Kelly’s Pool Board
There were some heroic ocean swells ridden in 2018 but it will also be remembered for the WSL’s much hyped debut in manmade waves. While the Surf Ranch event had its fair share of passionate detractors it was still an intriguing glimpse into the not-too-distant future.
There are a bunch of wave pools under construction currently and they all claim to be better than Kelly’s tub. What this brave new world will mean for surfboards is not yet clear but if you’re looking for clues – Kelly Slater seems a good place to start. No elite surfer has put in more time surfing mechanical waves than the Surf Ranch proprietor.
According to Firewire’s Global Marketing Manager Travis Lee, Slats has tried loads of different boards at the Ranch and thus far hasn’t deviated greatly with his equipment. “Right now, he doesn’t have a separate board for the pool. Before his injury he had been riding 5’10” round pins in competition, but for the Surf Ranch event he dropped down an inch.
He just really noticed how much more reactive the board felt in the pocket with an inch less length.” Want specifics? “The board he rode to a thirdplace finish at the Surf Ranch was a 5’9 x 18 13/8 x 2 5/16 25.9 litre shaped by Dan Mann. We call it the FRK1.
The EPS blank is Firewire tech, (an LFT build), glassed with epoxy resin, carbon layups top and bottom to control the flex, and the board is Ecocertified. Not to mention it’s about three years old. It took him almost two years to ride it, as he had it stuffed in the back of his shed behind some other boards, but now he can’t get off it. It’s become his ‘old faithful’.”
Vintage Kelly Slater making his board look like an extension of his body at his WCT pool party. Inset: Kelly using the ‘Mad Wax’ for the Dan Mann shape, which delivered him a third place in the Surf Ranch Pro.