What Could Manmade Waves Mean for Surfing?
Surfing is a difficult sport, and it's made even more difficult by mother nature. Unlike skateboarding, for example, athletes don't have a consistent surface on which to practice -- they're beholden to whatever waves happen to form. And unlike many pool-based water sports, you can't hold a surf competition away from the coast. But after 10 years working with a University of Southern California fluid-dynamics specialist, 11-time World Surf League champion Kelly Slater may finally have a solution in his new wave pool. It's the first of its kind to create consistent, surfable waves that rival the power and shape of those in the ocean, meaning surfer-wannabes in middle America might finally get a shot at riding a big wave close to home. The pool's potential hasn't gone unnoticed by the World Surf League, who purchased Slater's company in May 2016. Their hope is that championship-level competitions on man-made waves may be in the future, and some think this could be the first step toward bringing surfing to the Olympics.