Blowing the location on Slater's wave pool

Craig Brokensha
Swellnet Dispatch

After seeing the perfection unveiled by Kelly and his team at Kelly Slater Wave Pools this morning, my first question was: Where is the test facility and how did they keep it secret for so long?

Theories were already starting to fly across the internet, but a single rural satellite image with an interesting long, black rectangular shape was the starting point for my investigation. 

The clues were easy enough to follow: Central Valley California, with a clear Route 41 numbered along with 18th Avenue.

The address pointed to what looked to be a single ski water park over 110 miles from the coast (the same distance mentioned by Kelly in the clip). Was this the secret location that the KSWC had been keeping under wraps?

With all the tools freely available to us in this day and age (Google, Google Earth, Google Streetview) it only took an hour or so to confirm the likely location of the test facility.

Firstly, a check of the history of the location revealed that the dual lake setup has been there since about 2004, way before Kelly was likely to have been looking for land to test his experiment on.

If the lake had just popped up in the last year or two - easily verifiable via Google Earth history - it would of been easy to confirm this was the location. This was a slight curveball that needed to be clarified, but which could also yield more information.

So, the question begged: What could a large, rectangular lake possibly be used for?

The only option I could think of was wakeboarding or water skiing. So I Googled the address along with the term 'water ski' to see if anything appeared. This brought up an interesting article stating the "Ski Lake Home" was sold in January 2014, right in the middle of the public battle to get the first wave pool up and running. 

A couple of other interesting tid bits from the article: the real state agent is Jim Knoska of Beach Cities Real Estate, a "local resident of the Newport Beach" who "goes out of his way to help find the perfect property for his clients. Jim normally works in the Newport & Huntington Beach area with a focus on beach front properties." 

The property is "approximately 3 hours to the beach which is normally where Knoska performs most of his real estate transactions. Jim had a client who was interested in lake property and he was able to locate this incredible deal out in Lemoore."

"The biggest feature of the sale was the private lake that was attached to the land. It's rare to find such a large parcel of land that covered nearly 20 acres and included the large lake that is ideal for water skiing."

So, an Orange County Real Estate agent centred around the Newport & Huntington Beach areas, with a client looking for a lake property three hours from the coast? The clues kept adding up. According to his LinkedIn profile, Jim is also a surfer. Tick, tick, tick.

Going back to the history view on Google Earth back before the acquisition of the property in January 2014, two clear lakes can be seen. However the most recent image in May 2015 has the eastern-most lake filled in, along with the construction of a cement structure running the length of the remaining lake.

Was this the mechanism that would create the waves, or was it the construction of a cable tow Wake/Ski park?

Looking closely at the promotional video, there are clearly visible telephone poles in the background looking towards Jackson Avenue, which look very similar to the ones shown on Google Earth.

But this wasn’t enough.

The final clincher was a pulled-back shot showing a corrugated iron shed with a slight pitch, two doors on its side and an additional white box on top. 

A quick check back to Google Street View, and boom, there it was clear to see.

Conveniently, Slater’s new wave pool shares a back fence with the Phoenix Sunrise Golf Course. No doubt this was a key selling point for Slater who would appreciate the proximity of a round of eighteen.

So while Kelly and his team have tried their best too keep this location a secret, it lasted less than one hour. Flights are now booked for a strike mission to California. //CRAIG BROKENSHA

If you missed the first vision of Kelly Slater's Wave Pool, watch it here.

Comments

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 3:51pm

Missed your calling as a detective there Craig. Nice work. The inland bf nowhere location may provide a whole lot of spin offs for for local community too; losmen, warungs, surf camp, tshirt selling , the next Ments maybe?

Ramazan's picture
Ramazan's picture
Ramazan commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 3:56pm

Dont forget to pack the drone. Although I am sure you wont be the first. Well done Shirlock.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 4:42pm

You beat me by a little there agent Brokensha......as soon as you posted that first google earth pic I was right up your clacker.....cruising the streets of Lemoore and the council DAs
Lemoore connection with Slater and Pristine Shilajit.

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 6:27pm

Haha nice one Udo!

saltmotion's picture
saltmotion's picture
saltmotion commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 4:52pm

Credit to your detective work Craig, obviously there is nothing worth surfing around here today! :-)

floyd's picture
floyd's picture
floyd commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 5:20pm

reckon the guy 3 doors down has a crop going craig, any chance of confirming that?

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 5:30pm

Can we get a satellite wave pool crowd pic asap.........fuck half of California will out there for a look.

sizemeup's picture
sizemeup's picture
sizemeup commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 6:00pm

Nice work Craig! A fun read.

Sizey

sizemeup's picture
sizemeup's picture
sizemeup commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 6:02pm

Now Swellnet needs to come up with some free passes to the joint.

Sizey

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 6:43pm

Had Slater had sold some advertising for this vid.....logo on the wetsuit, board ,background wall or whatever ,what $ could he have charged ? Could someone of his stature demand the property purchase price $US575k for a few seconds of advertising here and there ?

howlingplanet-surf-pics's picture
howlingplanet-surf-pics's picture
howlingplanet-s... commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 7:18pm

Well done on scoping the location. We can see how there is room for expansion-
not into his neighours Golf Course (life membership surely already established) -
but across 19th Ave (westward) and northwards toward Vine St.
So water reticulation - including maybe a Flocculator ! which settles algae and other fine particles- could be expanded and kept in tune with the growing needs for water quality and waste minimisation.
For starters, the older pool, in place for the previous Water Ski park- if not reserved for left-hander waves- could be partially shaded and serve as a source pool for water-treatment, shuffling the main wave-pool surface water out during use, into the back-up one or an underground intermediary- whatever best-practice treatment applied- then the best of that water gets re-circulated back into the main pool.
I doubt the net usage of water will be as heavy as the Golf Course opposite.
I think it is unfair to go at Kelly on environmental grounds: one would need a packet of case studies to diminish his positive contributions, surely. And why bother gathering such an attack, is he not a good fellow?
As for the wave monotony, for regular users, or for surf comps, Ben said it, shiftable floor under the water, surely in-place already.
On investment, the licensing would cover the huge initial series of outlay campaigns. Compare to Hollywood, especially old days, domestic would cover some costs, then residuals (from overseas sales) would bring in the net (profits).
As for access, any decent team with PR skills suited to the new social media century we are in would formulate a package of community-friendly programs that offer Surf Camp scholarships, local discount cards, Staff & friends sessions, School Group hour every week-day...stuff like that. Then sponsors could pay for further subsidies to local Cali surf club comp winners, for example. Night surfing? They could set up a solar array next door, power the site by day, maybe get sponsorship for battery storage and use excess for night-lights...then Events while a lucky few surf, so the place becomes a hang-out not just an elite acrobatic slide zone.

jmsoulsurfer's picture
jmsoulsurfer's picture
jmsoulsurfer commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 8:52pm

Yeah whatever...

What is is, what isn't isn't.

jmsoulsurfer's picture
jmsoulsurfer's picture
jmsoulsurfer commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 8:56pm

Size? Can he up the size? Imagine that wave at double overhead. I'd pay a lot of money for that experience. Mmmmmm. Flawless stand up barrels.

What is is, what isn't isn't.

wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443's picture
wingnut2443 commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 9:58pm

That price, $575k, seems cheap for what was already there. And the location. Great location. About mid way between San Francisco and LA. Only a short hop over the hills in a chopper from Vegas too!

Surfboard Design and Construction Kook. Evidence is here: www.ffwsurfboards.com.au
*FFW - Few Fun Waves ... that's what it's all about for me.

caml's picture
caml's picture
caml commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 10:40pm

Is it always offshore ?

barley's picture
barley's picture
barley commented Saturday, 19 Dec 2015 at 10:52pm

Fuck let the clowns have it..in fact build millions of them...let the kooks have the parks and leave the coasts alone...perrrfect!!

offshoreozzie's picture
offshoreozzie's picture
offshoreozzie commented Sunday, 20 Dec 2015 at 4:45am

Pretty sure there were more than "theories" floating on the internet. You just copied from reddit. who actually found it. Nice try though

https://www.reddit.com/r/surfing/comments/3xe46t/is_this_kellys_wave_cen...
http://imgur.com/a/HI2Ng

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Sunday, 20 Dec 2015 at 10:18am

Nice! Didn't see this at all, but some unbeatable evidence right there!

dennisrider's picture
dennisrider's picture
dennisrider commented Sunday, 20 Dec 2015 at 8:21am

There's no such thing as 'would of' buddy, its would have/could have. Other than the weak comparisons of telephone poles and sheds, the poor writing of the article makes me not want to trust you.

yogii's picture
yogii's picture
yogii commented Saturday, 2 Jan 2016 at 9:18pm

dennisrider wrote: There's no such thing as 'would of' buddy, its would have/could have.

Lol, beautiful sentence criticising grammar:

> It's - not its
> need a comma after 'would of' and buddy - ie 'would of', buddy
> comma after buddy isn't the right choice - fullstop, dash maybe?

Peace's picture
Peace's picture
Peace commented Sunday, 20 Dec 2015 at 9:44am

Craig, swellnet is great and I credit everything you have done. Possibly it has become bigger than you could have ever imagined and possibly it's gone down a path where there are no secret spots anymore. Recently I did a trip when forecasts suggested not much on offer, it was the best 5 days of surfing I had - not epic at all, but no-one frothing around the place. You keep an effort to keep some places secret, why didn't you allow Kelly that same respect. Was it so important to discover someone's secret spot? Surfing, where I come from, is based on secret spots. There's nothing better than the lineup to yourself and maybe one or two others. Of course Kelly's wave pool will be announced "officially" but in his time hey. It's hard to not spill the beans when curiosity overcomes the heart. Peace dudes.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Sunday, 20 Dec 2015 at 9:48am

It's not a secret spot mate. It's not a spot at all, at least how we know surf breaks. It's a flat lake that creates a wave when the owner presses a button. So what do you expect people to do? Fly and drive to Central California, jump a fence and paddle out into a flat lake? C'mon man, get a grip...

howlingplanet-surf-pics's picture
howlingplanet-surf-pics's picture
howlingplanet-s... commented Sunday, 20 Dec 2015 at 2:56pm

It's a business, Kelly Slater Wave Company and that is its first theme park. Sure, MapBox and Google Earth give mug punters (like me) and journos access to an overhead view- which is jumping the gun a bit- but a business seeks mass attention. The article is more buzz for the eventual opening of the park; it may even be quoted. And as for others being onto the location before Craig, so what? Dozens of people could have been doing the same thing independently, at the same time yesterday, scoping which part of the inland was the place.
As for environmental net cost, compare that to a massive skate park. Inland communities deserve access to summer fun sites too, and if free-range surfers want to try the controlled conditions, to complement what's available, then fine. I'm with Rabbit and the others who see this as the start of a long story (see other thread).

Zoooming's picture
Zoooming's picture
Zoooming commented Monday, 21 Dec 2015 at 6:11pm

Re the comment by Peace - "Surfing, where I come from, is based on secret spots. There's nothing better than the lineup to yourself and maybe one or two others".
Oh how that idealistic comment brought a tear to my eye. Surfers have been dreaming like that since day dot and then when "blow-ins" and "touros" happen upon their idyllic scene localism and aggro soon sets in. If you can't get waves to yourself or at least without too much of a crowd you aren't trying hard enough. In this day and age with all the i/net info you have at your disposal it's so much easier to find uncrowded waves. It just involves getting up early and travelling a bit - not just sitting at your local "protected" spot. But then 'real' surfers having been doing that since day dot as well.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain commented Sunday, 20 Dec 2015 at 9:47am

Other than the fact that you are an internet grammar nazi, by referring to the author as 'buddy' and being a first time poster to these forums makes me not want to trust you either.

Ignorance is Zen

Peace's picture
Peace's picture
Peace commented Sunday, 20 Dec 2015 at 10:39am

hi stunet, that would be funny, heaps of people paddling in a flat lake. I'm sure it will happen, now how to turn on that button ...

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Sunday, 20 Dec 2015 at 6:34pm

ATT: Craig Gary Jubelin Brokensha,
I really need to know the Engineering of this wave pool, power supply, pumps etc etc
can you do some research ?

Craig's picture
Craig's picture
Craig commented Sunday, 20 Dec 2015 at 7:54pm

Haha no middle names Udo. 

kndy's picture
kndy's picture
kndy commented Monday, 21 Dec 2015 at 9:40am

I was hoping to get some info. But media who were out there this morning were restricted with these type of shots as the area is fenced out to the public.

indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming's picture
indo-dreaming commented Monday, 21 Dec 2015 at 9:44am

Cool.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Monday, 21 Dec 2015 at 9:58am

Anyone bring a drone?

kndy's picture
kndy's picture
kndy commented Monday, 21 Dec 2015 at 10:11am

According to the neighbors, they have seen people operating drones around the property.

kndy's picture
kndy's picture
kndy commented Monday, 21 Dec 2015 at 9:34am

I was at the location in Lemoore, CA this morning. I was there with another surfing publication. I took photos and interviewed people living in the area, who knew about the top secret project over a year ago, but did not know what was actually happening or who Kelly Slater was.

For those planning to go there, the place is fenced off and there is security during the weekday. Next door is a lake where Wake Boarding competitions take place. Don't drive your vehicle to the side as I saw one got stuck in the mud and had to be towed out.

benski's picture
benski's picture
benski commented Wednesday, 23 Dec 2015 at 8:48am

I'm calling bullshit on kndy.

kndy wrote: I ... interviewed people living in the area, who ... did not know ... who Kelly Slater was.

If you're gonna make stuff up on the internet, at least make it believable

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 23 Dec 2015 at 10:41am

Nah, he was there. Emailed through a bunch of photos to us.

benski's picture
benski's picture
benski commented Wednesday, 23 Dec 2015 at 11:36am

I was just trying to make a joke that surely there's no one anywhere who doesn't know who Slater is. Probably would have helped if the joke was funny.

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 23 Dec 2015 at 11:41am

Whoops! Seems I didn't take my irony pills today.. :D

benski's picture
benski's picture
benski commented Wednesday, 23 Dec 2015 at 12:02pm

Haha. Reckon I could do with a pack of those sometimes!

raku's picture
raku's picture
raku commented Monday, 21 Dec 2015 at 10:05am

I'll volunteer my services for the 18th Ave Back Block surf report. Pretty sure I'll be very accurate! Just need to talk terms. PM me Ben.

DrewKamp's picture
DrewKamp's picture
DrewKamp commented Monday, 21 Dec 2015 at 4:40pm

Isn't there, like, some kinda water thing going' on yonder in California? I mean, like, a drought????? I mean ... ironic!?

TheRealSmack's picture
TheRealSmack's picture
TheRealSmack commented Monday, 21 Dec 2015 at 9:42pm

Its fucking filled with Guiness !$#!

surfbaliguy's picture
surfbaliguy's picture
surfbaliguy commented Monday, 21 Dec 2015 at 11:11pm

I would like to know is this wave lake fresh water or salt water as the dynamics of buoyancy would be totally different to the real ocean.
I think there would be at least 10% less float but could be ideal for PU foam boards Vs Styro - Also the location has very similar temp averages to Melbourne so would need wetties majority of the year - Anyone know of a ski lake near Benalla or Albury thats gone bust? How are the Goldy ski ponds surviving?

mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207's picture
mikehunt207 commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2015 at 1:19am

Funny anybody is worried about blowing Kellys "secret spot" location, how many people's waves did Kelly expose in his career? At least he can control and profit from the flow on.

SrfrHnk's picture
SrfrHnk's picture
SrfrHnk commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2015 at 11:03am

All this secrecy is an effective marketing tool as evidenced by above comments. When Apple's $600B empire can not fully hide details of its next iPhone - and that's a very small product compared to KSWP:) - who would expect location of a wavepool of this magnitude can be kept secret? Anyhow, for those with some speculative drive in you, maybe time to buy some land in that area....

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2015 at 11:41am

He's quite welcome to come and build one on my property. Should have all the bugs ironed out by then and increase the size. All part of the R&D of course. Clean water & warm weather.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2015 at 11:46am

can you throw some barra in the pond too Fitzy?

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Tuesday, 22 Dec 2015 at 11:51am

Guaranteed, need to diversify!

thermalben's picture
thermalben's picture
thermalben commented Wednesday, 23 Dec 2015 at 8:00am

And now SMH have picked up on this story. Front page SMH this morning Craig! That headshot from The Project looks like it's going to last forever.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo commented Wednesday, 23 Dec 2015 at 8:46am

Brutus has a good pic on his insty KS wave pool opening day.

the-roller's picture
the-roller's picture
the-roller commented Wednesday, 23 Dec 2015 at 9:42am

The locations has been sussed. Now, how about the price?

$10 USD per wave.