That’s Bullsh*t!

posted by / News / August 22, 2008

Editor’s Note: If you don’t know new SURFING associate photo editor {{{Jimmy}}} “Jimmicane” Wilson, you will soon. The former ESM Photo Editor is a good surfer, a great photographer, a Jacksonville Jaguars superfan and, above all else, a tempest of passionate opinions. He has so many opinions, in fact, that we’re giving him his own column on surfingmagazine.com appropriately entitled, “That’s Bullshit.” This time around, upon hearing that the Ron Jon Surfpark has been indefinitely delayed (read: dead in the water), he couldn’t hold back.

Wavepools. At one point just the word would make any surfer from a shit-for-waves place shiver with joy. Imagine never having to worry about the wave forecast because you know that you can surf fun waves anytime you want to. You can work on your tube riding, your airs, your gouges, or anything you feel like perfecting, whenever you felt like it. Sure you’d still want to surf the real waves in the ocean anytime they were good, but it would sure make staring in the face of a Florida summer a whole lot less frightening.

The Ron Jon Surfpark looked like the real deal from the start. A solid financial backing, a hip new website with digital previews that made it look like Pipeline was about to come to Orlando. The hype was real; unfortunately nothing else was.

When I got the call to come shoot photos of the first surf in the new pool with {{{CJ}}} Hobgood and Lopez brothers I was ecstatic! I thought I was about to shoot an important moment in surfing history. Then there were some problems and the session was delayed. Instead it ended up being Aaron Cormican, Alek Parker and Evan Geiselman as the first surfers to try the pool out. As soon as we pulled up to the place I knew it wasn’t going to work, but I still had a little bit of hope until I watched the first waves pump out. {{{100}}}-pound Evan Geiselman struggled to work the knee high dribbler into the inside and almost managed to fit in a little whitewater climb at the end before beaching himself on a shitty metal grill.

“How could this happen?” I thought to myself. I know it was only the kiddie pool, but the whole layout was just wack. Apparently the dudes who created this thing had no idea how to surf. The pool was only about 15- 20 yards wide and got narrower from there. Anyone who surfs understands that you don’t ride waves going straight in. They have standing waves for that. You ride waves going down the line horizontally. That’s how you get speed. Ever check out how far the distance you travel is on a wave? Even on shitty days at beachbreaks it’s a whole lot more than 15 yards across.

So the thing was doomed right there. What about the “six waves per minute!” claim they threw out? Well, that’s great in theory but the problem with that is as soon as one little ripple pops out of the machine, it chops the hell out of the surface from bouncing off the walls. So 10 seconds later when the next waves dumps out it’s like surfing in a washing machine, and each wave after that just becomes progressively worse.

What about the ever changing bottom they claimed could morph the pool from a fun rampy beachbreak and turn it into a heaving Teahupoo-esque pit? Haha! Hilarious! They tried changing the bottom when I was there and I honest-to-god could not tell the difference from what was being produced before. All I saw was when they pumped up the pool to full power it would turn into a waist high, suck-up, closeout that even Cormican couldn’t make the drop on.

So there you have it. Not only do we have the Orlando Surfpark to thank for getting out hopes up, we also can thank them for stunting any future development on wavepools around the world for the next decade because I guarantee you investors have taken note of this hideous failure. They took top-notch technology and millions of dollars to create a contraption that is easily shown up by neighbor Typhoon Lagoon’s wave pool, which wasn’t even built specifically for surfing and was constructed in 1989!

Now they have finally officially shut the Ron Jon Surf Parks project down until further notice, and all I can really do is laugh about it because I could have told them it was doomed from the start.

Now that’s bullshit!

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