Surf Ranch: a wave pool concept designed and developed by Kelly Slater | Photo: WSL

Welcome to Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch. Prepare to embark on a highly technical and scientific ride across the magnificent world of man-made waves.

The concept of the perfect wave has always been in the mind of the most successful pro surfer of all time.

"I've been dreaming about this wave my whole life," Slater once admitted.

Could a human shape and mimic an ocean wave? How many variables should we consider to control the movement of a wave? Can waves be sculpted? How would you define a perfectly rideable wave?

Kelly Slater's vision was to create a soliton wave, i.e., a self-reinforcing solitary wave that maintains its shape while propagating at a constant velocity.

In 2007, he founded the Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC), and in a decade, the Floridian champion created what is widely regarded as the best artificial wave pool in the world.

Kelly Slater named his project Surf Ranch. His ultimate dream is to design a surf pool that allows surfers to ride waves indefinitely.

Surf Ranch: the ultimate surf pool by Kelly Slater | Photo: KSWC

Here are a few things you didn't know about the Kelly Slater Wave Company:

1. Kelly Slater had his first contact with an artificial lake at the age of 14 when he and his brother Sean made a surfing demonstration in a small surf pool in Texas;

2. The Cocoa Beach surfer won a surf contest in an inland water park when he was only 16;

3. In 2006, Slater met up with Adam Fincham, a British amateur surfer and aerospace engineer with a specialization in geophysical fluid dynamics, who became the head scientist at KSWC;

4. In 2017, a team from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, which included Fincham, Larry Redekopp, Tony Maxworthy, and Fred Browand, conducted a feasibility study to assess the artificial wave potential;

5. The initial tests for the man-made wave pool were made using a 1/15-scale, donut-shaped tank located in a restricted warehouse in Los Angeles;

6. The early name for the circular surf parks was "Kelly Slater Surf Experience";

7. In 2015, when Kelly Slater unveiled the first prototype built in Lemoore, Central California, the pool pumped 45-second barreling waves;

8. It took nearly ten years for the project to see the light of day, from the early lab experiences to the public announcement;

9. The test site at Lemoore is a 2,000 feet long and 500 feet wide artificial lake originally built for water skiing;

10. The Surf Ranch relies on a unique system of hydrofoils that make the artificial waves rise up over the rectangular pool;

Surf Ranch: the lake pumps right and left-hand waves | Photo: WSL

11. The contours of the lake were designed and perfected with the help of high-tech supercomputers;

12. The 100-ton hydrofoils - named "The Vehicle" - run down a track with the help of more than 150 truck tires and at around 18 miles per hour (30 kilometers per hour);

13. When the swell hits specific areas of the lake's bottom, the wave starts to break thanks to the influence of the contour reefs;

14. Giant lateral gutters mitigate the bounce-back effect that occurs on the pool walls;

15. It takes three minutes for the surf pool water to calm down and return to a completely static state;

16. Waves at the Surf Ranch can reach 6.5 feet, but they can also be adjusted to fit beginner, intermediate and advanced surfers;

17. Turbulence and oscillations of the entire water body - seiching - are fundamental variables that are difficult to simulate in a small-scale wave pool;

18. Thin netting separates the hydrofoils from the surfers;

19. After testing it out for the first time, Slater asked his engineers to make a few adjustments to the pool's bottom;

20. The World Surf League (WSL) bought a major stake in the Kelly Slater Wave Company in 2016;

Surf Ranch: there are two barreling sections during each ride | Photo: WSL

21. The costs of installing a Surf Ranch will vary between $2 million and $20 million, depending on the size of the surf park;

22. Tickets for the WSL Founders' Cup, the first-ever surf competition held at the Surf Ranch, cost from $80 to $9,500;

23. The Surf Ranch is located at 18556 Jackson Ave, Lemoore, CA 93245;

24. By 2026, the Surf Ranch will be a 155-acre structure with two public wave pools and many support facilities;

25. The World Team led by Jordy Smith conquered the inaugural Founders' Cup, held at the Surf Ranch on May 5-6, 2018;

26. The Surf Ranch cost $30 million to design, develop and build;

27. The artificial wave ride offers three sections - a performance section, a barrel section, and another performance section;

28. The Surf Ranch is filled with 15 million gallons of UV-and-chlorine-treated freshwater;

29. Bobby Kithcart was the first bodyboarder to ride the Surf Ranch;

30. The president of Kelly Slater Wave Company is Nick Franklin, a former corporate strategist at The Walt Disney Company;

31. Gabriel Medina and Carissa Moore won Surf Ranch Pro, the first-ever Championship Tour event run by WSL in a wave pool;

32. In 2019, the WSL renamed the event to Freshwater Pro;

33. Matt Warshaw, surfing's ultimate historian, says that there are now two eras - before Kelly's wave and after Kelly's wave;

34. The Surf Ranch has an arrangement with PG&E to buy solar energy;

35. The control tower that operates the wave pool can produce 50 types of waves;

36. The hydrofoils are covered with tarps so that drones can't film or photograph them from above;

37. The surf basin produces a wave every four to five minutes;

38. Kelly Slater fell on the very first wave produced at the Surf Ranch and, for obvious reasons, the footage has never been released;

39. On November 13, WSL and ABC announced the launch of a reality show - "Ultimate Surfer" - that will take place at the artificial wave pool;

40. Guests can book an entire day of surfing at the surf lagoon for a single day for $35,000 to $85,000, depending on the time of the year;

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