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Last summer I wrote about William Finnegan’s surfing memoir Barbarian Days in an essay that, as David Pinsen pointed out, I should have named “Finnegans Wave”. Finnegan has a new piece in The New Yorker about the artificial wave pool that the world’s greatest surfer Kelly Slater and USC engineering professor Adam Fincham have built in the middle of California’s Central Valley farmlands.

Surfers spend a vast amount of time looking for waves without catching any good ones, so lots of money has been spent over the years trying to bring waves to the public. But the math of getting artificial waves right turned out to be complex. This new wave pool is a major step forward.

Kelly Slater’s Shock Wave

The best surfer in history made a machine that creates perfect conditions on demand. Will his invention democratize surfing or despoil it?

By William Finnegan

… The idea of the perfect wave has been around surfing since I was a kid. “The Endless Summer,” a documentary by Bruce Brown, released in 1966, follows two California surfers circling the globe with boards. They find “the perfect wave” in South Africa, at Cape St. Francis. The holy grail in this case was a small, groomed, exquisite wave, peeling just off the rocks, and Brown assured us that, according to local fishermen, it broke like that three hundred days a year.

As narrator, Brown laments the countless perfect waves that had gone unridden before they arrived.

In fact, it seemed to break like that for the ninety minutes that Brown was filming, and then the tide came up, or the wind shifted; waves of that quality have never again been seen at Cape St. Francis. Breaking waves in the ocean are fleeting, complex events, each one unique. There are great surf spots, to be sure, but there is no such thing in nature as a perfect wave.

That said, the wave in the “Kelly’s Wave” video looked objectively flawless. Too much so, actually, Slater and his team decided; they rebuilt the wave immediately after the video’s release. “We realized it was just too much of a perfect barrel the whole time,” Slater told me. “We wanted to make it to where you could do some turns and kind of shred the thing, instead of just sit in the tube.” This, I thought, was a new type of problem. …

I thought of the vaulting ambition to create a perfect wave in Faustian terms—a pact with the Devil, sealed with a drop of blood. But Slater’s early sketches of the ranch were more like renderings for a high-end planned community, with the pool playing the role of the golf course. Slater is in fact an enthusiastic golfer (three handicap). “The idea was, how do you pay for these things?” he told me. He mentioned the possibility of private memberships. So much for Goethe.

Surfing, golf, and skiing all have a fair amount in common in that some places to pursue the sport are better than other places, and there are capacity limits. Surfing might have the sharpest capacity constraints, plus the quality of the waves at any place varies tremendously from hour to hour.

Golf emerged in the coastal sand dunes of Scotland that weren’t good for anything else beside sheep grazing. Oddly, most Scottish linksland doesn’t provide a good view of the ocean.

Around 1900 it was discovered that similar terrain existed here and there inland, such as in the sandy hills around what’s now Heathrow airport in suburban London. After that it was figured out that you could install drainage systems to allow golf courses to be built on clay soils that are otherwise too damp and muddy for enjoyable golf. And then it was figured out that you could push dirt around, or even truck in vast amounts of sand to build any shape golf course you want. In the last couple of decades, the trend in high end golf courses has been to find a spot with a magnificent ocean or lake view and then construct sand dunes to make it look natural.

But nobody has really figured out a way to make golf cheaper. Surfing’s problem has been the mirror image: nobody has figured out a consistent way to make surfing more expensive, so waves get overcrowded, with lots of bad blood and fistfights between locals and outsiders. So surfing includes an enormous amount of hurry up and wait. On the other hand, much of the waiting is done on the beach or bobbing on the ocean, so it’s not so bad.

Basically, only one surfer can ride one wave at a time. This new machine generates 15 waves per hour, each ride lasting almost one minute over 700 yards in a 100 yard-wide pool. That would be an enormously long ride in nature. But still that’s only three man-hours of riding waves per 12 hour day.

So the cost at present is supposedly $50,000 to rent the facility per day, with most surfers with that kind of money flying in on private jets, with say six surfers per group. So maybe they each get a half hour of riding on a perfect tubular wave, which is a huge amount of time spent in the curl, but at a cost of say $17,000 per hour. Yeesh … On the other hand, 30 minutes of peak surfing might take a full-time dropout surfer, what, six months to experience in the ocean?

And the variable cost of the electricity to generate each wave is high so there don’t seem to be obvious ways to tap economies of scale other than to locate surf ranches near big hydroelectric plants that provide cheap electricity (e.g., Hoover Dam near Las Vegas). I think the cheapest electricity in the U.S. might be near Grand Coulee dam on the Columbia River, but that’s not much of a tourist destination.

But somebody might think of something.

 
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  1. Hodag says:

    The way to build cheapish golf is to build it on sand in mild to wet climates. But sand based golf is the funnest so that bids up the price. Mike Kaiser has figured this out and has bought the cheapest sand based mild weather sites and invited the world.

    Sand Valley in Wisconsin is a dream. Golf all day and Spotted Cow.

    • Replies: @Polynikes
    , @Steve Sailer
  2. And the variable cost of the electricity to generate each wave is high so there don’t seem to be obvious ways to tap economies of scale other than to locate surf ranches near big hydroelectric plants that provide cheap electricity (e.g., Hoover Dam near Las Vegas).

    You could install the wave machines in the cooling ponds of nuclear power plants.

  3. Polynikes says:
    @Hodag

    Sandy region of Wisconsin has some nice courses. But not many people. And only a few months of golf weather per year.

    The lake superior surfing club has a similar issue.

    Spotted Cow helps ease the pain.

  4. so waves get overcrowded, with lots of bad blood and fistfights between locals and outsiders.

    Rock climbing has the same problem: only one climber/team can do a pitch at any given time. The most popular climbing spots can have three or four teams lined up at the base. Even on remote alpine routes you’ll find yourself waiting behind several people to do the next pitch. Hell, the Hilary Step on Everest gets traffic jammed!

    Spelunkers have been the most successful sportsmen to keep the crowds away. While climbers love sharing new spots, new routes, developing new areas and publishing guide books, spelunkers are like a secret society. They are notoriously secretive about cave entrances and approaches.

    Google around for caving information. You won’t find any. There are thousands of world-class caves to be explored in the Sierras, probably more caves than climbing routes, but good luck finding anything about them. You have to join a local “grotto,” and they will only reveal their secrets to you with time.

    If climbers are open borders, spelunkers are the Sentinelese.

  5. donut says:

    Are you shitting me ? A post about surfing , golf and … some other BS . You racist dog whistling Nazi !!! I ..I don’t know what to say . I’m going to report you to my close personnel friend Ron , BTW Ron disregard my many anti-semetic posts , they were all just in good fun . Sailer must be reigned in .

  6. @Seth Largo

    That’s interesting.

    Surfers try to keep newly discovered spots secret for years. Finnegan mentions a surf spot in his article that even he doesn’t know where it is.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anon
    , @Seth Largo
  7. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Where is this inland surfing place, what town?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  8. Anonymous[346] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    That’s interesting.

    Surfers try to keep newly discovered spots secret for years. Finnegan mentions a surf spot in his article that even he doesn’t know where it is.

    I think I know this spot. Waikiki. Shhhhh…

  9. Anon[215] • Disclaimer says:

    Classic. Now surfing will become another thing that furthers climate change: The electricity to produce the waves … plus the airplanes to get to them.

    I guess hydro is not a carbon bad guy … it just screws up the watershed and riparian environment in various other ways, but what’s done is done.

  10. There’s something I don’t get about why the wave has be be created by the moving hydrofoil vs. the way a wave in nature breaks. Why couldn’t the energy be added to the water via some smooth steady drop and then the “ground” surface be contoured to make a wave break the way it does in their perfect location in S. Africa or wherever? I think that the width would have to be really big this way so the wave could keep breaking toward one side (or maybe reverse at some point like natural waves often do).

    I understand that the wave created by the under-the-surface hydrofoil doesn’t change it’s shape in the transverse direction as it moves forward. Is that what makes it the perfect wave, that the location of the overhang (whatever the surfers call it – I’m no surfer) stays at the same point transversely?

    No, this wave doesn’t lose energy like a natural one, but then couldn’t a pool with a “natural wave” be sloped downward enough to keep transferring PE to KE in the wave? I wish this engineer could explain it to us why there’s no way to do it without a forcing function. I’m sure he knows his stuff.

  11. What this reminds me of is an analogous machine for the skydiving world, the vertical wind tunnel, one (that I know of) being in Tullahoma, Tennessee. One can practice some (not all) free-fall moves in this thing, though not big formations, of course, as it’s fairly narrow. It’s very much the same concept, except that for 1 minute replacing however long the best wave lasts in surfing, one can go as long as one wants in the vertical wind tunnel instead of 1 minute free-fall from, say, 15,000 ft.

    The difference between playing in that tunnel vs. real skydiving is also a lot like the difference between riding that wave-pool wave vs. being out in the ocean. In the wind tunnel the thrill is completely gone, but one can practice moves without continually looking at the altimeter (“Dammit, I’ve been upside down for 2,000 feet now!”) and hone them with no stress. In the wave pool, you’ve still just got 1 minute, but the difference is in the atmosphere and a good bit more danger in the ocean, I guess.

  12. KunioKun says:

    I loved Point Break when it came out. I hope it has aged better than so many of the other movies and tv shows from my youth.

    How about an artificial spelunking experience? Have a huge foam block the size of a building and cut out different caverns and passages. If you get stuck upside down you wont die like that kid in Utah, they can just cut you out of the foam.

  13. @Achmed E. Newman

    Maybe that wasn’t too clear, but I meant a pool in which the water itself would have to be recirculated, of course, requiring lots of energy in pumping it back up. It sounds more like the rapids in a river, and I’ve never seen anyone surf a river, so… ah hell. I guess you can’t have a wave without some forcing mechanism … I’m thinking of sound waves, etc. never mind … too late to be commenting haha.

  14. @KunioKun

    I loved Point Break when it came out.

    That’s one of my favorites – it’s got surfing, bank-robbing, and skydiving.

    How about some of that dis-solvable foam made out of corn-starch or whatever? If you get really scared and piss in your pants it’ll just lead you outta there. It sounds like an idea for Kramerica Industries.

  15. @Hodag

    In Southern California, Rustic Canyon is built on sand and gravel in a flood plain. You can’t build much else there because every ten years the buildings would get washed away, but golf courses can be restored more cheaply after a flood.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  16. @Anon

    No worries, you can pay for additional carbon credits using Bitcoin.

    • LOL: James Speaks
  17. @Achmed E. Newman

    A (good) wave in nature breaks in two directions, forward and left/right. This wave looks like it breaks continuously forward and very little left/right.

  18. @KunioKun

    As non-surfers in the South, we loooooved Point Break. My current SoCal friends mostly didn’t like it.

  19. “In fact, it seemed to break like that for the ninety minutes that Brown was filming, and then the tide came up, or the wind shifted; waves of that quality have never again been seen at Cape St. Francis.”

    Is this true? That’s crazy, fascination, hilarious. I like to rewatch ES every decade or so,

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  20. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Seth Largo

    Jon Krakauer, who shamelessly dove headfirst into the whole “our universities are rape camps” thing later, was able to recognize the fraud of the “Three Cups of Tea” school builder by asking his fellow mountain climbers, “wait a minute, how do none of us know who this guy is?”

    • Replies: @Seth Largo
  21. @JeremiahJohnbalaya

    Different people seem to have a different impression.

    “Thanks to the Endless Summer films, we all know about the perfect rights of Cape St. Francis (or Bruce’s Beauties). The wave, though not as good now as in the past, is still a classic barrelling righthander but one that takes a big E swell to kick it into life.”

    Or

    “In truth, the group began their stay on the Cape by checking into a beachfront hostel. The following morning, Hynson noticed a likely-looking break a mile or so to the south, walked up by himself, started riding, and was soon joined by the others. Ninety minutes later, the wave shut down. And that was it for their visit. With nothing to surf the next day, they all spent two or three hours marching up and down the dunes for the camera; Brown had determined overnight that he needed an ex post facto opening sequence to set up their wave score. The remark about Cape St. Francis surf being good 300 days a year—Brown pulled that out of thin air a few months later, while writing the voice-over.

    “An interesting thing happened when Hynson finally came forth with the real Cape St. Francis story in 1993. Nobody cared. The waves themselves were real, if nowhere near as consistent as Brown claimed, and beachfront (at the time, anyway) really was made up of dunes. But it wasn’t that. Every surfer, at some rare and transcendent moment, will unexpectedly find the perfect wave—even if it’s just a fluke afternoon at their local shorebreak. In the editing room, Brown arranged events to highlight a universally shared surfing dream. A dream that occasionally comes true. It wasn’t deceit. It was a gift.”

  22. Lot says:

    “but at a cost of say $17,000 per hour.”

    Very aspie way to look at it. As long as we’re going down that road, spending $60 on a dinner or drinks date for a 10 second climax later that night comes out to $21,600 an hour for orgasm time.

    Also, the fighting for surf spots issue I think is exaggerated. I never had anyone get pissy with me, even when I was learning, and 75% of the time I go crowding isn’t even a minor issue. Might be because I like to go a little before sunset on weekends. The hardcore guys seem to go early morning.

  23. res says:

    This book is worth a look for anyone interested in the dynamics of ocean waves: https://www.amazon.com/Waves-Beaches-Dynamics-Ocean-Surface/dp/0385148445

  24. Lot says:

    You can do this for about $25 in Mission Beach San Diego’s Belmont Park.

    I’ve not done it, but seen it a few times and looks awfully fun.

    • Replies: @Autochthon
  25. @Lot

    You can do this for about $25.00…

    Huh. She’s no beauty queen, but she seems attractive enough to charge way more than that….

    • LOL: Dave Pinsen, JMcG
  26. @Steve Sailer

    Wow, Lemoore! Did they get the land for free? Was Kettleman City too upscale?

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @Reg Cæsar
  27. @Oleaginous Outrager

    I don’t know why they built this extremely expensive facility in the middle of nowhere. The private lake was already there, so that probably made water rights simpler. The next one will be in Palm Beach.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Malcolm X-Lax
  28. Sometimes you just have to make the best of a so-so wave.

  29. @Seth Largo

    Spelunkers have been the most successful sportsmen to keep the crowds away.

    They get a lot of help in this from frequent mining incidents appearing in the popular press.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQHuNHsce6E

  30. Anon[215] • Disclaimer says:
    @Seth Largo

    Competitive rock climbing/bouldering uses those walls with bolted-on holds now. That’s what will be used at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Because of this new Olympic event, television in Japan has been showing every rock climbing event around. It’s fascinating to see how different climbers with different sized bodies do the same walls in different ways. It reminds me of pianists and their different fingerings and their arpeggiated chords if their reach is not wide enough or their fingers are too thick.

    I could see this fake wave thing being a future installation at the Olympics. After all, the kayaking courses are artificial now, and the 50-meter temporaty swimming pool is a portable thing assembled from big steel plates, at most major competitions.

    • Replies: @Seth Largo
  31. @Steve Sailer

    I don’t know why they built this extremely expensive facility in the middle of nowhere.

    For jumping the shark?

    If this is the future of surfing, golf looks pretty safe for now.

  32. Anon[215] • Disclaimer says:
    @Steve Sailer

    The great surfing novelist Kem Nunn has a “secret surfing spot” book, The Dogs of Winter. The spot is called Heart Attacks, and is vaguely modeled after Mavericks, two miles off of Half Moon Bay. Whe the heck found a surfinf spot two miles offshore? Surfers are crazy.

    Mavericks was the name Apple gave to OS X version 10.9 in their continuing series of California place name OS’s. The current system is High Sierra, and you know you’re a native Californian when if it took you a moment to realize why that name provoked some chuckles when it was announced.

    • Replies: @Fred Boynton
    , @Polynikes
  33. @Oleaginous Outrager

    Wow, Lemoore! Did they get the land for free?

    Are you dismissing the Hanford-Corcoran Metropolitan Statistical Area? Wait until the high-speed commuter rail reaches it. It’ll be the next Lancaster-Palmdale.

    Still, that it’s in Kings County leads one to wonder if the developers thought they were buying land in trendy Brooklyn.

  34. Kelly, Kelly: “Kelly’s Wave” is the perfect wave for surfing. The perfect investment strategy, for maximum return without going bust, follows something called the
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelly_criterion .
    Just a coincidence? Yeah, probably.

    • Replies: @stillCARealist
  35. Hodag says:

    Re: Adam Fincham.

    As everyone knows heritage means nothing and Albion’s Seed (and The Son Also Rises) is a crock…but Fincham, Norfolk England is just north and east of Cambridge. Just lucky that an engineering professor at USC has that name.

  36. Isn’t it dangerous having a great big metal hydrofoil moving along the tank pushing the wave in front of it? What happens if you “wipe out” and get hit by the blade?

    • Replies: @Fred Boynton
  37. I think the cheapest electricity in the U.S. might be near Grand Coulee dam on the Columbia River, but that’s not much of a tourist destination.

    Indeed it’s not much of a tourist destination, but the coulee country is a very interesting area geologically, very interesting to see. (While i was scoutmaster of my son’s troop, i created a traditon of going over to “the dry side” for a spring campout to get out of the drip and see this interesting country.)

    During the end of the ice age, the ice sheets had damned up the Clark Fork around Sandpoint, creating a giant glacial lake, “Lake Missoula” out of Western Montana, and another smaller one on the upper Columbia. When the glacial dam finally broke there was an absolutely massive flood. For a few days, there were water flows that were orders of magnitude beyond anything on earth now, creating the coulees, and one of the largest waterfalls–at DryFalls–that the world has seen. This process of blockage, filling and a breaking flood happened multple times, with multiple outflow routes. Once the ice sheets were gone, the Columbia was back in its course and these Coulees were sitting there high and dry … waiting for Grand Coulee Dam to pump some water up to them for irrigation and power storage.

    This isn’t the beauty of Mt. Rainier or the revealed power of Mt. St. Helens. It isn’t on the PNW short list, but if you have a longer visit or are travelling through the area–off to the Canadian Rockies or Glacier or the Idaho panhandle recreation, you should drive through and see it–the dam alone is impressive.

  38. @Steve Sailer

    but golf courses can be restored more cheaply after a flood.

    Greenbriar was flooded out to the point that, what, months later, they had to cancel a PGATour event. Ever hear the cost of that one? The golf course had lots of overflowing. Tens of millions? Nothing for them, but not cheap. “The Greenbriar” tourney to me has the feel of a realtor, trying to sell home lots on a golf course. There was a lot of that around DC after Tiger-Mania started, 96-2005 or 2007, everyone selling home sites on newly-built golf courses, WAY out from DC. Nice courses, with expensive clubhouses. Those are meadowland now because you can’t golf em anymore. Although Arnie built Dominion Valley in Gainsville, Va., not too far from Dulles, ever play it Steve? It was a DOGFIGHT to buy a lot there. Then there’s Dan Quayle’s club at Manassas, and Trump’s on the Potomac..

  39. Big Bill says:

    So where did the money come from to design, build and test the wave machine and equipment? locomotives, 150 wheels, monster poured concrete facility, land, etc. We are talking many millions of dollars. It surely didn’t come out of some professor’s NASA research grant.

    Are there some ex-surfer tech billionaires who funded this thing?

    The wave machine looks like a giant underwater snowplow — but with a blade that only extends to one side. This would produce gigantic torque trying to twist the locomotive off to left (toward the plow and wave), hence the need for a massive weight and so much friction (150 wheels, i believe they said).

    Let me suggest some alternatives:

    First, a cable drive system using big stationary DC motors. Second (with or without the cable drive) a balanced load: drive the blade at both ends (eliminates the torque/friction problem). Third, have the blade stick out from both sides of the locomotive, traveling between two parallel wave tanks, thus giving you a way to practice waves breaking left and waves breaking right in adjacent tanks.

  40. BenKenobi says:
    @E. Rekshun

    I’ve a friend-of-a-friend who spends half the year surfing abroad. Naturally bleach blond right down (up?) to his eyebrows. If anything was ever “too White” it’s this guy.

    Utter shitlib. Sounds like a HuffPo commenter. Sample quote: “I ended up dating this chick in Spain for a few months. I met her dad — he was such a redneck. A Spanish redneck.”

  41. @AnotherDad

    While i was scoutmaster of my son’s troop, i created a traditon of going over to “the dry side” for a spring campout to get out of the drip …

    Yeah, it goes from wet to fairly dry in about 50 miles through that Snoqualmie Pass.

    Right, I’d heard when I was visiting (it was long ago) the big dam, that during nighttime when demand is low, but the turbines still have to run, water is pumped back up into one of the other reservoirs, maybe Banks Lake. It’s wasteful, of course, as power is generated, then used for electric pumps, with the usual inefficiencies, but then, those big turbines have to keep spinning. You’ve gotta store that energy somehow.

    I think the aluminum industry is up there in various places along the big Columbia River (on the westbound stretch east of Portland is one) due to that copious amount of electricity up there. Making aluminum uses a WHOLE LOT.

  42. They should ask Chrissy Ford what she thinks. She is not only a woman, but a woman with a PhD, so it is important to listen to her and believe what she says.

  43. ***** warning: this Steven Sailor post is confirmed Kremlin propaganda **** FBI has been alerted. Another dumb white man commits treason and will die in jail with Drumpf.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  44. bjondo says:

    More pollution.

    Pollute oceans with plastics and white bums.

    Pollute sand with plastics/fiberglass/whatever and white bums.

    Pollute mountains, cliffs with all kinds of crap and white bums.

    Pollute Appalachian(latch not laych) Trail with plastics and white bums.

    Comment not about immigration/identity, but white bums.

    Also,

    any good Christmas movies out this year or last 20 years or are they uncorrect?

  45. Kelly Slater is going to know a whole lot more about the surfing experience–and what “sells” it–than i do.

    But as a non-surfer, this doesn’t look real appealing. The analogy to the rock climbing walls seems reasonable. But they make rock climbing more accessible and arguably cheaper. And i think more of the climbing experience is more the purely physical/technical.

    I would think that more of the surfing experience is actually being out on the ocean surfing. Being out there, trying to pick which of the waves to ride, the variability of ride–oh man i picked the right one and hit it! But a whole lot of … “out there”. More like the golfing aesthetic.

    This thing strikes me as the golfing equivalent of going to the range. Or the coming holographic golf, where you play any course in a room, where the computer is projecting the surrounds and the path of your ball.

    And it’s going to be more expensive?

  46. slumber_j says:

    If it’s $50 grand a day and you’re getting 15 waves an hour, if we’re talking about an 12-hour day, that’s over $275/wave. Those are some pretty steep waves, brah.

  47. @Mark Spahn (West Seneca, NY)

    Kelly is the perfect name for a cute, blond, tanned teen boy. There were two of them in my childhood. One was a champion swimmer at the community pool, the other rode the public bus to a different school. I know I wasn’t the only young girl dreaming about them.

  48. @AnotherDad

    How about opening the Grand Coulee’s gates and turning the spillway into a surf spot?

  49. @Anon

    Whe the heck found a surfinf spot two miles offshore?

    I would guess people had seen it from the air for years, sailors too, before people got around to surfing it.

  50. @YetAnotherAnon

    Isn’t it dangerous having a great big metal hydrofoil moving along the tank pushing the wave in front of it? What happens if you “wipe out” and get hit by the blade?

    That’s how you make it a spectator sport as well as a participation sport.

  51. Polynikes says:
    @Anon

    I’m not much of a fiction guy, but Tapping the Source was a fun read.

  52. @Steve Sailer

    And the variable cost of the electricity to generate each wave is high so there don’t seem to be obvious ways to tap economies of scale other than to locate surf ranches near big hydroelectric plants that provide cheap electricity (e.g., Hoover Dam near Las Vegas). I think the cheapest electricity in the U.S. might be near Grand Coulee dam on the Columbia River, but that’s not much of a tourist destination.

    Apparently the facility is 100% solar. Yea yea I know just because it’s solar doesn’t mean it’s cheap. But that part of Cali does have a lot of sun if there is no forest fire smoke blocking it.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  53. @Anon

    In fact, since AGW is fiction, building more hydro in environmentally sensitive areas (e.g. the ecologically rich Xingu basin in Brazil) should be prohibited and replaced with fossil fuel and nuclear plants.

  54. @Steve Sailer

    I lived in Lemoore for 5 years (2001-2006) and wasn’t even aware this thing existed until a couple of years ago.

  55. @George Taylor

    If that’s also put out on paper, I hope they were responsible enough to use EcoFont for the logo.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  56. @Tiny Duck.

    If Sailer says it’s safe to surf this site, son, then it’s safe to surf this site!

    Tiny Duck: “It’s really hairy on here, Sir, that’s why we lost Corvinus, it’s Ivan’s point …. “ IVAN DON’T SURF!

  57. @Reg Cæsar

    What are those, lightening holes? That should save weight on the shipping. Or, they can just write less.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  58. … The idea of the perfect wave has been around surfing since I was a kid. “The Endless Summer,” a documentary by Bruce Brown, released in 1966, follows two California surfers circling the globe with boards.

    The movie is absolutely delightful yet poignant because we have lost that world.

  59. @Steve Sailer

    How dare you speak this way about the town that gave us Steve Perry and one of the black power guys from the 1968 Summer Olympics!

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  60. @Malcolm X-Lax

    Whaaaa? Steve Perry from Journey? Can I visit his boyhood home and take a selfie?

    And all this time, I’d thought he was just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit.

    Not the same tune, but I like the duets with Greg Rollie the best. This one rocks:

    BTW, that’s still about the best handle I’ve seen on here, Mr. X-Lax!

    • Replies: @Malcolm X-Lax
  61. @Steve Sailer

    Well, it’s relatively easy to read contour lines on a map, and once you can do that, it’s easy to figure out where the neat aesthetic rock faces might be located. Caves, on the other hand, do not advertise their existence on any official topographies.

    For a while, there was an attempt to keep secret an amazing climbing area in Joshua Tree NP called “the Outback.” I heard whispers of it in the early 2000s. The hard men who discovered it didn’t let too much info out into the wild.

    By 2010, there was a guidebook and now if you Google the info, it’s plotted on Google maps.

    Topo maps, man.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
  62. @J.Ross

    I can’t gauge Krakauer. As a rule, mountaineers are Orwell-esque leftists at best. I’ve been climbing for over a decade, and I’ve never met a true SJW. Bernie bros, sure. I think he just doesn’t like jocks. Lots of climbers are nerdy but athletic types.

    If you have access to some of the older editions of Rock & Ice or Alpinist, you will find some amusingly hardcore libertarian musings from the hard men of yesteryear.

    • Replies: @J.Ross
  63. @Seth Largo

    Topo maps, man.

    I was obsessed with topographical maps when I was a Boy Scout. My uncle around 1940 had bought a Greatest Hits collection of 25 topo maps, e.g., Grand Teton, Yosemite, etc., which he gave to me.

    But I seldom see topographic lines on maps anymore. Does Google offer them as an option on Google Maps? If not, why not?

    • Replies: @Seth Largo
  64. Here are a couple examples of the xenophobic principles of cavers:

    “If you really wanted to see that cave up close and personal, as well as many other caves, which are not open to the public you would first have to become part of the caving community. You’d have to have a genuine interest in conservation and preservation of these fragile environments.”

    http://geotripper.blogspot.com/2014/11/to-explore-wild-cave-underground.html

    http://www.highsierratopix.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=1019

  65. @Achmed E. Newman

    What are those, lightening holes? That should save weight on the shipping. Or, they can just write less.

    Printers are cheap because ink isn’t.

  66. @Steve Sailer

    I don’t think contour lines are a Google maps layer option. I’ve never looked, but I imagine they’ve been made obsolete by satellite and virtual 3-d views. But those are imperfect representations of elevation gain/loss compared to topo lines.

  67. @Anon

    Fake courses are easier to control (and film) in an official competition. “Real” rock does not offer many opportunities for awesome shows of climbing prowess.

    If you want to put yourself to sleep, watch rock climbing videos, especially videos of people aid climbing.

  68. @Achmed E. Newman

    Totally agree about Just the Same Way. Great contrast of the voices. Reminds me of when I was 12 years old!

  69. J.Ross says: • Website
    @Seth Largo

    Oh, I have no doubt that it’s orders coming down as through a pneumatic tube inside the Ministry of Love building. Krakauer got interested in college rape at the same time that everybody else was lying about it.

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