“I remember the first time I caught the ‘reef’ wave at NLand Surf Park, in Austin,” Uproxx Travel and Adventure editor Steve Bramucci tells me. “You drop in, it’s slightly different from an ocean wave for a second, then you start carving the face and the wave stabilizes and keeps going and… you just have so much time as you’re riding to be overwhelmed with that surfer stoke. It’s a pretty special feeling.”
Steve was talking about a man-made wave in Austin, Texas. It’s one of many land-locked surf spots that have popped up over the past five or so years. A second later, he launched into a story about cruising around his tiny beach town on an electric skateboard. Both examples are a reminder that, with a new era of tech, we’ve reached a new era of action sports too.
It wasn’t too long ago that the X Games was an underground sporting event showcasing the very cutting (sometimes bloody) edge of athleticism. Tony Hawk and his generation of riders were extreme — out of reach for most people to even consider emulating. These days, that perception is changing rapidly. From bringing skating and surfing to the masses to making the adrenaline-pumping danger of base-jumping cooler (and safer) than ever, here’s how technology is revolutionizing action sports.
You don’t have to live near the ocean to ride waves.
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slide into the middle of the week…. •• •• Video by @austinkeen47 who writes: "One of my favorite moments of 2018 was being the first person to skim out to the @kellyslater wave aka @kswaveco aka Surf Ranch and have my buddy @blake_ernst 🚁 pull the crucial capture on my one and only attempt at skimming out with very little heads up and @reedmorales For capturing the water angle from the jet ski. it was nerve racking having one shot at timing the wave and sliding out perfectly. I studied the wave on my phone for 30 min leading up to my attempt, watching how early I had to skim out before the wave even formed. If surfing can be in the Olympics because of this pool, why can’t skimboarding? It was a huge goal of mine to skim this wave and I tried all angles to get there, but it seemed impossible until @jaype2424 hooked me up with a private invite. Thanks again to all the epic staff and water safety crew for being so rad and giving me a shot at skimming this thing to show the world that this wave is skimmable and the perfect skim wave was made on accident while creating the perfect man made surf wave. You can catch the full video of my trip to surf ranch on my YT Channel. . . #skimboarding #skim #finless #surfranch #kellyslaterwavecompany #kswaveco #travel #lifestyle #adventure #surf #surfinglife #theperfectwave #oceanlife #thewavecave #surfboard #oceanlover #surfsession #livethesearch #gosurf #surfingiseverything #surfer #reefbreak #surfingtime #sealover #waveriding #surfing #surftrip #finditliveit #surfphotography #ipreview via @preview.app
When it comes to surfing, you naturally think ocean. You think thumping reef breaks and wetsuits and sitting on the sandy beach in between sessions. But the game has changed. You can ride waves in the middle of a desert now. You can ride in Austin or Waco or… if you’re really lucky… in Lemoore, California.
Lemoore is home to surf god Kelly Slater’s wave pool. There — if you have the cash — you’ll find truly perfect barrels, developed by some of the best aerospace engineers in the world. In fact, the wave is so dreamy that it’s already become a host site for a World Surf League tour stop.
“You get this consistency, you know the wave is going to be exactly the same every time and it’s really made out to better yourself,” two-time world champion John John Florence told CNN World Sport in Lemoore.
That’s a miracle of modern tech and it’s bound to spread throughout the world. The day is coming — and soon — when finding the perfect wave no longer requires coastline.