Everywhere you look, everywhere you go and everyone you come into contact with is and has opinion. Opinions on this, that and the other; opinions as far as the eye can see and the lug’oles can hear.
With Kelly Slater’s wave pool now in full glaring view – especially post-World Surfing League’s recent test event – and a handful of other manmade waves in existence (Surf Snowdonia anyone?) it doesn’t take any stretch of the imagination to conclude we’ll be seeing more of these installations cropping up.
Some hate it, other applaud it. Is it good for surfing? Is it bad for surfing? Can something artificial ever replace Mother Nature’s own natural resource? All good questions and, as we say, there’s plenty of opinion out there in all camps.
Suggestions that wave pools will eradicate the need for ocean knowledge are now rife. You know, the stuff we all take for granted as surfers. Understanding of tides, rips and water flow; weather and how low pressure systems affect our waves and so on. With the ability to simply jump in, flick a switch and have waves on tap, until the switch is flicked back the other way at least, a whole generation of surfers could be born without the need for ocean understanding – maybe…
We say maybe as our guess is that if you’re a surfer then regardless of whether you surf 500 miles inland at an establishment like KS’s wave pool or Wave Garden then at some point your desire to hit the real sea will only heighten. Surfers like ‘natural’ but are resourceful and happy to get their kicks artificially until the natural happens once again. We reckon that as surfers we’re totally ‘in the gang’ for ocean surfing, it just may be that some of us don’t have ready access, in which case faking it will do. But in the case of the current crop of wave pools the ‘plastic’ option is at least bona fide experience based and a good one at that. After all, being able to hone your craft in a rinse and repeat fashion is saliva inducing.
So should we worry that a generation of board riders will take a one train journey to kooksville? Not at all! In fact, we’d go so far as to say that more wave pools should be encouraged to be built thereby opening up surfing to an even wider audience. It could also help alleviate issues at crowded breaks around the world. And when the time comes to step up in the ocean proper we’re sure there’ll have been enough homework done to appreciate the intricacies of a real set up in the sea.
What do you think?