Ponds And Progression.
By Dan Dobbin.
At the risk of flogging a dead horse, we spoke to four riders who have experienced first hand the possibilities and limitations offered by wave pools, and asked them for their thoughts on the role these facilities may have in inspiring future aerial innovation.
I think there’s still countless possibilities to explore. Wave pool technology provides the kind of repetition that aides greatly to innovation and testing new moves. Combinations of rotations, doubles, and new rotations all together become a bit more practical when you’re provided the same air bowl over and over. The only issue with what is currently available would be the size of the waves in pools. You’re only able to rotate a certain amount on a wave that size.
I think that keeping an open mind at all times during a session, whether in a wave pool or real wave, is so important. If you’re working on something new that you believe is functional, give it a few tries before you either write it off as impossible, or just accept that theres no other way to do it. Wave size is going to become an issue, if the wave is too small you’re only going to have so much time in the air to rotate.
In my opinion, the ideal wave size for innovation is somewhere around the 6 foot range. Enough size to give you a solid amount of air time if the wave is punchy enough, and not so big that you risk causing too much bodily harm if you land wrong or have to bail.
I recently saw a thread on a certain Facebook group, I’m sure you know the one, talking about how the backflip is such a gross and dysfunctional move. One person even went as far as to say that it was the worst thing to happen to Bodyboarding. I couldn’t believe it!
In my opinion, a well executed backflip is one of the most elegant moves you can do. Sure, I agree that it’s not all one should focus on, but it’s a very important move to have in your tool belt. It teaches you different ways to approach sections, and helps give one better spatial awareness of being upside down in the air. That kind of mentality could seriously hinder the progression of bodyboarding.
New moves don’t just happen overnight, it takes someone having an open mind towards what is possible. It likely doesn’t work out right away. The roll or forward spin weren’t perfected in one session, so we shouldn’t expect something new to just happen without a bit of trial and error.
Next time you’re having a good session, rather than just do the same thing you’ve done on the last 3 waves, mix it up a bit, go for something crazy. It might just work out better than you thought.
I think there’s more opportunity to create new moves. Maybe not rotations, but I can see combining two air maneuvers into one becoming a thing, but you never know. With the help of wave pool technology, I think it will definitely help create those maneuvers, given a consistent bowl every time to keep attempting your desired move, but just a liiiittle more size would be very helpful for sure.
I didn’t try anything new in Waco because I just wanted get some proper clips & not really waste any of my waves trying to figure out something new, but I saw tanner attempt a double ars as well as a loop to roll. I can see moves like those being stitched together & used in the ocean 100%.
I think it’s possible for new rotations, what those new rotations are I can’t exactly pinpoint at the moment. I do believe that its possible riders will be doing 900s, 1080s, double gainers etc and it becoming more like gymnastics.
The reason I say that is when I spoke with the gentleman running the wave machine he stated that they can make the wave much bigger, 15ft plus but it needs a lot more water and it’s extremely expensive to create energy for that size of a wave. Overall the sky appears to be the limit ( but I guess there’s a limit to that at some point?)
I personally think wave pools offer a new world of possibilities to become comfortable doing exotic moves, (gainers for example as done by Tanner during our last trip), hone your skills doing classic moves, (revos and so on) and to an extent, try new moves. The consistency of the sections is something magical to achieve those goals, but it also has its downsides.
To invent new moves and push the limit, physics comes into play.
At BSR, the wave in its current setup might not be big enough or push you fast enough to give you the time to spin around twice or flip more than once. In addition, the bottom being made from concrete introduces a real risk factor. Trying to push the limits of what can currently be done can have high consequences there.
If a new wave pool gets built that offers bigger waves and launches you at greater speed, I believe that the limits of what has been done in the ocean could be matched and even pushed.
But in a sense, these artificial waves might create false expectations and what gets done in the pools might never be then repeated in the ocean.
The repeatability of a section creates a form of comfort (approaching the same section over and over adds a sense of safety that does not exist in the ocean since each wave has its own unique flavor). In a wave pool, a ramp is hit in a very calculated and expected way which will eventually become an instinctive reaction. I think about this like how a freestyle skier that will learn new moves and how to react in the air before hitting the lip of a jump. This is a good way to eliminate risks and be able to land big new moves.
To me, BSR is a great way to feel more comfortable doing what I know or improve on the moves where I lack practice (because I cannot always find the perfect ramps for those moves at my local break).
It will never replace the ocean but they can be used as a great tool to improve our sport.