Kelly Slater Wave Pool Patent Illustration

Kelly Slater writes: "The recent Swellnet article seemed very one-sided and at times outright ridiculous in its angle towards not only our technology but me personally, alluding to me/us copying Webber's designs on a number of fronts."

The Inertia

Recently an article was published on SwellNet that called into question the inspiration and development of our Wave Company, and I thought I’d share my perspective on things. The timing works out pretty well given that the United States Patent and Trademark Office accepted eighteen out of our twenty-one claims filed yesterday. There are still some corrections to be made, but we’re well on our way.

First off, the patent process is a trying one. Something like 98% of patents are rejected in the first attempt. Webber’s original was actually rejected, but this was not mentioned in the Swellnet article.

There are clear differences in our technologies, and even Webber is aware enough about that to have modified and re-applied for a patent to include the core idea exclusive to our technology which is a “Solitary Wave.” Greg himself can tell you the difference between a Kelvin Subcritical Wave (boat wake/wind swell wave) that I believe he is producing and a Soliton or Solitary wave (groundswell) that we are producing. The fact that he has re-applied for a further patent 9 months ago to include Solitary Waves makes me wonder where he might’ve changed his mind on this. It was not a part of his original patent idea. I spoke about this being the key to our technology shortly after our patent application.

Greg and I spoke at lengths probably 5-6 yrs ago in Coolangatta about wave pools but didn’t catch on to the fact that we were both actually making our own, probably because we were both being tight-lipped or maybe didn’t realize the other was serious. I’m sure we were both unaware the other was in motion to make them. At one point about two years ago we could possibly have joined forces, but we were both too far down the road on what we’d worked separately on for years. I obviously knew he was surfing behind boats (and to tell you the truth I’d love to do that with them cause it looks like a blast) but to be honest, it is a boat wake combined with a displacement of water as opposed to surfing a proper wave.

The recent Swellnet article seemed very one-sided and at times outright ridiculous in its angle towards not only our technology but me personally, alluding to me/us copying Webber’s designs on a number of fronts. Greg either failed to rectify this in his interview or just didn’t know the article would take the turn it did or Stu Nettle has a personal vendetta with me of some sort. The Swellnet article reeks of a last ditch, desperate attempt to try and throw a wrench in the workings of what I suspect Greg knows we’re up to. He clearly knows the differences we are patenting or will shortly when he reads about our patent’s acceptance (which occurred today).

As for the circular pool, it’s a novel idea and the only way to possibly create a moving, infinite ride as opposed to a standing wave. A patent was granted to Forsman, I believe, in around 1975 which has since run out making circular wave pools open for use by anyone. My excitement for this idea originally came from Kevin Roberts (Surf the Ring) with whom we had a multi-year deal, but it became evident very early on in testing (when we stumbled on the Solitary Wave idea) that his technology was not in the direction that we were hoping to go so we parted ways when our licensing agreement ran out.

Our company‘s focus is building the best wave/swell possible and always has been first and foremost. The best analogy I can make in regards to the actual swells being generated is the difference between a light bulb and and a laser beam, one being general and ours being very specifically created for the purpose of transferring the energy as efficiently as possible into the swell. And once that swell is created you then have to design the actual breaking wave with the right bottom contours, which is a whole different ball game.

The media surrounding it means little until someone has a finished and built product, so for the most part I’ve kept quiet. This reply is just to clarify some of the things being said in the recent article. It won’t be long before one or both of us create something people can enjoy. I’m sure it’ll be fun either way and as Greg said, competition is good for this type of thing. -ks

  • Stu

    odds kelly actually wrote this:  25:1

    Any takers?

  • Justin Housman

    Ok I’m sold.  Where do I apply for a job with the KS wave co.?  Seriously.

  • Stu Nettle

    Hello Kelly,

    I replied to the statement your Vice President made here on The Inertia last night. It seems there’s a PR war happening in public and I can’t help but think it would’ve been avoided if your people simply returned emails. 

    I need to be clear, Greg had very little part to play in the research of that article. I interviewed him a week or two back and he was extremely coy about the status of patents. I did all my research with documents sourced from the US Patents Office and help from legal acquaintances.

    I have no personal vendetta against you or your company. In the USPTO rejection documents many of the claims mention Webber as an adversary or at least as a competitor to your company. If you’ve been rejected because the art (design) that you submitted was “unpatentable over Webber” (USPTO words, not mine) is it really so much of a leap to think your designs are similar?

    The last part of my article, dealing with who might dominate the future wave pool market, stem from the first-to-market advantage. That still applies and has nothing to do with perceived vendettas.

    You are trying to create art similar to his – official documents say as much. You didn’t return critical emails and now you slander me in public – it’s not a good look for someone of your stature.

    Nevertheless, good luck with your wave pool. I hope one day you get to see – and ride – the benefits of your labour.

    Stu Nettle
    Editor of Swellnet

    • Stu Nettle

      In the time I wrote the above reply the original statement from the Vice President of The Kelly Slater Wave Company has disappeared from The Inertia. Of course the comments have also disappeared so here is my reply to Noah Grimmett, VP of KSWC. It includes the timelines to the article.
      Hello Noel,Unusual place for us to meet, I was hoping for somewhere more private but since we’re here let’s discuss my article.First, the claims that you have attributed to me. I didn’t claim that your design is “unpatentable over Webber”. That statement appeared in quotation marks and was explicitly attributed by me to the US Patents Office. The quote is taken from the rejection documents of 2008 and of May of this year. The documents are addressed to your company.Second, the claims that my article was factually wrong. I contacted Chris Sutton, CEO of Sutton Holdings, asking questions about the patent status. He said he’d contact the VP of KSWC who would be able to help me. I also filed an enquiry form asking the same questions and Lloyd Ravenscroft got back to me again saying he’d get the VP. These email replies were on the 12th and 14th November and I received no reply. I also emailed Kelly directly on the 12th – again no reply.Before publishing the article I checked the PAIR database on the US Patents Office website yet there were no new listings for KSWC. I waited five days but with no correspondence from yourself I published the article on the 17th November with information correct as of that date.Since reading the above statement I’ve gone onto the database and seen that KSWC received a final rejection document yesterday, the 22nd November. Despite the document title you have in fact had many of your claims approved although some are objected to and one is rejected. You have three months to re-apply those claims. Let me reassert: I made all endeavours to contact you and received no reply, and my article was factually correct at the time it was published.I sincerely wish you all the best with your wave pool. If anything is to be learnt from this little sideshow it’s always get back to journalists.

      Stu Nettle
      Editor of Swellnet

      • Johnseverson

        “journalists” LOL

      • Adrian Hung

        *it would actually amount to libel- as it is in recorded form (not saying it is though). Slander is more ephemeral (like a wave- a KS wave company wave perhaps). 

        Adrian Hung.

  • Daktal

    Seems like great minds who work together create radical things. Go have a beer or two, work it out and make something radical. 

    Either way it’s exciting to see the progress and possibility of a legit wavepark. 

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately the process of obtaining a patent is not intuitive, as the patent is based upon the claimed invention not the disclosed invention.  Thus one might assume the claims of the original application of KS appeared to be not novel in view of the Webber patent which may or may not have any true relevance to the inventive concept.  

  • Floating

    I will take the 25:1 bet. I will put down $100. If Kelly wrote the article, I get $2500 from you. If Kelly didn’t write the article, I will give you $100. I will prove he wrote the article if you accept the bet. How can I contact you?

    • Stu

      prove me wrong.  I dares ya.

      • Al Baydough

        You gotta take the bet Stu. Or are you not a man of your word? Put up or shut up moment if ever there was one.

        • Stu

          come on, Al, you know insiders can’t play – it’s illegal.  Besides, short of a date and time stamped video or dictation tape, what proof could there be?  I’ve seen Kelly’s tweets and he can’t spell many of the words in this submission (which was timed oddly close to the more official, yet highly similar, corporate response).

          • Al Baydough

            Are you a lawyer? Dude, you made a bold claim and now you’re backpedaling. You can’t change the terms and conditions after the fact. You made a bet to any takers without exception. Own it.

          • Stu

            Tell u what. He posts proof Kelly wrote it by himself and stu is gone from this board. Fair?

          • Al Baydough

            Too late. Your original bet was made in writing… on a public forum. Credibility: yours is in serious doubt.

          • Tim Baker

            Well, I received an email from KSWC that included the line: “Kelly mentioned he wanted to put this in his own words. So, please stand by.” 

        • Stu

          why do you think I’m a man?

          • Al Baydough

            If you’re not that would certainly explain a lot.

          • Stu

            Hmm, I didn’t think there were liberal sexists out there. You continue to amaze.

          • Al Baydough


  • Stu

    what happened to the other company line post?

    • Anonymous

      It’s still there. And it’s hyperlinked several times on this page. It just seemed redundant to have two articles on this topic on the homepage.

  • Stu

    I’m confused.  Was Slater’s patent approved or rejected?  I’m seeing both claimed here…?

    • Anonymous

      Neither per se, what happened was some of the claims were indicated allowable, some were rejected and some were objected to.  What that means is they will need to amend the claims to overcome the rejection.  This is typically done by either cancelling the rejected claims or adding the allowable claimed subject matter into the rejected claims.  In complete layman’s terms, he will likely eventually get a patent.  It was indicated that some of the claimed subject matter was allowable thus it is very promising a patent would be issued at some point.  The process of obtaining a patent is neither simple nor quick.

      • Stu

        Thanks.  Turns out I don’t really care about a wave pool or the people behind it.

        • Al Baydough

          You talk out of both sides of your face a lot. Doesn’t that start to get tiring? Or are you so good at it now that you’re ready to turn pro and join the tour?

          • Stu

            you mean I type with both sides of my hands?  I really don’t care about this, but I do love a good controversy, so I guess I do care, but I don’t.

          • Al Baydough

            Do you torture your kids with same crazy talk or is it something you save for us unfortunate souls?

          • Stu


          • Rattz

            You and All should just get a room.

        • wes

          Awwww… Well you’d best take your bat and ball then…

  • Al Baydough

    Yay! Scooby Snacks for everyone!

  • Surfsoul66

    Give it up! Because it will end up costing both you guys a lot of money after the lawyers get there share.  Kelly You better not retire just yet if you plan on pursuing this.

  • Ian

    Who’s your patent attorney?  My uncle is a very good one…

  • Jonathan Thompson

    Seems to me – waves exist already, boat wakes exist already, curving shorelines exist already – Rincon?, circles exist already and any self respecting surfer has imagined himself in those little barrels in the shore break on a calm day or on the incoming tide on a river bank so the idea predates all this legal B.S. 

    What annoys me is that either ‘surfer’ goes all commercial and lawyers up. Why not let the technology blossom. Competition is good for business. These Patents are protectionist. Who are either of you to try to monopolize physics. You have a large investment you say…speed to market gentlemen.

    • Al Baydough

      Spoken like a hopeless idealist who forgets we live in a world overflowing with opportunistic thieves. Patent laws exist for a very good reason. And I truly wish we didn’t need lawyers (or cops) but for the same reason outlined in the preceding sentence we unfortunately do.

  • Anonymous

    I tried to post but no success.

  • Al Baydough

    When I think of all the surfers who have to move away from the ocean to support their families this concept puts a big smile on my face.

  • Alex

    Excellent Statement from KS!

  • Alex

    Excellent Statement from KS!

  • steve shearer

    I’m curious about how a foil moving through water can lay claim to creating a “groundswell”.Groundswell by common definition is a swell train created by wind over ocean, which, moving away from the source fetch creates sets and a definable swell period.A soliton is an amorphous concept that shouldn’t be confused with a groundswell.Anyhow, the proof of the pudding will be in the tasting.

    • Stick

      creating a wave which behave like a wave created from a groundswell.
      kelly maybe dont know how to express himself in writing or talking too well, but he sure know how to surf and what is a good wave. (and make money out of it,and still have fun,and date the hottest women around)
      you people are just little kids playing with p#$

      have fun,


  • Al Baydough

    You’re a joke.

  • Endorphinder

    Wow…… Has ‘journalism’ really gotten to the point where a ‘journalist’ believes he/she can claim immunity because the principal parties have not responded to questions…. and that it is the fault of the principal parties if they get something published that proves to be easily mis-interpretable (<- hey, get off me, I never claimed to be a journalist) or wrong because they did not respond?  Nevermind… I know the answer.  And it stairs me in the face in the grocery check out line every week.  Anyway, says me, "Mess with the bu11, and don't be surprised if you get the horns." (Paraphrasing the Richard Vernon character in the movie "The Breakfast Club", 1985)

  • wes

    Get over yourself Stu.

  • Chris Cote

    Will somebody just build the damn thing already? Geez.

  • Al Baydough

    Curious to know if any particular regions have been thought of for the first potential test market for this tech. What kind of community models and energy tech are being considered? Also, with growing concerns over diminishing water supplies and competition from things like the fracking industry where would the water come from and how much would be needed? Will conservation and eco-friendly aspects be integrated? BTW, about how many people could actually be in this wave park at any given time? How large of a crowd could be sustained?

     I personally see tremendous positive potential as something like this could be far more beneficial than the water parks we currently see across the nation. 

  • Al Baydough

    You’re using multiple trolls and I’m the one who hasn’t grown and isn’t legit? That was so ripe it fell out of my ass a month ago and has already sprouted new fruit.

  • AB2

    My firm did everything but send up a smoke signal to get to speak with Kelly about this project. Our group manufactures the system components to make this wave tank a commercial reality. We are talking with Greg to see if he will build his business network with us in exchange for our system hardware manufacturing capabilities and fluid systems design experience. We see the need for package component systems and controls along with soft sided tank construction as critical in order to achieve commercial viability. As our hardware partner manufactured the systems to process the water at sea world, Disney and NASA we have little doubt as to the creation of a continuos wave pool system.

  • Jonjon Taka

    While these guys are fighting each other trying to patent ridiculously simple and replicable “technologies”, some of the greatest entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley like Elon Musk are happy not to patent their Tesla or Xspace technologies. Why is it? Entrepreneurs like E.M are working towards a greater ideal _saving the planet_ and so would not mind being copied by everyone. Kelly Slater and these guys are working towards a different goal: Ownership and exclusive rights via the very thing that stifles innovation, or kills it (K.S of all people would know about all the disruptive technologies that have been confiscated by this gate keeper called the patent office). I say to him, screw patents, stop wanting to own, and open source the damn thing so that anyone with the means can build it.

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