The Wave Pool Vibe

The feelings and emotions towards the Kelly Slater Wave Pool in Lemoore, California, are hard to quantify. For one undoubted, the wave is undoubtedly incredible. For the second solid fact, the wave is incredibly dull to watch.

Some of us managed to watch a few heats. But, at the same time, other people, die-hard fans of professional surfing, chose either the FOSTER Jol or the Red Hot Chilli Peppers jol instead of watching the contest.

Surfing and F1

I managed a few heats, but watching the men getting into a tiny, wrapped-up crouching yoga position on their surfboards and remaining in that one position for as long as they could, became beyond mundane. I had to turn off the tv. It is not in any way a viewer-friendly event. Maybe if you’re there in person, it would be pretty exciting, but remember that the wave is very long, so for a spectator parking off at one spot, it would be a bit like watching F1. You get to watch the cars for one split second every lap as they whizz past you.

Drive To Survive

At least in F1, you have several vehicles. With the wave pool, one person is riding at one time, and if you’re sitting on the left when they go over to the right-handers, you may as well be sitting on the toilet. Unless the toilets have an elevated view and have a window facing the pool. Then the toilest would be better than the grandstands.

The crowd during the Final at the Surf Ranch Pro. photo by Aaron Hughes/World Surf League)

So it’s quirky, but the contest does find winners, and these winners might or might not use the victory points to make a slot in the coveted top 5 as the competitive year starts to wind down. 

Make Or Break

What the contest, as well as the surfers, do need, though, is consistency from the judges, and according to Gabriel Medina, this wasn’t happening at all, and this is exactly what led to the Wave Pool Blow Out With Gabriel Medina situation. See below

The three-time world champ Gabriel Medina posted an open letter to the WSL complaining of kak judging following his shock loss to Ethan Ewing in the quarter-finals of the Surf Ranch Pro.

Dear WSL,

Please understand the importance of this discussion.

Surfing has been my life and my love for this sport is unconditional. I have put all my heart into and and want to leave a beautiful legacy one day when I look back at it.

However the surfing community, especially in Brazil, is mesmerized with the poor clarity and inconsistence of judging for many years now, but lately it has been even more shocking.

It is quite clear that judging is now rewarding very simple surfing, seamless transitions and have taken critical turns in critical sections off the criteria. This is very frustrating and is stagnating the sport.

Fans and sponsor will not accept this to continue and will in a near future be draw away once all they want is equal and fair judging to the sport.

Also, important to note that many coaches and managers have had the opportunity to speak to WSL after heats/events to ask about PROGRESSION and VARIETY in the criteria and the lack of reward for this space. The response given by them is always quite defensive by giving poor examples to illustrate THEIR point.

WSL needs urgently to clarify judging and apply equal and fair judging to save the progression of the sport.


Gabriel Medina and Brasil

Wave Pool Blow Out With Gabriel Medina. Photo by Aaron Hughes/World Surf League)


To see what Stab Mag thinks, check this out here – STAB And The Thing With Medina