Heading to the Surf Ranch? Here’s your complete guide to the area surrounding Kelly Slater’s wave pool.
This post is brought to you by The Lemoore Surfing Club.
History of Lemoore
Lemoore was first inhabited by the Tachi tribe thousands of years ago on the shore of the now dried up Tulare Lake. The lake was the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Tulare Lake and the surrounding wetlands was filled with birds, turtles, deer, elk and antelope.
Late 19th century settlers started using the lake water for agriculture and the government dammed up the tributary rivers for irrigation and municipal uses. By the early 20th century, Tulare Lake was almost dry.
In modern day, the dried up lake bed’s fertile soil now makes the Central Valley the most productive agricultural region in the United States. As for the Tachi Tribe, which at one point numbered 70,000 people living off the lake, were given a reservation in 1934 and today is the site of The Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino (more on this later) that was opened in 1983.
How to Get To Lemoore
Lemoore is within striking distance of both San Francisco and Los Angeles. It’s about a 3.5 hour from either city. You take the 5 most of the way and take either the 41 east (from the south) or the 198 east (from the north) for about 45 minutes.
Fresno airport is 37 miles away and there are some flights that go there. There are a couple smaller airports nearby, so if you have a private jet you can land there. Email us if you do, we’ll join the ride.
The Surf Ranch and Surroundings
The first time we drove from San Francisco, Google Maps actually took us past the Surf Ranch, which is located on 18556 Jackson Ave, Lemoore, CA 93245. The first time we laid eyes on it, we were struck by how big the facility is. Also, there is a huge parcel of land to the west that the pool could be the site for future expansion. To the east, is an abandoned golf course that was named The Pheonix Sunrise located on 14868 18th Ave. Kelly Slater bought the adjacent golf course in 2016 and transferred it to the WSL in 2017.
When we went to the Wave Pool, for the Founder’s Cup, it reminded of us of the early days of the Coachella Music Festival. Hot, dusty, a little disorganized, but once we got dropped off at the entrance, and walked about half a mile through a dirt parking lot (I’m sure that will be paved soon) we entered on the north-east side.
The pool is far larger than it looks from pictures and videos. You can barely see who is sitting in the water from the far end of the pool. The jumbo trons are helpful. As a viewing experience, there are definitely kinks to be worked out. The beer lines were outrageously long. No cash accepted. The wifi kicked out while we were getting beers and the whole system went down.
There are definitely kinks to work out but this is just version 1.0. There’s actually another pool on the premises and plans for much more.
The Tachi Palace Casino and Hotel
The Tachi Palace is ground zero for fun in Lemoore (besides the pool). If you can get a room, it’s definitely the best place to stay in Lemoore. Beers are cheap by casino standards at $4 for a Budweiser and you can rub shoulders with the surfing greats playing blackjack. We saw Fanning, Parko, Taylor Steele, Steph Gilmore and Medina all within an hour playing on the tables.
We’ve actually never set foot in a room but judging by the casino, we’d expect clean rooms. Rates for a single room start at $149 for a one night weekday stay and $249 for a weekend. Food options are fairly limited at the Tachi. There is a Pizza Hut, a seafood buffet and The Coyote Grill all within the casino.
As said before, there are shuttles running to The Surf Ranch during large events, otherwise you can Uber from the Tachi. It’s technically within walking distance (2.5 miles) and we did after drinking a couple beers one day. It wasn’t too bad. Just don’t turn east after exiting the Casino grounds. The bartender said there are big, territorial dogs ready to attack.
More to come.
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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 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 draft 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 2000 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!
Buying the Board.
Prepping The Wavestorm
Return Policy at Costco
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.
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.
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.”
Kelly seems to be getting grumpier with age, at least.