'Surf Ranch' in Lemoore set to host first major surfing competition

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- What happens when you don't have a beach nearby? Well, you bring the ocean to you.

That's what the designers behind the Surf Ranch in Lemoore did.

Today it is bringing pro surfers from all over the world to the Central Valley to compete against each other.

A gnarley man-made body of water that mimics the movement of the ocean.

Needless to say, it has become extremely popular with the pro surfing community.

"Nothing else like it in the world," said Surf Ranch General Manager Sam Ramirez. "When we can come out here, and create the perfect wave, and push every single time a special wave for our surfers to get on, it just really creates a consistent environment to compete against."

This one of a kind high-tech wave pool is the brainchild of the sport's biggest name, Kelly Slater.

The living legend helped bring the Surf Ranch to Lemoore three years ago.

For the first time this weekend, the public will get a look inside the 140-acre compound for the Founders Cup of Surfing, a nationally televised competition that will feature the best surfers in the world.

"At the end of the day this is about an opportunity to bring surfing to people who wouldn't otherwise experience it, and to be able to bring it right here, and allow people to see what it's about, and to embrace the sport, and see how much fun it can be," Ramirez said. "It is going to grow the fan base; it is going to grow people who are interested in surfing."

To give you a perspective of just how massive the Surf Ranch is: the pool contains 15 million gallons of water and measures 2,000 feet in length, that's about seven football fields.

The pool allows surfers to ride a wave for 45 seconds each and every time. That's more than double the length of anything you'd find in the ocean.

"The only disadvantage this place has is that it's not available to everyone," said pro surfer Bianca Buitendag of South Africa.

"We never had this arena feeling before, we always had the beach vibe, everyone is on the beach hanging out, but this is like everyone is there just to see you, like all eyes are on you, and this is something we dreamed about growing up," said Kanoa Igarashi of Team Japan.

A crowd of 5,000 is expected to attend the two-day event with a limited number of tickets for Sunday still available.
Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.