Central Valley

Surfing in the Central Valley? Kelly Slater is making it happen

Kelly Slater has won the World Surf League Championship a record 11 times, including five consecutive titles from 1994–98. He’s passionate about ocean conservation, he’s performed with Pearl Jam and Ben Harper, and he even has his own video game.
Now, for his next act, he’s bringing surfing to the Central Valley. Lemoore, to be exact. Yes, the same Lemoore that boasts a Naval Air Station and the Tachi Palace casino. That Lemoore. Located just west of the dry land in Hanford, Lemoore doesn’t exactly scream “beachside community,” but it’s just perfect for Slater’s next project.
According to a four-page spread in a recent issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, the Kelly Slater Wave Company has secretly transformed an artificial lake in Lemoore into the best wave pool in the world. But don’t jump into your car and head to Lemoore just yet.
The wave pool is a prototype for Slater’s business, and it’s not close to being open. In fact, the whole thing has been pretty hush-hush.
The Bloomberg Businessweek piece changes all that, of course. Now surfing fans around the world are aware of Slater’s concept — and Lemoore.
According to the article, “Now that the pool’s location is public, and even tagged on Google Maps, the company has had to button up the security.  There’s a guard at the gate when I visit in late May, and surveillance cameras cover the property. Still, drones have buzzed over numerous times and once a helicopter came in low, with a man clearly filming out the side, so the hydrofoil—the wave’s secret weapon—is camouflaged from above.”
It’s well worth your time to read the entire story and learn more about Slater’s plans. If the concept takes off, Slater’s majestic wave pools could appear all around the world in the next 5-10 years. And all because it worked perfectly in scenic Lemoore, of all places. Here’s hoping we can all check it out soon.
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