In ‘The Ultimate Surfer,’ 14 barrel chasers compete for a $100,000 cash prize and a shot at the World Surf League’s 2022 Championship Tour aboard the world’s best artificial wave machine.
This week, ABC, Hulu, and 11-time World Surf champ Kelly Slater break waves with the new reality TV series, “The Ultimate Surfer.” In the eight-episode series, seven men and seven women duke it out at Slater’s California Surf Ranch.
It’s an elimination-style competition that will shed players until two men and two women remain. From there, the semifinalists will put guts and glory on the board for the $100,000 purse and a spot in 2022’s WSL Championship Tour. Bonus: There’s a third WSL ‘wildcard’ spot up for grabs, too.
Here’s what we know so far.
‘The Ultimate Surfer’ Challenges
Slater acts as a lead consultant and “special correspondent” to the competitors. In prerecorded video clips, Slater offers the salty boys and girls advice on how to avoid getting axed in the show’s weekly elims.
Ex-NFL pro and “The Bachelor” starboy Jesse Palmer hosts the series. Pro-surfing commentator Joe Turpel and sports anchor Erin Coscarelli emcee the show’s “beach races” and head-to-head “surf offs.”
While the details of scoring and elimination are still a little vague, there is more to the reality show than pure surfing. Contestants will also take part in team and solo events through wild courses on land and manufactured sea. From what we can gather, there will be beach races and breath-holding buoy races, lake-bottom strength battles, and other made-for-TV eye candy.
But, of course, the core of the event is surfing. Surf-offs should delight the surfing purists; each player will get the chance to showcase their skillset in the 700-yard-long lakebed’s better-than-natural setting.
Kelly Slater Wave
Oft considered the most even playing field on which to measure surf mastery, Slater’s innovative machine is a barrel-synthesizing environment and engineering feat. In a single round, The Wave produces a 6-foot curler capable of traveling 2,300 feet for up to one gnarly minute.
And, nerd alert, it took a load of feet-on experience (Slater’s), at least one doctor (fluid dynamics engineer Adam Fincham, PhD.), 9 years of sweat equity, and Poseidon only knows how much moolah to develop the wave-maker.
The wave is produced by a one-of-a-kind soliton generating hydrofoil that cuts through the water at an exact speed, angle, and water depth, that when combined with a precisely positioned bottom contour (or reef), create beautifully formed high performance waves. — Kelly Slater Wave Co.
Info for Channel Surfers
If you’re skeptical about how genuine the sporting effect is, check out the following trailer, “What It Takes to Become the Ultimate Surfer.” Looks like there’s some legit motion in this ocean. (Faux-cean? I’ll see myself out.)
Episode 1 of ABC’s “The Ultimate Surfer” premiered last night and Episode 2 airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on Hulu.