We’ve been hearing about the rise of man-made waves for years now. And no, those things on cruise ships don’t count.
This wave pool concept, to open in Snowdonia National Park in North Wales next year, appears to mimic quite well the qualities of surfing, sans a few of the more learned aspects of the sport, like wave selection and lineup etiquette. This is because, at least according to this video, every wave is a drop-in and you have it all to yourself. Sounds like heaven.
For some, it might be.
But for many others, surfing is not just about riding a wave, it’s also about embracing the action of the ocean and absorbing the visceral experience of floating above a dark aquatic underworld. It’s about the exploration of swell, physical empowerment and the simple joys of unraveling the nuances a recently discovered wave.
In short, wave parks are the indoor climbing gyms of surfing, even if placed in the middle of an outdoor recreation hub.
There’s no question I would pay to solo ride a few perfect waves generated by a machine controlled by a guy in a booth, especially since I live in the desert. I’m certain that it wouldn’t come close to the true experience.
The ocean is a complex system. We may be able to mechanically clone its surface actions and bring surfing to the plains states, but we’ll never be able to re-create a real wave.