The Inertia

The Wave Gods have spoken. And with great power they’ve bestowed upon surfing’s only son the technology and means to make the world’s greatest artificial surf spot. Like other incarnations before it, the Kelly Slater Wave Company aims to bring the joy of surfing to landlocked regions, while also creating an arena for progression. But there’s one key factor that sets this wave apart from all the rest – Kelly’s wave pool has a barrel.

Not a drop of water out of place. Kelly Slater drives through perfection.

Not a drop of water out of place. Kelly Slater drives through perfection.

One of the main complaints surrounding the feverish wave pool debate is that the artificial rollers cannot stand up to the real thing (literally). Ocean waves barrel. Artificial ones do not. As the pinnacle maneuver of the sport, slotting oneself inside the tube is so addicting it’s like a drug for many surfers, seducing them to travel far and wide in search of new pitching crests of water. A new wave, a new high. Like different dance partners, each one moves in its own unique way.

But in the freshly released video for Kelly’s wave, it’s quite clear. He’s done the unthinkable and made a wave worthy of real-life proportions. On the very first wave ridden at the test facility, courtesy of course of Mr. Slater himself, the wave pitches perfectly and allows him to sit in a reeling vortex of water. It’s mind-bending. It looks like a mirage. It’s like some sort of voodoo witchcraft.

And with that punchy lip, versus a crumbly wall of powdered sugar, the wave permits progression. Whereas on other artificial waves, surfers have to really work for it to take to the air, this one is different. With a steep face, Kelly’s wave provides the rider with enough speed for natural above-the-lip maneuvers. Just watch Kelly’s effortless air reverse.

Kelly Slater Wave Pool air

“This is the best manmade wave ever made, for sure,” Kelly says. “No doubt about it.”

He might as well be looking to the heavens and screaming, “IT’S ALIVE!” Because basically Kelly’s recreated real life – he and his team are Victor Frankenstein and his wave pool is the mutant, natural-law-defying monster. Or as they would call it, it’s a Freak of Technology.

Kelly Slater Wave Pool Barrel from water

  • Shane O’Connor

    wherever it is…. its cold

    • Jack Robinson’s Bowl Cut

      its in Lemoore, California, just south of the town in an old water-ski lake

  • Albee Doh

    Pretty amazing.

    Too “perfect,” though.

    Needs sections and some unpredictability so that you can get deeper/backdoor

    • Dave Hunt

      Wtf it’s perfect u would surf it all day long and night stop moaning.

      • Albee Doh

        The only one bitching and moaning here is you, kook.

        I made an observation. You need to learn the difference.

        • Justin Siderbox

          No, you’re bitching. 100% vaginade. Drink up.

          • Albee Doh

            And you’re addressing this comment to me because…?

        • Jim Ferrigno

          Nah, you whined. There’s a difference. Be happy with what you have, don’t be a spoiled millennial.

          • Albee Doh

            I’m a millennial?

            You’re an idiot.

          • freerider

            You guys sound like a couple of 12 year olds..

          • Albee Doh

            Says the resident crazy.

            Thanks for the laughs, Soul Cheese.

      • freerider

        Hey Albee–you gonna surf it all day and all night long? How much money have you got? Seems Slater will be more than glad to take it from you…

    • Syd

      The wave is too wet for my liking.

      • Albee Doh

        Finally, a response with some wit.

        Nice tits.

  • freerider

    “The Wave Gods have spoken. And with great power they’ve bestowed upon surfing’s only son.” –Good grief–I can’t believe i just read that. Frst of all –their are no wave gods–and second of all –even if their were–KS wouldn’t be their only son–what rubbish. The thousands and thousands of stoked Surfers, Groms and Wahines would all be included as family. and second of all–the Groms–who have the purest surf spirit–would be the favorite sons–not some dude (Slater) who breaks boards when he loses a heat.

    • DF

      woah relax dude

      • Albee Doh

        You’re arguing with this site’s resident crazy. He’s Miki Dora’s residual toe cheese reanimated and stalking The Inertia comments.

        • piskian

          That,s the first funny and erudite comment that I,ve seen on here for quite a while.

          • Albee Doh

            I have my moments.

            Now, pardon me, I have to scrape some toe cheese out from between the cracks.

        • freerider

          We can definitely see you have no soul–you’ll probably be the first dude to buy a year long pass for the wave pool….

          • Albee Doh

            You obviously didn’t read my posts here.

      • freerider

        Hey slater–if you ask– might break a board for you to….

        • Albee Doh

          How about a little more bounce and a lot less bitter?

          You keep talking “soul” like you’re the only one qualified to do so.

          If surfing makes you feel so “soulful” then why are all your posts oozing with nothing but condescension and bilious, spiteful tripe?

          It’s like you’re trying to sell a Bentley by making it sound like a Beetle to someone who wants a Jeep.

    • Justin Siderbox

      You have issues. But go ahead and keep judging who has the most spirit. Groms have the most stoke with little demand. Doesn’t have a damn thing to do with spirit. And i don’t follow competitive surfing like you do, so I’ve never heard of Slater breaking boards but like tiger woods once was, it’s their expectations mixed with drive to win that sets them apart. If he broke boards and didn’t have 11 titles or even one, then I agree that’s tacky.

      • freerider

        Spirit–stoke–might be the same? Seems Groms might have both. Dude–google it–and you can actually see some vids of him breaking boards.

  • freerider

    Dudes–you keep forgetting–this is a money making scheme–your gonna have to pay and pay and pay–for your fresh water artificial experience

    • Albee Doh

      Hey, if it diminishes crowds at “natural” breaks I’m def cool with it.

    • Albee Doh

      “Have” to pay?

      The experience isn’t compulsory, brain trust.

      Crazy people: at least they’re entertaining.

      Until they’re not.

      • freerider

        I said “your” going to have to pay–not me…

        • Albee Doh

          It’s “you’re,” NOT “your.”

          “Your” is possessive, “you’re” is a contraction of “you are.”

          Your grammar is atrocious.

          You’re welcome.

    • Boltedshut

      As opposed to pay and pay and pay for flights, hotels, car rentals, time off, and on and on and on. The response is “yeah, travel is what surfing is about.” Maybe, but this has the potential to keep access to great waves a bit less expensive for folks who don’t have mommy and daddy’s frequent flier account to cash in. They might even learn a skill or two in a very controlled environment that will keep them from dropping in on you or just bobbing in the wrong place when they do make it to the beach.

  • pulling in

    Twitter Post of the year

  • How does it work? I want to know the physics of it.

    • Albee Doh

      You’re kidding, right?

      That information is patented.

      • No, I’m serious and naive. Humor me.

        • Albee Doh

          Ask Slater and you’ll get the same response.

          • Eddie Blanco

            And you do know to get a patent you have to tell everyone how it works, right??

          • Albee Doh


            That information is protected until the patent expires.

          • Koho

            Albee – that’s wrong. All patents and related materials are available to the public at In exchange for being granted patent protection you are required to reveal the material you’ve patented. (I have 9 patents, so I know the process well.) I doubt very much the tech behind this wave is patented, since it’s probably based on incremental improvements on those made previously. And by not patenting, Slater and co. can keep their trade secrets .. secret.

          • Albee Doh

            Ahhh… Yeah, the “Coca-Cola” method.

            That’s what I was thinking about.

            My bad. Thanks for the correction.

          • Koho

            Albee – just saw your reply – it’s actually 20 years for a “utility” patent, which is the kind that would cover this sort of thing.

          • Albee Doh


            Standard patents have dropped from 17 years to 14, yes?

    • andy kahl

      I heard it was inspired by the waves formed on the beach by a passing boat. I suspect it is a tidal surge style of wave that is being generated, similar to the natural waves that occur inland in places like China, Hangzhou. They hold water at 2 different levels, then release water from the top level in a surge, which is then funnelled along a specially designed ‘bank’. you can see the wave is not moving as fast as a natural wave, but the water is turning very fast. my 2 cents worth, but I suspect I am 100% right.

      • Boltedshut

        Apparently I can’t link to it because my previous comment got erased, but if you search for “Webber Wavepool”, you can get some great explanations on one way to make similar waves, if not the same process. It is pretty much exactly as you describe.

  • Wayne Murphy

    Yes, it certainly looks the best man-made wave of all the models and designs thus far. But artificial waves lacks soul. I notice that even when Kelly is in the barrel he’s not deep. He’s just hovering under the lip. Doesn’t look like a real tube at all. Any spit? Personally, in terms of helping relieve overcrowding in the surf and also dealing with coastal erosion from global warming, I’d prefer to see more money being spent by the public and private sectors on enhancing reefs and beaches that already exist worldwide. There are untold thousands of additional potential surf breaks everywhere which only needs a few big rocks filled in on gaps and holes, or anchored securely in submerged A-frame wedge shapes along beaches here and there, to make more perfect waves. Then let Mother Nature with sand flow, wind, tides and swell do the rest. No matter how much we try to replicate the magic of surfing waves we will never beat the real thing. That said, i must still congratulate everyone involved for creating an excellent man-made-wave venue for inland populations and the Olympics. Well done.

    • Albee Doh

      That was the rhetorical equivalent of a T-Street mid-section.

  • Jim Ferrigno

    But where is it?

  • Chazz Michael Michaels

    Suck it, Wavegarden!

  • piratespeak

    I’m from Hungary, Europe, I’m totally and desperately landlocked, 2000km away from the next ocean. A committed and very lucky hungarian surfer (yupp, there are like 200 people) can surf approx 20 days a year. So, we do not really care about if the wave is “too perfect”, “too artifical” or “not a real barrell”, we just NEED WAVES!

    • Albee Doh

      I feel your pain.

      And if this creation keeps the landlocked landlocked I’m all for it.

  • Silvio Farina

    in then first pic the surfer is wearing boardshorts!!!!

  • Silvio Farina

    in the first pic the surfer is wearing boardshorts!!!

  • Albee Doh

    We all hope you don’t drive without taking your meds first.

    My observation stands: it’s too symmetrical. It’s a great achievement for sure but I’d get bored. A wave like this limits creative possibilities and would produce very mechanical and predictable surfing.

    One of the most exciting things about surfing is the unpredictability. Backdooring a crazy section thinking you’re gonna get smoked only to come flying out the other end is the biggest high in surfing. Until they can incorporate this factor the wave will simply be too much of a good thing.

    Real progression is born from adversity. This wave offers none.

    But at least they finally have the perfect machine for placating the Olympic committee.

  • Awesome, thanks for the info. @andy_kahl:disqus @boltedshut:disqus

  • Secret Exposed

    Man…Just imagine how this will look when a real sized human rides it. Slater is 5’4″ so makes the wave look way bigger. Wait til actual adult sized surferes take to this, chest high, perfect wave. looks fun no doubt but will never replace teh real thing. Address in case anybody wants it…
    18248-18998 Jackson Ave
    Lemoore, CA 93245

  • Jenn

    I’ve been here. I’ve seen it. Haven’t ridden it obvi but it has potential to be diverse and world challenging in many ways. It’s in research and development stages. Ya’all just chill out. This is extremely exciting news and cutting edge whether it is .05 miles from the ocean or 110 miles from the ocean

  • joeshmoe2000

    People you can argue all day about real waves vs artificial but when there’s no waves or the conditions suck you’d be on this artificial wave (assuming it was free) like flies on you know what. Personally, I’d love to wake up every morning knowing that I could just step into my backyard for my daily exercise of tubes and off the lips and practicing some seriously new airs. Surf is good at the beach? Yeah but not in the mood for the kooks who get in the way or the wave hogs who paddle out so I think I’ll just stay home and surf MY pool with My friends.

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