An obscure cleft in the geographical layout of California, and not the actual state now, offers the unique experience of hanging ten over 100 miles from the fabled stretch of Pacific coach and the unassuming intensely environment of leisure featuring perfect waves of bikini glad vixens, ample sunlight, surfing, and the perpetual background noise of a Beach Boys looped playlist.
While the organically festive environment evokes a broad smile even within the ranks of the crotchety, thanks to the dedication and innovative tendencies of a wave mashing legend, the ocean is no longer a required temperamental factor in hosting the opportunity to skillfully manipulate a long board board through the world’s intertidal zones.
The world inland surfing capitol located just outside of Leemore, California, is absent of reefs and sharks.
Former world champion wave cutter Kelly Slater sparked the exploratory journey in the quest to provide a year round surfing training facility, and with assistance from a team of experts ranging from engineers to consultants, the dream transformed into reality, as the Surf Ranch was established in 2017. In literally moving mountains, a pair of artificial irrigation reservoirs were gutted and retro-fitted with a complex and rigorous hydrofoil system, in sculpting the set of perfect waves. At 2,000 feet long, and 500 feet wide, the refurbished agricultural structures are still a shrine to the surrounding fertile farmlands, and now propagate thrashing skills rather than crop bountiful crop yields. Waves can reach six and half feet high and a surfing session can last north of 45 seconds.
Aerial view of the Surf Ranch and the dual training pools. The hydrofoil system is operating a live wave session in the right hand pool. (courtesy Google Maps)
The location of the surfing complex smack dab in the middle of the California Inland Empire near the town of Leemore (pop. 24,000) and drowning in adrenaline, is just about as far away as one can get from the vortex of the coastal surfing subculture, and the fact the enterprising is thriving is both a testament to drive of Slater, and the collective efforts of the engineering staff. The $30 million project is now a global destination for the surfing community, as summer temperatures average in the mid 90’s, and the stubborn marine layer of the coast does not persist.
However, just gaining access to the exclusive wave adventure is challenging, as a 1-hour session costs $9,500 plus a $300 processing fee. For the elite professional of the surfing community, sponsors can pay the tab, but for the remainder of the populace, the experience is simply a fleeting component of the internet dream detached from reality.
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