Kelly Slater Wave vs Wavegarden Tech Waves vs Organic Natural Ocean Waves

Kelly Slater Wave vs. Wavegarden tech artificial waves

Here at da Surf Engine, we’re all about helping you find YOUR perfect waves, because even some of the perfect waves out there, like Pipeline, aren’t for everyone.

However, it appears as if Kelly Slater’s Wave Company has done the unthinkable and created a wave so perfect and predictable, that all agree it would be one of their perfect waves!

The barrel rides seem to go on for ages and the smile on surfers’ faces after they’ve ridden the wave tells it all.  The pro surfers fortunate enough to have gotten a chance to ride Kelly’s wave have certainly ridden some of the world class perfect waves out there and they have high standards!

However, it’s not just Kelly’s wave that will change the course of surfing history.  All the artificial wave parks such as the one opening soon in Austin, NLand (powered by Wavegarden technology), will bring surfing to so many more people around the world.

We recently saw a post that Kelly Slater Wave Company Media’s Instagram account posted asking people to vote on which wave is better, KS Wave or Wavegarden.

Just like our app lets people find their perfect waves, we don’t think it’s a question of which is better than the other, as we all will have our preferences.  Therefore we’ve outlined the pros and cons of each wave type and you can decide for yourself which you would prefer, or if you think all 3 are perfect!

Kelly Slater’s Wave


  • It’s the only perfect barreling artificial wave that raises the bar for all future artificial surf parks.
  • It could be the only way some surfers could ever get barreled!
  • It could help get surfing into the Olympics, with the predictability of a mechanicized wave.
    • This is key as surfing requires so many skills and getting it into the Olympics will give surfing the exposure it deserves. It also won’t hurt to have more people get interested in surfing, well from our perspective.  Some surfers complain about giving surfing more visibility as they want to keep it their little secret, but there will always be empty ocean waves out there, you just have to go find them, and our app can help you find those surf spots that have fewer crowds and empty waves!
  • It uses solar energy and doesn’t drain other resources that ultimately increases the carbon footprint and hurts the environment.


  • Access: Right now only a few elite pro surfers have gotten a chance to ride it. We think the true test of the wave would be to see if the average surfer could get a great ride out of it and open it up to the masses, and we are volunteering for that opportunity right here, ha!’
  • Cost: The feasibility of having this caliber of a wave would be extremely expensive and would need a lot of other factors to come in and support it such as building whole communities with ski type resorts & hotels, shops, etc. to cover the expense of the costs in creating and maintaining it.
  • Predictability: It’s a pro and a con. As perfect as Kelly Slater’s Wave is, using it for surf competitions will decrease the excitement that comes from the unpredictability of a wave doing crazy things and surfers being able to shift on the fly and create truly sensational moves that amaze us all.  Do you remember the time Kelly performed that truly amazing maneuver on a funiy wave and only got a 4 because he didn’t stay standing on his board the whole time?


Wave Garden Tech/Artificial Waves in General


  • Access:
    • It gives those unfortunate people that live inland and don’t have access to the ocean a great way to experience surfing close to home and will give surfing access to so many more people and raise surfing’s visibility worldwide through participation!
  • Core skill development
    • It can help people who are learning to surf develop core essential skills that will help them surf in the real ocean. How many times can you practice a pop up on solid ground?  Giving people frequent and controlled waves will allow surfers to hone in on those specific skills in a simulated environment much closer to ocean surfing than practicing at home.
  • Appeals to those without much patience
    • Sometimes you just want to go out and catch a few quick waves but the ocean has other ideas and it takes over an hour to get just a few. Not having to wait forever for a wave to come will certainly appeal to our over-stimulated society that doesn’t have the patience to read one tweet, let alone a whole article like this.
  • No hazards like sharks, stingrays, rocks, or sharp coral reefs to worry about, you can focus on the surfing!


  • A False Sense of Confidence in Skill Set
    • Although artificial waves can help people develop the core essential skills of surfing, those people that learn on those types of waves may develop a false sense of confidence about their overall skills. Since the ocean is so powerful and unpredictable, skills like reading the waves, being mindful of currents/riptides knowing a certain breaks hazards and things to watch out for, and not being exposed to proper surf etiquette, may lead to injuries with more kooks in the actual ocean line up.
  • Cost
    • Who wants to pay to ride a wave when you can ride one for free. Surfing has always been unlike skiing or snowboarding as once you have the equipment, it can be completely free!  Even watching surfing competitions is free.  However for those without access, it would be cheaper than paying for a flight to a surf spot somewhere further away.

The Natural & Organic Ocean Waves


  • Escaping into nature and being one with the ocean
    • No artificial wave will ever be able to replace the way surfing can completely disconnect us from regular day issues by allowing us to just soak up the organic natural vibes of the ocean and all the beauty around it.. Being humbled by a gnarly wave that came from out of nowhere gives surfers the upmost respect for the ocean, and there is nothing like seeing things like a pod of dolphins while you are out waiting on a wave.
  • Travel and Discovery
    • One of the other amazing things about surfing is the ability to discover and explore new surf spots around you or travel to find different spots all over the world. That’s why we don’t have the directions/locations for every surf spot in our app, as sometimes finding your special spot and calling it your own is the rewarding part.  Planning surf trips and getting surfing buddies to come with you and exploring new cultures at various surf breaks is what makes surfing different than any other sport.
  • Unpredictability
    • No one wave is ever the same and that sense of variety and excitement that natural organic waves produce can never be replicated by an artificial wave. Although the ocean may have flat days, on a great day, the variety of experiences you will have on each wave is the fun part of surfing that gets us stoked!


  • Lack of consistency
    • Not all surf spots have great waves year round. Even consistent surf breaks have flat days where the ocean turns into a lake. For those who have 9 to 5 jobs and can’t do dawn patrols, they just take what they can get on the weekends, even if it’s all closed out.
  • Hazards
    • You never know what’s swimming underneath you and even if you are aware of hazards such as nearby rocks or sharp coral reefs in a shallow area, you will get injured by them at some point in your surfing life! It’s called surfing battle scars!

So there you have it, our take on the Kelly vs. Wavegarden/Artificial Waves, vs. Natural/Organic Waves.  We wanna ride them all – so stay tuned because if we do get a chance to ride Kelly’s wave or the NLand wave that is opening up soon, we’ll tell you all about it (or as much as we’re allowed to – ha).



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