Pro surfers compete for world title at WSL Freshwater Pro in Lemoore

LEMOORE, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Freshwater Pro surfing event, part of the World Surf League Championship, opened to the public on Friday.

For one Clovis family, it was an opportunity to watch the world's best surfers catch the perfect wave.

Not on TV, not on the coast, but close to home at the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch near Lemoore.

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"So it's just rare and it's great that it's in our backyard," Kevin Boam and his kids have VIP tickets, so they'll be back on Saturday-when the event opens to general admission ticket holders.

"There's definitely a lot of surf culture here, but you know it's great, it has that little mix-they try to intermingle the farming and agricultural influence of the Valley into it," Boam said.

When you're at the Surf Ranch, you don't feel like you're surrounded by Kings County farmland.

But from fast facts about water to a classic red tractor, there are reminders that you are in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley.
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And on Friday, the Valley provided perfect weather for spectators in the VIP area.
"Again it's so funny when you come up here as a surfer. At first, it felt like, OK, are we out of place? But now it just feels like everyone's really opened up to the community. And it's been a lot of fun. I think the energy and excitement that this place brings, I think the community loves it," said surfer Pat O'Connell.

Between chasing a world championship and qualifying for next year's Olympic games, World Surf League's Pat O' Connell says there's a lot at stake for surfers competing at the Freshwater Pro, including Caroline Marks, who in 2017 became the youngest surfer ever to qualify for a World Surf League Championship Tour.

She said she's excited to be back at the Surf Ranch this year.

"Yeah I like Lemoore, you know, I'm embracing it, all the cows, the smells, and everything. But it's so sick to have an event here. The wave pool event is one of my favorite events all year, so I'm just having fun," Marks said.

The fun will continue on Saturday, with finals taking place in the afternoon, and winners announced in the evening.

After the winners are named Saturday night, the Raconteurs, featuring Jack White, will put on a concert for everyone who has a ticket.
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