Are wave pools the future of surfing competition?

This weekend just gone saw the first ever event featuring a field of international pro’s to take place on an artificial wave go down at Surf Snowdonia and from what we’ve seen it looks like it was a pretty cool spectacle. However surfers are often pretty protective of things that seek to challenge the established norms of our sport (probably because we love it as it is) and accordingly the event has had its share of online critics. The internet has characteristically lit up with opinions since the footage dropped covering all topics from the colour of the water to speculations about the future of surf events in massive arena’s. Many criticised the wave itself, calling it mushy and gutless with Freestone, Layer and Geiselman all reportedly telling Surf Europe it was really hard to punt on and that all it really allowed for was some pretty conservative 4 to the beach stuff, which you can kinda see in this clip featuring the best scoring wave of the event:

Others however praised it for it for its amazing spectator experience, with RedBull pulling out all the stops to make the atmosphere and competition format as electric and exciting as possible- even allowing each surfer to choose the music that was played during their heat. However whether this is the future of surf competitions remains to be seen: either the artificial waves will keep getting better and better, with their consistency wooing bigger cooperate sponsors who would put on even more spectacular events eventually shortening our collective attention spans to the point the idea of standing on a beach staring out at two surfers bobbing in the line up waiting 20 minutes for a good set would seem undesirable in comparison. Or wave pools will end up as the snow domes of surfing, a fun little folly, but not really any comparison to the real thing. Only time will tell.



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