All day today there’s been a lot of hype, speculation and excitement around the WSL’s specialty event at Kelly Slater’s wave pool. I’ve spoken to people at the wave and people who rode the wave and people who attended the event — some invited and some not invited. We’ve texted with Kelly (who I must say has always been very accommodating to our ridiculous questions and concerns), some bystanders and gotten a glimpse inside with varying degrees of success. And while it’s definitely a bizarre spectacle they’ve created and has surely started a never-ending conversation that I’m going to have with every one of my relatives this Christmas, it’s becoming something I want nothing to do with.
Now don’t get me wrong, as a surfer, you’d be lying if you weren’t a little buzzed watching that thing peel down the line. It’s surreal. A fucking dream wave come true. But I get the same way when a car splashes in my gutter and makes a mini wave peel. Same reaction. We like to look at waves — I’m cursed by it. I watch skim boarders on Instagram cuz the waves look cool. But after getting my glimpses at what’s going on behind the very closed doors at the Wave Park: I just don’t have any interest in their elite surf country club or the sterile events they’ll be holding inside. Did I hear Coldplay is playing? Coldplay? Fuck that.
The way this whole wave-pool-WSL thing has been introduced to the world feels slimy. Elitist and weird. And while I can’t argue that riding it, watching it and the general excitement around the whole thing is noteworthy, I get the same quesy feeling I get around private golf courses and churches. Or when I hear the awkward clop of flip flops. I just don’t think I can buy into this cultish wave pool culture. I’m happy to stick to what I’ve got in the ocean. It’s never gotten old. Not once. Even the flat spells, obnoxious tides, difficult travel, shifting sandbars and reef bounces — that’s what keeps me around. The unknown. The fun. All I know about my chances at riding a wave in the KS Wave Park include waiting in line for a wave and a post-surf grape soda where I’ll undoubtedly be surrounded by corporate executives in WSL polos looking to buy a wave park of their own. And I’ll hack my golf ball down any old street before I pay to play that course. —Travis