California’s agricultural epicenter is just about the last place you’d expect to find the world’s most elite surfers. But 11-time world champion Kelly Slater has flipped the small town of Lemoore in California’s Kings County—best known for producing crops such as grapes and almonds—into the most unexpected destination for one of the West’s most iconic sports.
Surf Ranch, started by Slater and owned by the World Surf League, is a 20-acre engineered surf town of sorts, and includes a massive, sustainably powered wave basin. “The wave is the world’s longest rippable, open-barrel manmade wave,” says Amy Denman, WSL communications manager. “It is truly extraordinary and something that needs to be seen to be believed. The system can generate various waves, from beginner waves to high-performance waves.”
It was also vital to Slater and the WSL that the Ranch embrace a sustainable ethos that extended from construction to day-to-day operations, including clean and renewable energy, waste management, water conservation, and carbon offsetting, says Denman. For example, it was built with sustainable materials, including the crushed-shell roadways and paving stones made from upcycled foam dust—a waste product of surfboard manufacturing—in partnership with Firewire Surfboards. And single-use plastics? You won’t find any here.
Those tenets also translated to the design of the commu