On October 24th the UK Pro Surf Tour will make it’s debut at the Surf Snowdonia wave pool (in north Wales for the international readers). It’s a decision that’s not without controversy as purists will tell you that a key skill in surfing is spotting / selecting waves and mastering the ever changing conditions.
It’s a different type of competition not intended to replace surfing natural waves.
That said, using a wave pool for competition adds a different dimension. It removes the randomness of the ocean giving a consistent wave over and over. In a way it levels the playing field for the competitors and comes down to the technical skills on the board. It’s a different type of competition not intended to replace surfing natural waves.
Dave Reed, director of UK Pro Surf Tour said:
“This event will be a major step forward in competitive surfing. Surf Snowdonia will provide a unique platform: with each wave guaranteed and identical the luck factor is eliminated from the competition. The result will be purely based on a surfer’s ability. With predictable, consistent conditions this venue could be a fast-track for any surfer who wishes to rapidly improve their skills.”
It’s certainly a major win for Surf Snowdonia and the eyes of the surfing world will be watching – with other high profile wave pools opening (Kelly Slater Wave Co) and introduction of surfing into the 2020 Olympics, there’s a keen desire to see how a pro event will work out.
In fact, according to Surf Snowdonia, “it’s revolutionary technology has been named by the International Surf Association (ISA) as having been instrumental in surfing’s successful bid to be recognised as an Olympic sport.”
So it seems fairly certain that wave pools are about to become a permanent fixture in pro surfing competitions.
Our regular contributor Dan Kerins visited Surf Snowdonia last year and gives his review and a little history in his write up.
Feature image Surf Snowdonia / Nick Pumphrey Photography