Kelly Slater showcases the perfect wave in Lemoore

LEMOORE, Calif. (KFSN) -- When the doors to Surf Ranch open and you see the first wave at the World Surf League's Surf Ranch in Lemoore, the experience is unlike any other.

Just ask the world's best.

"I was just looking at it screaming," world team captain Jordy Smith said. "I couldn't believe it. It's something I dreamt about my entire life as a kid."

The Surf Ranch is more than 100 miles from the nearest beach but it's creating a buzz felt around the world.

"It sort of strikes something in your imagination, something you sort of dream about: a perfect wave over and over," Kelly Slater said at Friday's media day ahead of the inaugural Founder's Cup.

It's a first of its kind team competition that's bringing the world's best to a place, they never thought they'd come.

"You get all these strange farm smells and it's kind of like where are we going?" Australia team captain Stephenie Gilmore remembers from her first time to the ranch.

Smith had a similar experience. "I kept turning to my wife, 'Babe are you sure we're in the right place? Are you sure we haven't taken a wrong turn?'"

As for why Slater decided to build it in Lemoore, of all places, he said the cheapness of land and the 'out of way' nature of the ranch made it a perfect fit. "Also for a little bit of privacy," Slater added at Friday's press conference. "We didn't do it for that purpose but it was a nice little by-product of having it here."

While this week is the first time the Surf Ranch has been opened to the public on such a big scale, Slater feels it won't be the last. "I don't foresee a day where we open the doors and say 'Whoever shows up come on in' but that being said I want to get as many people through the doors as possible. If we can get more and more people from the local area in here to experience it, at least to see it, I'd love to have that happen."

The excitement of that possibility not lost on this weekend's surfers. "I'll never forget that call up when Kelly said 'Hey do you want to come to the wave pool?' Just one of my most favorite moments of my life probably," Gilmore recalled.

Bringing Lemoore, California its own taste of an endless summer.

Round 1 of the Founders' Cup begins at 9 AM on Saturday, May 5. General admission tickets are sold out but select tickets are still available for Sunday's championship rounds.
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