Kelly Slater’s wave machine: how man-made waves impact the sport of surfing

All surfers know the feeling of riding the perfect wave, and the endless search to find the ultimate ride watching weather reports and studying satellite photos to chase the perfect storm.

But what if we didn’t have to?

That’s the idea behind Kelly Slater’s man-made wave machine. He and his team created a device that can create on-demand waves, perfect size and duration for surfing. Many people have tried to create something like this for years, but variables in the size of the body of water, weather and the machine itself have kept people from getting “the perfect wave” through man-made means. However, it seems like Slater and his team might have done it.

So what does that mean for surfers, the chasers of the waves?

In one way, it could mean surfing as a sport grows. People in landlocked places could finally learn to shred. Professional surfers could be judged on their skill alone, without the luck and having to rely on Mother Nature to provide the waves. Surfers could work on their skills without sitting in the ocean waiting for the perfect swell.

But on the other hand, it means a sport that has always been about connecting with nature could be manufactured. There could be resorts and people could charge a fee for the chance to ride “the perfect wave.”

It could also spoil surfers in a way they never imagined before. The sport could become less about adapting about what you’re given, and take away the element of improvisation surfers have to have to ride a natural swell.

For us, we think wave generators like Slater’s have their place in the surfing world. We love seeing the look on someone’s face as they stand up for the first time during a lesson or when they’re finally able to master a new technique. As a surf shop that specializes in helping people learn to enjoy the sport, we love the idea of more people being introduced to surfing.

However, there’s nothing better than chasing the perfect wave. It’s another skill to master, to be able to see a great swell coming and prepare yourself for it. We think Mother Nature plays an important part in surfing; finding new, beautiful places to surf is part of what drives us to keep exploring! There’s something so spectacular about watching the sunrise as you work to catch the first ride of the day that can’t be duplicated by a machine.

What do you think? Are you excited for the chance to try the “perfect man-made wave,” or will you stick to the natural swells along the Hawaiian coast? Let us know!