Surf Ranch: artificial waves will make their debut in pro surfing in 2018

The Surf Ranch will host one of the events of the 2018 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour.

The announcement comes two months after the completion of the Future Classic, the first ever surf competition held at Kelly Slater's wave pool in Leemore, Central California.

WSL is not entirely clear on how the contest format will run. The pro surfing organization only notes that the man-made waves will "complement and evolve the competitive experience."

"Based on the results of our test event 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,” said Sophie Goldschmidt, CEO at WSL.

Will the event be spectator-friendly from an online perspective? How much time will it take for the waves to be generated by the hydrofoil system? Will the surfers in two-man heats compete simultaneously, one each side of the pool?

Wind and temperature of the water are the only variables that will not be controlled by technology, and that influence the quality of the surf in an artificial wave pool.

One thing is clear: the judges will easily compare the surfers' skills, and the wave selection factor will not get into play when the pro surfing circuit makes its debut in the surf lagoon arena.

Athlete representatives Adrian Buchan and Sage Erickson have already given their thumbs up to the introduction of artificial waves in both the Men's and Women's Championship Tour.

The Surf Ranch is a man-made wave concept developed by Kelly Slater and owned by World Surf League since 2016.

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