Waking up to the world’s newest wavepool in waco, texas – surfline electricity lessons for 5th grade

Even if you had been able to escape the clutches of the game-changing, foundation-shaking, media-devouring Founders’ Cup of Surfing this weekend — you would’ve swam right into another social media bloodbath stirred by the newest beast in the manmade surfing food chain.

We know what it’s called: The BSR Surf Resort. We also know how much it costs: $60/hour. We know who built it ( American Wave Machines). We know who bought it ( Barefoot Ski Ranch), and we do know who rode it (Jamie O’Brien and Cheyne Magnusson and Seth Moniz and the list is growing). “Texas is perfect 360 days of the year… 3 wave sets all day long!” JOB revealed on Instagram, while Cheyne got a little more cheeky: “The other wave though (smiley face with a cowboy hat emoji).”

Cheyne Magnusson: Stuart Parsons, the guy who owns BSR (Barefoot Ski Ranch), is a barefoot waterskier who bought this 500-acre ranch and put in a manmade lake. It’s the best barefoot ski lake in the world, and where they hold the World Championships. Eventually he met a wakeboarder who said he should add a cable park, that they’re the next big thing, so he put that in. Then, in true Texas fashion, he put in a giant waterslide, and after having every other water sport, he got interested in wave parks. He started researching them and was gonna go with a WaveGarden, but Austin had already beaten him to it. Their contracts said no one else could open one up within a specific-mile radius, and he was within that, so he had to go explore other options. That led him to American Wave Machines, and myself.

A couple different roles, interestingly enough. I’d been working with AWM as a surf ambassador and trying to help them with marketing efforts — not just “PerfectSwell,” which is what this wave is, the traveling-wave tech; but also their standing-wave product, “SurfStream.” I was in the meeting to sell it to Stuart, he bought it, then six months later he called me up and said, “Hey, I don’t know anything about surfing, like, at all. I’ve never surfed in the ocean, and I know you know the technology. I need help opening this up, running it, and figuring the whole thing out from A to Z. Would you be willing to move out here and do it?” I told him, “I’m sold, you don’t have to convince me. You have to convince my wife.” [Laughs.]

Dude, I was stressing out at first. I was losing sleep for two months straight, because I moved out here on March 1st and was looking at dirt and a hole in the ground and this big concrete wall. I was like, “Did I just make the worst decision of my life and now I’m stuck here?” To be honest, I lost hope for awhile, but it finally happened. So I live on the ranch now. It’s just on the outskirts of Waco, like ten minutes from downtown. Stuart is also a rancher, so you drive around and there’s wildlife running all over the place: white-tailed deer, axis deer, black buck… And it’s a crazy little community within itself — this weird watersports oasis. It’s really hard to put into words, so I’ve stopped trying. I just tell people, “You’ve gotta come out here, it’s a trip!”

Look, I wanna be as transparent as possible with all this stuff, because some people are reading into it and thinking we’re entering this weird Space Race, like the Russians vs. the Americans or something. Like we’re trying to upstage someone. Let’s be honest: there is no upstaging Kelly’s wave, which is a long, perfect barrel, like J-Bay and Kirra had a kid. That’s not our wave. Our wave isn’t that long, and it’s totally different, just like there’s different breaks in the ocean. We had a very long discussion before we posted it, but started our back-and-forth online a little quicker than we expected [laughs]. We literally filmed all those empty wave shots the day before the contest. That’s just how the timing lined up: We had control over the pool, we had Jamie O’Brien in town and we had all our filmers here. And since people were already talking about wavepools, and watching the first live broadcast of a pro event online, why wouldn’t we put it out there? We just thought it was a good opportunity to throw up a couple empties and see what happens.

Two weeks ago, we filled up the pool a little less than halfway and tested it at half-size. And it was awesome! You could get a little right, do two or three turns, and kinda fit in the barrel if it bowled up enough. But that was only at waist to chest-high. Then, five days ago, they filled it all the way up and we rode it for 48 hours straight. It definitely got bigger. I’d say those clips of the empties we posted are chest to head-high, the third wave being a little overhead on the takeoff, which is what happens in succession with the set. The first wave displaces so much water in the pool that the second one breaks further out, and the further you go in a set the further out that it breaks.

Exactly, it draws water. That’s what sets this system apart. Water sucks back in the chamber and creates, well, the engineers call it “cylindrical particle motion,” but that’s basically a fancy way of saying “the wave sucks up.” The cool thing is, what we’ve seen and what we’re riding is actually only three or four phases of what the wave could be. There’s hundreds that we haven’t tried yet, we just haven’t programmed in the different sequencing to do so. But we’re not restricted to just adjusting the speed and the water level to change the wave; we’re changing the chambers and the order they fire to create different kinds of waves. Once again, it’s not supposed to be compared to Kelly’s wave, and it might not be good for a team format like the Founders’ Cup. It might be more interesting for an air show.

Dude, we made one of the best air sections I’ve ever seen! It’s like Cobbles in West Oz, it’s mind-blowing. You take off, you line it up, you wait, and you get the biggest ramp of your life. I might get in trouble for telling you this, but Jamie hadn’t done airs in five years, and he did like 20 airs in a row, just losing his mind. I thought I was watching Freak Show from back in the day, vintage JOB just lofting! And that got me thinking: here we are, two mid-30 guys, having so much fun lofting airs. What would guys like Filipe, Mason, Meola or Albee do off that section? Like, early on, I lofted a pretty high one, didn’t make it and asked Jamie, “Should we just quit?” He was like, “No, no, just keep going until you stick it.” And just like being at a quarter-pipe learning a new trick, I finally did. It really brought that skate atmosphere. You’re not having to wait for the next set. You just keep going until you’re feeling it, until you pull it.

It’s not Kelly’s tube, but you can get tubed. And you can do big turns on it. And you have that air section. And you can get two guys riding waves in every set. We’re ironing it out now, tightening everything up, but from a guy who’s surfed a lot of waves, I can tell you it’s really fun, man. It’s like a little Rincon cove section with a V-Land takeoff — yeah, one of those waves — and that’s just the peeling version of it. There’s still more to come. We just have to get in there, do a lot of trial-and-error, and really get our hands dirty. But once again, I really wanna stress that we’re not trying to steal thunder from the Wave Ranch. The World Tour would be pretty boring if all 12 stops were at J-Bay, so we just took a note out of Kelly’s playbook. We’re just trying to keep the conversation growing, and adding to it.