How Much Energy Does 1 Wave at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch Cost?

For now, only a select few have been able to ride the wave pool. Sure, the wave is perfect. But how much would the common person expect to pay to ride it?


One factor to the overall price of the Surf Ranch is going to be electricity. I sought out to find exactly how much energy it takes to make one wave, and then turn that into a dollar amount. I got help from my physics-wiz friend and we did a rough calculation. If anybody see’s anything wrong with the math, feel free to chime in.

Before we get into the physics. If you want a Lemoore Surfing Club hat. Click Here.

The energy of the wave machine all comes from pushing the hydrofoil through the water. That’s it. The waves themselves are an after effect of the moving hydrofoil paired with a carefully shaped pool bottom.

How much energy does it take to push the hydrofoil the length of the pool? We can think of that energy as the work done to push the hydrofoil the length of the pool.

Work (W) is equal to a constant force (F) multiplied by the distance (D) overwhich the force is applied.

W = F x D

The engine must deliver a force that exactly counters the force of the drag from the water on the hydrofoil. The magnitude of the F-engine must be equal to the F-drag. Thus the work we’re interested in is: W=Fdrag x D

Fluid dynamics are complicated. Simplifying we can assume the draf were dealing with is summed up in this equations.

Fdrag – 1/2pv^2CA. Where P is the density of water. V is the velocity of the foil, C is the drag co-efficient (a number that depends on the shape of the foil) and A is the cross sectional area of the foil.

This is where things get murky. While we know the density of water and the speed of the hydrofoil we don’t know it’s shape and size. I assume its cross sectional area is around one meter squared. I’d assume our value for C is something between .5 and 1. We’ll go with .7.

From this we can get the work i.e the energy in joules. [Note: 18 mph = 8 m/s and 200 ft = 600m]


W = Fdrag xD = 1/2pv2CAd

W = 1/2 (1000kg/m^2)(8m/s)^2(.7)(1m^2)(600m)

W = 13,440,000 Joules.

W = 3.7 kWh —-> Energy to push hydrofoil the length of the pool.

The motor won’t be perfectly efficient at turning the electrical energy it’s given into the mechanical energy of the moving hydrofoil. If we assume an efficiency of 50%, we need to supply the motor with 7.4 kWh of energy to make one wave.

Interestingly, 18556 Jackson Ave in Lemoore California was permitted as a single family home and not on an industrial rate plan. This may have changed. Let’s assume the electricity costs are 15cents/kWh.

Thus the cost of one wave is 15 cents / kWh x 7.4 kWH = 111 cents = $1.11.

After all the approximating we’ve done I feel like it could be anywhere from $1.11 to $20.

This seems very low. Let us know if you see anything wrong with our math!







Wavestorm 101: Buying, Prepping, Care, Returns, Etc.

Listen up kids, here’s everything you need to know about buying a Wavestorm, prepping, installation, care, return policy, etc. Just don’t ask me how to surf the thing, kook.
Jamie O, Backdoor. Photo: Baesman

Buying the Board.

How do you buy a Wavestorm? You have three options.
1. Go to Costco.
Get a Costco membership card ($60/year) Ravage the samples. Get a chicken bake. Check out the flat screen TVs. Proceed to the “water sports section” and pick out your $99 Wavestorm. Don’t even think about the SUP or little fish thingy. Put it in a shopping cart, or under your arm and proceed to throw shakas all the way to the line. Don’t have a Costco card? You can either “Hey Mister” a unsuspecting shopper in the parking lot, or try option 2.
You Like Try Sample?
2. Buy one on Craigslist/Ebay/The Darkweb
I once found a mint condition early model Wavestorm that was a package deal with a box of tackle for $40. Deals are out there. Lots of people will put up brand new Wavestorms on Craigslist for around $150, preying on the unfortunate who do not have a Costco Membership. I’ve gone this route before. The downside to buying a board on the internet is that you can not take advantage of the epic return policy.  There’s also the chance of getting murdered by a craigslist rando in an Arby’s parking lot.
#3 Buy One from Amazon or
This is not a recommended option. Expensive and not sure if you can exchange if it breaks. But if you want it, you can go the Amazon route or the Wavestorm official route. Looks like Amazon is cheaper.

Prepping The Wavestorm

Once you get that sucker home, unwrap the laminate and breathe deep. That’s the smell of questionable Chinese labor practices and environmental destruction. Cherish it. Use a knife to cut through where they keep the fins and the leash. Throw away the leash (they are for dogs). I’m not kidding, take the lid off the can and dump the ankle choker.
Leashes on a soft top? Who needs them?
Install the fins. This should be simple enough. Want to try something different? Try a twin fin setup from Fang Surf Fins. or single fin from The Perfect Storm. Hell, leave them out and go for a finless spin!
To wax or not to wax, young grasshopper? I do a couple diagonal strokes of wax just to rough it up and then rub some sand on it. I don’t wax the Wavestorm regularly, it doesn’t really need it after the slippery coat of Chinese slime and factory workers tears whisk away into the ocean. Cherish that too.
Chinese Factory

Return Policy at Costco

I recently took a 14 month old snapped-in-half Wavestorm to Costco, waited in the return line, fully expecting that they would not take this sunbeaten, waterlogged board. I waited for about 10 minutes, got to the front of the line and the Costco employee said “What happened? Shark bite?” I said yes, what is your return policy? She said they accepted returns within “a reasonable  amount of time.”
I thought I was screwed, I asked if over a year is a reasonable amount and she agreed it was, And asked if I wanted debit or cash. I took the cash and went right back to the aisle and grabbed myself a new stick. So, the return policy is very lenient. Don’t abuse it though or you will ruin it for the rest of us.
Photo: Chris Nomad


At this point if you haven’t packed your purse, buckled up in the drivers side of your 4 seater, and punched Costco into Google maps already, it’s not likely you have a pulse (in which case, get yourself seen by some medical attention). Happy surfboarding kiddos!

Banquets Need to Go

The WSL is no longer of punk rock, nor has it been for some time, but after last night’s party held for Mick Fanning at the Torquay retirement home banquet hall, it is certain.

The retirement party, which was live-streamed and instagrammed by most people in attendance, was a not-so-subtle reminder of the days when Wardo and AI and Bruce and, hell, Eugene were on tour and the atmosphere felt more like a dystopian battle royale than a friendly get-together before an afternoon nap.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 11.05.00 AM.png

I’m not sure what the solution is, but I, along with many others, would love a nice shot of adrenaline and (disregard for) life to be shoved into the flimsy arm of the World Surf League.  Perhaps I am more a fan of Brazilian surfing than I initially thought.

I’ll take white-walker Felipe charging the judges’ tent or Medina dropping in on everyone within sight because he’s in a bad mood over this lesbian haircut tea party that the WSL has become.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 11.04.22 AM.png

Where is the grit?  Where are the fights?  Where’s the tequila?

As in any sport, there comes a time when the torch is passed — it’s inevitable.  However, it’s much nicer when it happens willingly and doesn’t become a necessity.  I fear we are teetering on that very thin line.

It’s like Batman says, “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 11.05.20 AM.png

Kelly seems to be getting grumpier with age, at least.



The SAGA of Boy Wonder Begins

I’m not one to toot horns, but I think I’ll make an exception here.  I called this, and I did so early.   Toot.  

Griffin “Boy Wonder” Colapinto took to the lineup donning Gretzky’s #99, and then in ‘Great One’ fashion proceeded to dominate the competition, culminating in his defeating World Champion Joel Parkinson.  The kid appears to be on a mission to ditch the Robin tights in favor of the black mask of Gotham.

Mar-14-2018 09-39-18.gif

Screen Shot 2018-03-09 at 9.58.45 AM

Mar-14-2018 09-45-10.gif

He surfs next against Kanoa Igarashi and our very own Prince Charming, Julian Wilson, who was looking rather prince-like the other day as he exited the lineup.

Mar-14-2018 09-51-10.gif

Will Prince Charming slay the dragon and save the damsel in distress or will it be Boy Wonder and his late drop acrobatics that rule the day.  Stay tuned.