There’s a lot happening in surfing at the mo. Whether you’ve had heads in sand or sponged everything up we thought it might be fun to suggest where we might be moving forwards. At the very least it’ll be interesting to look back and see how accurate we were.
Artificial wave pools
While nothing new Kelly Slater’s wave pool has been the catalyst to show just how perfect this kind of technologically driven wave could actually be. Post-WSL test event, and associated teaser vids, the world and his dog are now aware that artificial surf structures can actually deliver those saliva inducing dreamy wave conditions – the kind we’ve been promised since wave pools first came on the scene.
Prediction: Artificial wave pools to pop up in many major cities making surfing more widely accessible and providing training grounds for aspiring surf athletes.
We spoke about surf hydro foiling in a previous article a while back. Then we said the interest surrounding flying 3ft above the water as you’re propelled along by ocean energy has captured the imagination of many. Still a niche concept (at the tail end of 2017) we’re pretty sure a number of wave riders have since gotten hold of equipment and are busy honing their technique as we speak. As such surfing foilers may become more prevalent at certain beaches. Hopefully those spots less frequented by everyman surfers though and not headline wave breaks!
Prediction: ‘No wave’ spots to appear as bona fide surf foiling locations and foiling numbers to increase exponentially.
Big wave surfing
Those who saw Cotty’s (Andrew Cotton) horrendous wipeout at Nazare, Portugal, recently probably couldn’t imagine getting into juice as powerful and bone crushing as that. Yet we’re pretty sure we’re not done in terms of how big a wave can actually be ridden on surfboard by those willing to fling themselves over the ledge. Subsequent bombs caught at the infamous Praia do Norte during the first part of winter 2017 were in the realms of ludicrously big (and scary!). Puts the willies up us just thinking about it.
Prediction: 100ft+ waves ridden on a regular basis.
Surfing’s popularity has always been tangible. Head to any UK beach on fair weather days and you’ll most likely bump into someone or other rocking a surfboard. Visit the headline spots and during high season most peaks will be packed out with all types of wave riding craft. This doesn’t show any signs of slowing down either and NCW’s pretty confident the amount of peeps getting ‘juiced’ moving forwards will significantly increase (much to the annoyance of those purists already moaning about surf breaks being mobbed out zoos). There’s still opportunity to score a quiet sesh though, timing will become key is all.
Prediction: Surfing participation levels to continue growing significantly.
We’re seeing this already. Having experienced an explosion of mass produced surfboards landing on our shores in the last ten years those in the know, looking for a specific type of sled, are reverting back to their local shaper and thereby breathing new life into this artisan practice. Surfboard shapers used to be ten a penny with only a select few on hand these days. As more riders come into the fold and skills increase we’re confident the switch to custom boards will steadily continue, thereby helping keep this art alive and kicking.
Prediction: Custom surfboard shape popularity to increase.
Competition surfing in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland hasn’t had the easiest of rides during the last few years. With infighting and political pheroars dogging an already tricky landscape it’s great that GB surfing seems to have gotten its act together with those at the helm working tirelessly to give a professional pathway to those looking at making a living and fulfilling their competitive goals.
Prediction: A bona fide Team GB Olympic surfing team to make great headway during Tokyo’s 2020 Games.