When Kelly Slater introduced the world to the Surf Ranch, it took everyone by surprise. He kept the project relatively secret for a good decade or so — not so secret that we didn’t know he was working on a wave pool, but certainly secret enough for a gasp of astonishment when we saw the wave — and to say it changed surfing would be an understatement.
Kelly Slater wasn’t the first to create a wave pool by any means, but his was the first to look so… perfect. Way back in 2011, I spoke with Wavegarden co-founder Josema Odriozola. It was an early time in wave pool development, and Odriozola and his team has just released a few images that were basically proof of concept.
“Kelly Slater’s Wave Company garnered some attention, but its potential remains to be seen,” I wrote at the time. “As far as a good man-made wave, nothing has ever compared to the real thing. But it looks like there’s hope on the man-made horizon; waves are stacking up, and the forecast is promising.”