Surfers from around the globe are heading inland this weekend to California’s farm country, to compete in the first-ever World Surf League competition. This innovative event is being held at a “surf ranch” in Lemoore, Calif. (about 30 miles south of Fresno).
Kelly Slater, eleven time World Champion, has built what he refers to as “the perfect wave” on land at this facility. At Slater’s Surf Ranch, you almost feel like you’re at the beach, with waves made by a machine, perfectly engineered for surfing.
The facility features a man-made lake that’s as long as seven football fields, and technology made by a team of engineers and surfers. The waves are created when a 200-ton massive shovel of metal, shaped like a ship, pushes through the water over a fake reef designed right into the lake.
For the first time this weekend, the ranch is open to the public to watch some of the best surfers on these perfect waves.
Slater says he built this in the middle of Lemoore simply because the planning stars aligned. “We were just looking for a place that had ample land and and water, and the right permitting, and access to the amount of energy we need to run the wave,” said Slater.
This event is the first time the World Surf League has ever held a co-ed, team competition. There are five teams — USA, Brazil, Australia, and then Europe and World — made up of two women and three men each. The competition begins Saturday and will wrap up on Sunday.