11-Time WSL World Champion
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


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