In the 1987, so-bad-it’s-good cult classic film North Shore, the fictional Rick Kane, played by Matt Adler, is a champion wavepool surfer in Arizona.
With the confidence gained from his success in the synthetic surfing pool – depicted in the recently-closed, real-world wavepool, Big Surf, in Tempe, Arizona (more on that below) – Kane travels to the North Shore of Oahu, where he foolishly believes his skills will translate to the ocean and surfing’s proverbial “proving grounds.”
But Kane is woefully naïve.
Now, Rick Kane has returned to the pool; this time, the newly-unveiled, soon-to-be-opened officially Palm Springs Surf Club, and in an edit from Beefs TV. There, he shared a session with a host of surfing elite, including Blair Conklin, Italo Ferreira, Parker Coffin, Josh Kerr, Sierra Kerr, Kalani Robb, and more.
Once again, Adler was humbled. He did not shred harder than Italo or Kalani or Conklin; he rode his ruby red mid-length, and struggled to get the hang of things.
A far cry from his days as a fictional wavepool champion. Yet still, a valiant return.
His fictional home spot, Big Surf, was the world’s first wavepool created for surfing. But during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it closed. And earlier this year, a real estate developer bought the property for $49.97 million with plans to tear it all down.
But its legacy will live on. Per Matt Warshaw and the Encyclopedia of Surfing:
“Big Surf, the first American wavepool used for surfing was built in Tempe, Arizona, funded by hair-coloring giant Clairol, opened in 1969 and cost $2 million. The pool measured 300′ by 400′, and was set in a 20-acre Polynesian-themed complex located in the middle of the desert.
“Chest-high waves were created by dropping millions of gallons of water down a vertical 40-foot-high concrete chute and refracting the flow into the pool through underwater metal gates. Groups of surfers alternated with groups of swimmers and mat riders.
“Featured in the surf press and in surf movies, visited by world surfing champion Fred Hemmings, U.S. champion Corky Carroll, and dozens of other top American riders, Big Surf represents a media high point of sorts for early American wavepools.”
Rick Kane is back. All hail the OG wavepool surfing champ.
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