Surf Legend Kelly Slater Aims To Build Wave Pool In Northwestern Palm Beach County

Surf Legend Kelly Slater Aims To Build Wave Pool In Northwestern Palm Beach County

We’ve got Reef Road and Juno Pier, but someday Palm Beach County’s best surf spot might be way inland, off the Beeline Highway.

Surf legendKelly Slater, winner of 11 world titles, aims to build a wave pool at Palm Beach Park of Commerce in northwestern Palm Beach County. Slater is asking Palm Beach County for permission to build a wave park on 80 acres at the industrial park.

“The project, named Surf Ranch Florida, will be proposing to construct a world-class, man-made surfing lake which will provide consistent waves and a safe environment for public recreational and competition purposes,”Slater’s zoning application says.

Slater already has built one wave park, in rural California, and it has won wave reviews for the quality of its manmade surf. Florida surfers can visit Walt Disney World’s Typhoon Lagoon for artificial waves, but Slater promises a much higher quality of H2O.

“It’s just an amazing, amazing wave,” prominent longboarder Robert “Wingnut” Weaver told National Public Radio last year about Slater’s wave park in California. “It’s mind-blowing.”

In a widely watched video posted by Slater in 2015, the champ calls his California wave “a freak of technology.”Slater catches a head-high right that features him pulling into a perfectly shaped barrel that seems to peel for nearly 100 yards. Then, on the same wave, he tucks into another long barrel.

View Video:

“This is the best manmade wave ever made, for sure,” Slater said.

Aside from the zoning application, Slater has made no public pronouncements about his Palm Beach County project. So it’s hard to say how much Surf Ranch Florida will cost to build or precisely how it will be used.

The obvious question for surfers is whether they’ll get to ride Kelly’s wave, and how much it might cost. The answer so far is unclear. Surf Ranch Florida’s zoning application stresses the phrase “public recreational and competition purposes” but offers no other details.

That raises the possibility of pro surf events being hosted at an inland lake in Palm Beach County.

For the World Surf League, which owns Kelly Slater Wave Co., a predictable, high-quality wave would solve some obvious logistical problems: Organizers prefer to host contests in good surf, and if the wind is onshore or the swell fades, surfers and TV crews cool their heels until conditions improve. For its contests in Fiji, Tahiti, California, Australia, Hawaii, France, Portugal and Australia, the World Surf League typically schedules events to occur sometime during a 10- or 12-day window.

                                                                                                                                                                            Jeff Ostrowski


Victor DeFrisco Headshot
Phone: 561-951-3759
Dated: March 18th 2017
Views: 263
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