Are Wave Pools “Anti-Surfing”?

“…to me, the wave pool is anti-surfing.
Perhaps because there is no marine life, no marine death. No cliff, no dune, no guano covered jump off rock. No horizon, no weather, no ephemeral beauty nor ugliness, no glass off, no moon rise, no symbolic return to the primeval soup, no… nature.”

Wave Pools Are Anti-Surfing

I find the concept and potential outcomes of wave pools quite interesting.

In one sense I can appreciate the wave pool as technological feat and also as a means of bringing waves of a pretty much consistent quality to inland/landlocked locations (perhaps this helps to democratise suring?). They will also, I’m sure, help the likes of competitive surfers in the UK gain a bit of extra edge (where our seas don’t always provide ideal conditions for practicing/repeating maneuvers) and benefit the development of the UK’s competitive surfing in general (another discussion in itself).

On the other hand, as perfectly articulated by Paul Evans in his piece for Surf Europe magazine, I wonder whether wave pools might (pardon the pun) water down and de-value our experience and perception of surfing… Evans is adamant that wave pools are ‘anti-surfing’ – and I do sympathise with him.

Wave pools pose many questions…

Will on-demand ‘perfect’ waves produced by wave pools lead to surfing and surfers becoming too robotic, systematic and non-innovative? Will they destroy the ability for us to appreciate the beauty of the ocean’s/nature’s imperfections (wabi-sabi)? Will they remove the need for surfers and other water users to learn and foster a respect for the natural world and forces out of their control? Will they breed a new generation of dispassionate surfers who take waves and the act of surfing for granted – and who never get to experience the emotional turmoil and effort (and resulting life lessons/personal growth) involved in ‘the search’ or the ‘waiting game’?

It’s a very interesting topic (one I feel is almost worthy of it’s own Black Mirror episode) and only the future will tell how wave pools will affect surfing and surfers.

What are your thoughts?



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