Kelly Slater has perfected the man-made wave. The 11-time world surfing champion released a video of himself surfing his wave on December 18th, 2015, and the surfing world has gone insane. His artificial wave boasts an expert-level, 45 second ride that rivals some of the best natural waves of the world. In his own words, “I’m 100% positive our team built the best wave that anyone’s ever made. It’s a freak of technology.” He’s right. The barrel and break of his wave are simply unbelievable.
For 10 years, Slater has been working with engineers to perfect his wave, and now he’s succeeded. The problem is, nobody seems to know when or how it will be available to the surfing community or general public. Until a few weeks ago, it wasn’t even known where the wave was located (it’s in Lemoore, California). While we are all waiting, dying of anticipation, there are other fantastic man-made wave options at parks around the world. Here are 5 of our favorites:
#1 Wadi Adventure, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates
Every 90 seconds, this park churns out a wave topping an astounding 10 feet. Located an hour and a half from Dubai, this park in the middle of the dessert is the home of the world’s largest man-made wave. You can even push a button to customize the height of your wave!
#2 Surf Snowdonia Adventure Parc, Dolgarrog, Wales, United Kingdom
Surf Snowdonia boasts a 6+ foot high wave that can travel close to 490 feet, producing an exhilarating 16-second ride. It was the first-ever surfing lagoon that could cater to beginner, intermediate and expert surfers. The International Surfing Association is hoping to replicate its aquatic snowplow technology and have surfing as a sport in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
photo by: Aaron Crowe
#3 NLand Surf Parks, Austin, Texas, United States (coming in 2016)
It may be a bit presumptive to list this as one of our favorites, but founder and CEO Doug Coor’s enthusiasm has us foaming at the mouth with excitement. He’s partnered with the Spanish engineering firm Wavegarden in hopes of creating a perfect break. This year he plans on opening up NLand Surf Park with a lagoon that measures nine football fields, featuring eleven surfing areas. Beginners to experts will be able to find their place on a wave for a whopping 35 second ride.
#4 Siam Park, Tenerife, Spain
Siam Park’s waves, designed by Murphys Waves, reach nearly 10 feet tall. For those keeping track, that’s just shy of Wadi Adventure’s wave. Surfer Kai Lenny says, “It’s a great place to practice that one move over and over.” It definitely helps that a wave is pushed out every 45 seconds.
#5 Sunway Lagoon Waterpark, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Sunway Surf Beach’s waves measure in at a little over eight feet and can be customized to the surfer’s ability level. The waves can be adjusted not only by height, but also in time and wave patterns. Located right in the bustling city, it can cater to the novice and professional surfer alike.
There’s no doubt that the surfing world is going to change dramatically in the upcoming years. Due to various groundbreaking technologies, surfing will be more readily available to those who can’t reach the shores. Professionals will have more access to shredable practice waves, and the popularity of surfing may explode. Who knows what the man-made wave boom will do for the sport? One thing is for sure—we can’t wait for Kelly Slater’s wave to become available.
We’d love to hear about your man-made wave surfing adventures at these parks, or others. Please post to the comments below!