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Go Behind the Scenes at the Surf Ranch with Rosy Hodge

3 September 2018

Get an exclusive insight into what the WSL Surf Ranch is like... the wave, the facilities, and more, as told by WSL Commentator Rosy Hodge.

For anyone who’s never been, the WSL Surf Ranch is something of a mystery.Originally Kelly Slater’s brainchild, it’s gone from zero to 100 in a very short time. Remember that first clip, Kelly’s Wave, which revealed the wave pool just two years ago?

Since then it seems every single one of the world’s best surfers has visited Leemore, California, to experience the magic of the Surf Ranch. There was the Founder’s Cup... and now, in just a few weeks, the first World Tour event is about to go down.

Its progress has been incredible, and the facilities around it have grown just as exponentially. We caught up with Rosy Hodge to ask what it’s like at the WSL Surf Ranch now... the wave, the water, the facilities, and everything in between. Read on as she dishes the secrets of the Surf Ranch...

When was the first time you went to the Surf Ranch, and what were your very first thoughts?
My first time to the Surf Ranch was last yearin September for the Future Classic. I was in awe. Behind the wooden compound fence is an oasis with a perfect wave. Ittook me a while to process the whole place.

What is it like to surf a wave there?
It’s extremely nerve wracking! You don’t want to blow the opportunity and while you wait for the wave you are going through a checklist of... is my wax sticky? Is my leash in the right place, so it won’t tangle with my feet? Is this a right or a left? Eventually you start paddling and second nature kicks in –that’s when you finally stop over-thinking everything

Is the water warm or cold? Does it feel like ocean water?
Every time I’ve been in the water it’s been warm – a cool warmth, which is refreshing because it is so hot out there. It’s not salty so it’s less buoyant, and it’s a murky green colour.

Tell us about the town of Leemore, where the wave pool is located. What's out there?
Haha, not much! But the people are always super friendly. It’s in the middle of farmland 100 miles from the coast, so it’s a very different vibe from what you are used to at the beach.

And what are the facilities at the Surf Ranch like?
Everything has been so well thought out. There is a surfers lounge and a locker room with big screens to watch the wave, fitted with air conditioning, snacks and refreshments. The walls are lined with photos time-lining the Surf Ranch existence, featuring iconic moments of legends experiencing the wave. Oh, and some of Kelly’s World Title trophies!

Meals are served on a big covered patio that leads to the wave system, a boat ramp and a Jacuzzi. The staff are super friendly and they are all badass water people.

The sides of the wave system are about three football fields long, lined with beautiful trees for shade on each side. The control room is at the halfway mark, and this has the best view of both waves. The other end is the mechanical side and on the opposite side you can watch the right peel towards you. There is a little venue there to watch live music.

So it’s a full compound?
I would say it’s a compound that they can turn into an arena for events. When the contest isn’t on, the big screens along the side of the pool are gone along with all the scaffold seating.

What was the crowd like at Founder's Cup? Will it be the same for the Surf Ranch Pro?
Founders Cup was crazy! There were a lot of people there and it had a festival atmosphere with both music and the event happening alongside each other. I’m hoping it’s the same for the same for the Surf Ranch Pro.

And, it's pretty hot out there in the California summer! How do you stay cool?
That’s the truth, it’s super hot and dry. I’m constantly drinking water and trying to find shade. I’m thankful for the ease of a super light and breathable cover up from Rip Curl, and if I’m not in the mood for a kimono then I will wear a lightweight Rip Curl sundress!


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