreign for so long to such a huge number of people now has the technology to become accessible. In the hands of the right people, and hopefully those people are the WSL and the KS Wave Co, the obscure, and ever-so-addicting act of riding waves could grow tenfold in popularity.
So as much as big moves into the unknown can seem scary, this is one that we’re going to have to learn to embrace. What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe we all become the crusty old “ocean hags” while a generation of “pool rats” grow to take over the spotlight of the industry. I’m completely fine with that. I’ve always aspired to be bitter and grey. – Dayton Silva