Then, in early May, Slater christened the wave by inviting surf royalty -- including two women's world champs, pro surfer Nat Young and a few WSL executives -- to experience his creation first hand. Their euphoric reactions said it all: Not only does this wave look good, it rides like the real deal -- if not better.
Now that the WSL is backing Slater's "freak of technology," it could revolutionize the sport entirely, make surfing accessible to the masses and giving the entire industry a much-needed boost.
"We do believe that all stakeholders -- athletes, fans, broadcast and corporate partners -- will be super energized by the advent of Championship Tour-level competition with man-made waves," Speaker said in a release.
But two groups -- broadcasters and corporate partners -- clearly stand to benefit the most. Broadcasters will relish the fact that competitions would no longer be dependent on wave or swell conditions, making them more predictable and easier for live TV, while sponsors would enjoy reaching new markets and audiences that were, geographically speaking, cut off from surfing before.
The acquisition also sets WSL up to "bring surfing to regions of the country and the world that may not be near a coastline, introducing millions of new fans to the sport," Patty Smith, WSL's senior vice president, told The Huffington Post. "It's early days yet, but we are excited about the possibilities."
The surfers, of course, also stand to benefit from the increased exposure. If, for instance, the WSL can successfully introduce artificial waves into championship events, it could be the component officials need to finally include surfing in the Olympics.