“One of the funnest days ever” they say, and let’s be honest we need all the fun we can get right now. John surprises his friends with a trip to the Surf Ranch. You’ll find party waves, John and Ross talking boards, debates for the lunch wave, and discrepancies over heat scores. Featuring John John Florence, Ross Williams, @Nathan Florence @Koa Rothman @Eli Olson Kiron Jabour, Kona Johnson, Pete Johnson, Thatcher Johnson, Brandon Wasserman. Mind surf a few with the crew.
While a summer flat spell has kept most surfers in Spain and Southwest France out of the water, Basque surfer Aritz Aranburu was fortunate enough to unleash some of his powerful trademark hacks in between countless barrels at Wavegarden’s demo center in the Basque mountainside.
Just last week reporters from El País – one of Spain’s most prominent newspapers – visited Wavegarden HQ’s on a content gathering mission for a video they are making about Wavegarden. Their crew of photographers & cameramen were keen to see how the local hero would perform on the waves at his local surfspot… and they weren’t disappointed. “I just love riding the barrel and it’s great to get so many in one session”, said Aritz.
A test pilot since 2009, Aritz has witnessed the full evolution of the company. “I still get surprised every time I surf here. The team at Wavegarden really listen to the feedback provided by the surfers and we can see the results; the technology just keeps getting better.”
The middle of california is one big farm. that and kelly’s mad wave pool. ben skinner has just become the first brit to ride it…
Interview by Steve England Photos courtesy WSL
As we go to press the Surf Ranch Pro is on. Just before the CT crew took over the joint for the big show the WSL invited some of the world’s top longboarders for a test session. Ben Skinner was one of the golden ticket holders who got the nod and so becomes the first British person to ride Kelly’s tub. Steve England racked up the phone bill calling Ben in California as he waited for the Relik longboard event at Trestles to start.
So how was the Ranch?
It was insane. It is actually even better than it looks. Obviously, it takes a few waves to work it out, and I didn’t have too many, so I can only imagine how much better it is once you get it totally dialled. The people there were amazingly welcoming and just made the experience even better.
How did the invite come your way?
Basically, through the WSL, They wanted to start bringing longboarding to Kelly’s wave, and I was one of four lucky men to get the call. Thank you WSL!
How many waves were you allowed to ride?
I caught four rights and three lefts, and then poached a few waves through the session which was a fun part of being there. If someone fell in front of you, then you go!
What board did you ride? Did you have to shape one up for it?
Well, I wanted to make something for the wave to try and fill its full potential on the nose, off the tail and in the tube. So I made a board similar to what I ride in hollow waves, but with more of a nose for nose riding. It felt great.
How does the wave compare to Wavegarden? Lining it up, catching it and power wise?
The power and speed are the first things you notice. You are definitely going faster and the wave as a real punch to it. Catching it is very similar, in fact, a little bit easier because of the extra power of the wave. They basically tell you to line on pole 21 and wait. The wave comes to you.
The power and speed are the first things you notice
What are the sections like? I heard they can change one to make it more doable on a longboard.
The hardest part about surfing the wave is reading the sections. On a normal wave you can see ahead of you what is going to happen, whereas, on Kelly’s wave, you just have to know where to be because it happens right under you. But yeah, they have a lot of different settings, that part was mind-blowing. So we got to choose between two different settings, ‘CT2′ and ‘CT3′. One has the two barrel sections, and one has more of a wall with the barrel at the end. Pretty insane!
Looks like a little step in the barrel section that could be tricky as the bottom drops out?
Yeah for sure, that is what I was saying that it literally happens underneath you. If you’re not in the right spot, you miss the barrel, or you lose the whole wave.
How did Harley and the other longboarders find it?
Loved it. The boys smashed it. Harley and Taylor were standouts to me.
Did you see the air section in effect? How was that?
Yeah, watched Pat G hitting it quite a lot, it looks good, but again, its all about timing.
In a bid to tackle the man-made waves of Surf Snowdonia, Jordy Smith finds a gap in his busy competition schedule and heads to the green hills of the Conwy Valley. With left-handers and right-handers peeling for up to 150 metres, the 29-year-old South African puts the inland wave lagoon through its paces.
Bringing his power game to Wales, Jordy’s style on the artificial head-high waves is fluid. It’s clear to see why this Durban raised surfer is currently one of the world’s finest.
Commenting on his experience at Surf Snowdonia Jordy states: “It was actually a good training session. The surf has been quite small in California so it was good to ride several waves in a short period of time. The wave is very different to waves in the ocean but it does offer a few fun sections to do some turns. It’s a pretty crazy place to be honest. I look around and it’s just surrounded by mountains and lots of greenery which is beautiful. I’m excited to be part of a time when artificial wave lagoons are launching across the world. The technology is continually improving and this is just the beginning.”
Winning Bells Beach in Australia earlier this year and storming through the semi-finals at Trestles, South Africa’s Jordy Smith has held his position at the top of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour rankings. With just three events ahead of him, Jordy will join the rest of the global surfing elite in France next week for the ninth round of the WCT.
Click here for more information on O’Neill team rider Jordy Smith.