The Wave Ranch by KSWC
I was able to get onto the ranch as helping hand for my friends fish company that catered a “friends and family” day for the Kelly Slater wave company. My friend called me, instead of his usual workers, because he knew we would somehow get into the pool if we were there. And we did; for the last three waves of the day .
After being denied from multiple requests throughout the day, whether it be for catering cost or just straight pleas for a wave, defeat was looming pretty hard. We cracked a few beers and started packing the catering supplies back in the truck.
It was the water safety team that let us in. They could tell we were jonesing. And knew us from surfing in the ocean. “Get your suits on”, as we were leaning over the edge of the cement barrier cringing at the waves passing by the invited guests. I ran to my car (which was parked in Johanne Defay’s #22 spot) while the sun was setting. The crew had already ran more guests and waves than they had in previous days but it seemed as if they became comfortable enough in their positions to run the train past its designated hours of operation; even with the threat of their superiors watching the online security cameras. But thats what being cooped up in Lemoore for the summer will do to these water safety guys.
Round nose fish or standard old thruster? I’ll go with my RNF and skatey MR fins. We paddled out in between waves, passing the wary eyed employee friends and family lineup. They knew we were going to catch the last waves. Each person was assigned a pole to sit at. Theres like 80 of them its insane. We chose to sit towards the middle end of the wave because thats where it got crucial and most of the novices were either falling or getting outrun by the tube.
My friend, the boss, got a wave halfway through its run down the track. He was able to swing and scratch into one where someone had just fallen. As he started speeding down the line on his epoxy asym I became mesmerized by the perfection of the wave. I snapped out of it when he got closer and picked up my board, swung it, and splashed him in the face. Just a friendly gesture like any other session we had shared. The bastard had got the wave we both wanted. He got super shacked on the end bowl and the whole party on the deck broke out in applause and cheers. Pretty classic to look back at a crowd of people you don't know just cheering for your friend. Especially because we weren't “scheduled” to be in the pool.
I got my wave from the top. Water safety picked me up after the boss’ ride. It was confirmed that we knew what we were doing. He said “hop on, your getting one from the top”. I was baffled. Last wave is mine ? Ok. I stood up on the twinny and started flying. Could barely figure out how to read the wave forming or what direction the water was moving. But there was speed and power instantly, and at that, much more than anticipated from a fresh water machine wave. I had to do something. Thats just the way I surf. Whack, one turn down. Straight off the bottom into another, Whack. That one felt mean, except my fins are still sliding… I recover and the wave has passed me up! Hah! I just blew the only wave I will catch at the ranch. Torched! I paddle in and head over to the jacuzzi with the water safety guys. Grabbed a few beers for everyone and hop in. “Why did you do those gnarly turns? You're just supposed to go straight until it barrels.” In retrospect, yes that is exactly what I should have done. I never really thought about what to do on the wave before I caught it though and thats what I love about surfing. You take off on a wave and your just there, ready for whatever happens next.
We got drunk in the jacuzzi watching the moonrise over the pool. Somehow our catering crew had meshed with the water safety team. Beers, food, margaritas, beers . We weren't driving home anymore. The vibe that we were riding took us straight to Tachi Palace with the workers who wished to send off their season with good ole American gambling night. And the boss sprung for the hotel. Nice little night cap for a day at the ranch.
The location of the ranch way out in landlocked Lemoore is so odd and so perfect for artificial waves. It's all entertainment. We back wave pools 100%. There is a time and place for mostly anything in this world and if you need to ride a perfect wave without expending any effort in traveling, waiting, guessing or searching, Kelly Slater Wave Company has the product for you. And if you want to ride the slater wave pool without paying 10k, work your connections and just get in the vicinity of the wave. You'll never be able to get that wave unless your in the lineup.