Kelly Slater rides Surf Abu Dhabi's first wave
Kelly Slater rode the first-ever artificial wave produced at Surf Abu Dhabi, the world's largest wave pool built to date.
It's located on Hudayriyat Island in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Slater attended the exclusive behind-closed-doors event to ride the first test wave in order to test the facility and provide feedback to ensure the wave quality will be optimized upon opening in early 2024.
Among the attendees were champion surfers, including Caroline Marks, Filipe Toledo, Stephanie Gilmore, Gabriel Medina, and Ramzi Boukhiam, who all joined the artificial surf session at Surf Abu Dhabi.
The UAE surf park was developed by Modon Properties in collaboration with the Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC).
Surf Abu Dhabi will feature the world's longest ride, largest barrel, and highest man-made wave.
First Public KSWC Surf Lagoon
Unlike the Surf Ranch, the Arabian Peninsula surf lagoon will be open to the general public.
"The preparations are near completion," said Jassem Mohamed Bu Ataba Al Zaabi, chairman of Modon Properties.
"Staging our first-ever test wave with Kelly Slater and legends of the sport is a testament to the progress we've made to bring this vision to reality."
The 11-time world surfing champion was impressed with the ride at Surf Abu Dhabi.
"I've surfed hundreds of incredible waves across the world, and this wave in Abu Dhabi stacks up well against some of the best waves on earth."
"I've drawn on that traveling surf education to design the wave at Surf Abu Dhabi."
The World's Largest Wave Pool
Kelly Slater unveiled his original wave pool concept in 2015 in Lemoore, Central California.
Since then, the test facility has only been open to World Surf League (WSL), private and corporate events.
The UAE project is the largest ever of its kind.
"Surfing reaches people in all corners of the globe, but I am always surprised with who gravitates towards this world of ours," added Slater.
"Actually, designing and building a wave in Abu Dhabi is something I've never believed would become a reality, but here it is."
"This will provide endless fun for so many people, creating an opportunity to surf an incredible wave in a special part of the world for both experienced and beginner surfers."
"This marks a new era in what's possible in the surf world."
Jeff Fleeher, president of Kelly Slater Wave Co., stresses the excitement of taking the region's surf culture to new levels.
"As a global hub for tourism, sport, and business, with diverse peoples and cultures, Abu Dhabi is the perfect place for us to showcase KSWC's unmatched wave technology and surf experience in the Middle East."
Surf Abu Dhabi was developed to host future major international surf competitions and accommodate professional surfers with ideal conditions to train or compete.
It aims to become the world's most advanced surf facility on the planet.