In a couple of decades, there will be a generation of ripping surfers that learned everything they know in a surf park.
How wild is that?
Above, you’ll watch a group of young South Korean groms ride their first waves at Wave Park. A controlled environment like South Korea’s Wavegarden Cove is the perfect place to learn. Soft, rolling whitewater on demand provides a non-threatening introduction to surfing. Wave Park is a spreading the stoke of surfing, and that’s undoubtedly a beautiful thing.
But, what happens if these same surfers never leave the pool? If they learn how to get tubed, lay rail and stick full rotation airs at Wave Park, but never try their hand at surfing in the ocean? It’s an interesting question, and one we’ll likely have an answer for decades down the line. As we all know, riding a wave is one thing, but surfing — learning to duck-dive, read the ocean, read swell charts, and move around in a lineup — is another thing entirely.
In South Korea there’s an ocean, and so these groms will likely take their newly learned skills there. But what about surfers that learn in surf parks in middle America? Will they ever leave?
Only time will tell.