Future Classic: World Surf League runs first wave pool contest

September 20, 2017 | Surfing
Future Classic: Gabriel Medina stole the show at Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch | Photo: Morris/WSL

World Surf League (WSL) ran the first ever competition at Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch, in Lemoore, Central California. It was named the Future Classic.

The pro surfing organization tried to keep it a secret but also spread the rumors that something special was about to take place at the private surf pool.

The marketing stunt included all the top male and female surfers, as well as a few stars from the outside world. Eddie Vedder, Pearl Jam's frontman, and a surfer himself, was there to praise the event.

The WSL called it "a milestone moment for professional surfing." However, fans were once again kept out of the gates. Only the stars smiled; only a few were awarded scores for copy/paste waves.

In fact, fans are already questioning whether surf pools will be the death of professional surfing. From a spectator's point of view, the artificial wave party held at Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch was bit boring.

Why? Because it might be fun watching it for the first time, but we immediately wonder how dull and repetitive it could be when we return for the second and third editions.

The 300 invitees were truly excited, though. They got high-scores for their performances in the right-hand and left-hand wave machine and, at the end of the day, they were all surfed out.

"It's perfect. It's that wave that we dream about, the one that we draw on the paper. Being able to surf it, fitting in the barrel for 20 seconds and make it out and turns, turns, and then a final maneuver," said Filipe Toledo.

The format designed for the Future Classic was simple - each surfer gets two attempts on the left, and two attempts on the right and their best score on each direction counts toward the total.

In the end, Gabriel Medina and Carissa Moore won the inaugural 2017 Future Classic.

This was not the first ever surf contest held on an artificial surf pool. The Red Bull Unleashed 2015, which took place in Snowdonia, UK, was the first pro surfing competition featuring the latest man-made wave technology.

2017 Future Classic | Final

1. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
2. Filipe Toledo (BRA)

1. Carissa Moore (HAW)
2. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)

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