Lost in the middle of California, the town of Lemoore attracted a lot of attention this week. A World Tour contest held on an artificial wave will do that. In the overwhelming heat, the world’s best surfers battled against swell generated by a train running at full speed along an 800-meter long, 150-meter wide basin.
The power of the wave and its length leave no room for a surfer with technical flaws, Carissa Moore and Gabriel Medina both showed that. The sound of the ocean is replaced by the deafening noise of the train that powers it.
The strategic fundamentals of competition surfing are thrown out, or moreover, here they are obsolete because each surfer is alone in the lineup. There’s no investment in wave selection strategy or positioning as a reaction to an opponent. Instead, one waits patiently near a fence.
Needless to say, it’s surreal watching pro surfing in this venue, and in this place. Here are a few visions of what I saw through my camera.