THE ULTIMATE SURFER - “Welcome to the Surf Ranch” – Fourteen up-and-coming surfers train and live together at the World Surf League’s (WSL) state-of-the-art Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, powered by Kelly Slater’s human-made wave technology, in the hope of winning $100,000 and the opportunity to compete on the WSL Championship Tour. Former NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer hosts the surf competition series with sports anchor Erin Coscarelli and the iconic voice of professional surfing Joe Turpel serving as commentators. Eleven-time surfing world champion Kelly Slater is the lead consultant and also serves as a special correspondent on the series premiere of “The Ultimate Surfer,” airing MONDAY, AUG. 23 (10:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC. (ABC) THE ULTIMATE SURFER
(Photo/ABC)

Kelly Slater’s Artificial Wave Will Crown ‘The Ultimate Surfer’ on Hulu

In The Ultimate Surfer, 14 barrel chasers compete for a $100K 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 $100K 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.

Alliances and friendships are put to the test as the 12 remaining contestants vie for the title of The Ultimate Surfer.
(Photo/ABC)

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 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.

The remaining eight surfers hop on their boards for a tug-of-war, surfer style, to earn extra time on the wave and earn a SUP-er sweet prize.
(Photo/ABC)

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.

Carissa Moore surfing wave on a sunny day
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Jilli Cluff
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Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing. In 2020, Jilli left her corporate position to pursue an outdoor-oriented life. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear network. She is based out of Austin, Texas, where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.