The first ever world tour surfing event held with artificial waves was completed last Sunday, September 10, at the Surf Ranch Pro in Lemoore, California.
The best men and women competed on a level playing field with a scheduled, set number of waves (lefts and rights) to qualify for the finals.
It was Brazil’s Gabriel Medina who took out the win, ahead of fellow countryman Felipe Toledo and the inventor of the wave pool, Kelly Slater, earning a bronze third place.
The event was a new frontier for surf competitions, with potential to build the waves anywhere and compete on a consistent, perfect wave.
There is talk of building this wave pool in Japan for the Olympics which would improve the standard of waves and the potential is endless with bigger waves a future option.
But does it take away from the natural elements of the ocean where every wave is different and conditions are always changing?
Some of the purists will argue that this event was lacking the excitement of the ocean and the danger of the natural waves breaking on shallow reef, but this is just the beginning.
The tour event is scheduled again for 2019 and the World Surf League also increased women’s prize money to be equal with men’s from next year onwards.
Western Australia will be getting it’s first wave pool next year and it will be a bonus for those wave starved riders in metro or inland areas.
Thursday will have west-south-westerly winds and a solid three-metre plus swell.
Conditions finally improve on Friday with south-south-easterly winds and a rising four-metre swell.
Offshore east-north-easterly winds on Saturday with a solid 2.8-metre swell, before an onshore south-south-westerly change on Sunday brings a smaller 1.7-metre swell.
Yallingup on Saturday.