World’s first artificial waves surf comp kicks off in Wales

World’s first artificial waves surf comp kicks off in Wales

Out of the ocean, into the wave garden — International pros go head-to-head on man-made waves at Surf Snowdonia in Red Bull Unleashed 2015.

Opinions are still divided among surfers over artificial waves. Back in 2006, Kelly Slater told Huck he thought wave pools were the future. He imagined surf clubs popping up all over the place, just like golf clubs, and invested in the technology to make it happen. But for purists like The Surfer’s Path author Drew Kampion, “This is not surfing except in its most limited sense.”

After high profile failures like Bournemouth £3.2 million man-made reef that hasn’t produced a surfable wave since it opened in 2009, eyebrows were raised when a £12 million artificial surfing lake was announced in Wales.

Surf Snowdonia opened in August this year and is now hosting the world’s first international surfing competition on an artificial wave, Red Bull Unleashed 2015.

The 24-man lineup includes freesurfing and competition talents alike, such as Albee Layer and Ezekial Lau (HAW), Jack Freestone and Mikey Wright (AUS), Dillon Perillo and Kainoa Igarashi (USA) and Brendon Gibbens (ZAF).

But how will surfing uniform, man-made waves go down at competition level? Without the unpredictability of the ocean, will we see a boring and clinical session? Or will surfing dependably regular waves help the pros take things to the next level and really show off their skills? One thing’s for sure, competitive surfing will never be the same again.

Red Bull Unleashed hits Surf Snowdonia, September 17-19.