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The Inertia

Most of us have at least a basic understanding of how waves work. It’s a necessary part of surfing—knowing which spot will work on a given swell; how the bathymetry affects the wave at certain tides and how the direction, size, and period of the swell will make drastic differences at each specific spot.

It’s a science that most surfers have a tenuous grasp on—it is, after all, a complicated equation. That’s what makes the wave at the Surf Ranch (and other wave pools, for that matter) so impressive. No matter what your stance is on surfing in pools, no one can deny that recreating one of Mother Nature’s most complicated phenomenons is an impressive feat of modern science. Science Magazine dug into exactly how Kelly Slater’s wave works, and even with a thorough explanation directed at the layman, it is impossible to not marvel at just how it’s made.

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