Not about taming, not about conquering, but about friendship and cooperation, about how a person adapts to the forces of the elements and learns to absorb its energy.
Unfortunately, some people consider themselves the crown of creation, who has the right to dispose of nature at their discretion, and this discretion, alas, often affects the planet very negatively.
You don’t need to look far. For example, plastic bags and bottles regularly float by surfers in the ocean, and it is excruciating to see them.
Human activity is also directly or indirectly reflected on the waves themselves, but in fairness, it should be noted that it is not always for the worse.
It happens in different ways, and in this article, I want to tell four exciting stories about surfers and waves.
Table of Contents
Man kills waves
The swells of the Atlantic Ocean enter the Bay of Biscay and reach the rocky shores of the Basque Country at a certain angle.
When they meet the mouth of the river in the city of Mundaka, they form perfect long left-hand waves that look implausible, especially when viewed from the upland city fences of the bay.
Until recently, one of the stages of the WSL World Tour was held on the Mundak spot; on this wave, Andy Irons, Taj Burrow, and Kelly Slater showed their skills.
Only twice in the history of the competition on this wave were canceled – once in 2001 due to the tragic events of 9/11, and the second time in 2005, but this time, unfortunately, indefinitely.
Surfers want to believe what is not irrevocable, especially those who have seen the ideal waves of 400 meters on the European coast with their own eyes.
It all started in 2003 when the shipbuilding company Murueta removed 57 tons of sand from the coastal area of Mundaki to make the site passable for more different ships.
Due to the changed bottom topography, the wave began to disappear; it melted before our eyes and was eventually reduced to 40 meters.
Geologists believe that the forces of nature can sooner or later restore the natural structure of the bottom, and the wave will return to its previous form, but no one can predict when this will happen.
But this is just one example; there are many more of them in the world.
The waves are often killed on purpose; for example, substantial expensive hotels put breakwaters so that their guests can swim in calm water. What can surfers do?
Man saves the waves
It is a story about a wave and about a man who has dedicated his life to protecting the ocean. Ramon Navarro was born and raised in the Chilean city of Pichilemu.
His father is a simple fisherman who instilled love and respect for the sea in his son.
While helping his father, Ramon very early learned to dive and hold his breath for a long time, which ultimately led him to a successful career as a big wave surfer.
The world discovered this guy from a tiny fishing village when he came to Hawaii to participate in the most dangerous big wave surfing competition – the Eddie Aikau Championship.
However, the story is not about awards and recognition at all, but that Chilean entrepreneurs saw promising directions for business development in their native places of Navarro and began active development in Punto de Lobos – where Ramona’s dear and beloved surf spot is located.
In pursuit of profit, corporations and the government destroyed the natural beauty of this unique place.
Looking with horror at the irreparably changing homeland, Ramon made it his goal to protect the land on which his grandfather, father, and himself grew up.
He became one of the most active ambassadors of the international fund “Save The Waves.”
This organization has existed since 2009 and is engaged in negotiating with the governments of different countries on the inclusion of beaches and waves in a protected area where the building is prohibited.
He reached out to the government of his country and is actively continuing his activities in other parts of the world.
The closest surf reserve to Russia is located in Ericeira, Portugal, two more in California, two in Australia, and one in Mexico, Brazil, and Peru.
Sometimes the human activity is not dictated by selfish motives, and it does not always lead to tragic consequences for the wave.
By chance, bottom modifications make the lock more attractive to surfers. It is the third story.
Man changes waves
One of the most unpredictable, dangerous, but interesting for surfers, waves is located in California and is called The Wedge.
There is a barrier at the entrance to the bay, which creates a strong rebounding wave when the swell is in the right direction. It collides with the incoming tide, forming an exploding peak of double height.
The history of this spot is fascinating: until 1936, The Wedge spot gave even waves, but it posed a danger to boats entering the bay. In 1926, 15-year-old George Rogers Jr. entered the bay in his craft.
A tide turned over a small lightship, and since the guy suffered polio in childhood and was forced to wear iron braces on his legs, under their weight, he sank to the bottom like a stone; the body was never found.
His father, George Rogers Sr., owner of a successful road construction company, sold his business and invested money in a harbor redevelopment project.
However, although this example exists, it is still an exception, not a rule, obtained by chance.
But you know people: we are always chasing an ideal, and if we cannot find it, we decide to do it.
Man makes waves
What is the ideal wave for most surfers? It is protracted, straightforward, predictable, and uncompetitive.
The biggest problem, perhaps, lies in the last point, given the growing popularity of surfing, it is possible to find good deserted spots.
Still, it is long and expensive – you need to fly to where the infrastructure is not developed and look for your wave.
There is a certain amount of romance in this, but not everyone is ready for it, so it is quite natural that there has been a boom in artificial waves in recent years.
In 2005, two surfers, Spanish engineer Josema Odriozola and German sports economist Karin Fritz, were inspired by the idea of creating an artificial wave.
Still, they had a more difficult task – developing technology for creating an artificial wave suitable for surfing.
Today, surf parks are built worldwide in Australia, Europe, and America using their technology.
This pleasure is not cheap, for example, the cost of the park, which is now being built in Spain, is 10 million euros—interested in performance?
One thousand perfect waves per hour. Worth it.
Snowdonia was the first long, high-quality artificial wave.
Still, a revolution followed a year later, when a project that Kelly Slater and his company had been working on for a decade was presented to the world – the world’s first artificial wave with a trumpet section.
Kelly Slater Wave Company’s lead engineer is Adam Fincham, a Jamaican surfer and aerospace engineer specializing in geophysical fluid dynamics.
The prototype of the wave that was built was called Surf Ranch, it was kept secret for a long time, but now it is known that Surf Ranch is located in a remote part of California.
A unique hydrofoil system drives artificial waves along with the rectangular pool, while giant troughs along the edges reduce the effect of rebound waves.
The most refined mesh is stretched over the hydrofoils to keep surfers safe. The wave size is also adjustable so that surfers of different levels can ride on the wave.
But the main thing that happened in connection with the launch of the Kelly Wave – in 2018, for the first time in history, one of the stages of the WSL World Tour will be held on an artificial wave!
How it will be – we will find out at the beginning of autumn, in the schedule the Surf Ranch replaced the traditional stage in Fiji on September 5-9, 2018.
Artificial waves are the future. And let some surfers chuckle, saying that the beauty of surfing is interacting with the ocean.
Pipes are valuable only because you rarely get to visit them. I also think the zest will disappear and remain clean, but much less interesting professional sport.
But at the same time, which of us skeptics would not jump on the plane if old Kelly called and invited him to visit him at the Ranch?