Surfers Wade Carmichael, Kolohe Andino, Shane Dorian and shaper Darren Handley have all spent time at the Surf Ranch. They talk to Tracks about the wave and what may go down at the upcoming Surf Ranch Pro. 

All The Waves Aren’t Identical

“From my experience there’s about three different versions or settings on each wave,” Kolohe Andino told Tracks. “Some are smaller than others. Some are bigger. Some mush out. Others suck up and make it hard to turn. So not everyone will get the same opportunity. The surfers will have to be prepared for that.” 

But The Left Is Trickier

“The left is way more wind affected and so trickier to ride,” says shaper-to-the-stars Darren Handley, who was on hand for the tax payer funded Team Australia week-long jaunt to the hot tub a month back. “The left can sometimes even be a closeout. In our week it was onshore in the morning, but offshore late. So I think whoever stands out on the left will win the comp. It might be where the most points of difference can be made.” 

Kolohe Andino searching for the sweet spot on the left at The Ranch. Photo: WSL

It’s Not Easy To Rip

“It reminds me a little of J-Bay in the way that you are always looking down the line rather than hitting the lip hard,” says Shane Dorian. “To be a really high performance wave, like Trestles say, it needs to be a bit slower.” “You can’t do a wrap and come all the way back, because the wave pool moves so fast, you have to keep momentum,” agrees Wade Carmichael. “There’s a limited number of turns you can do, but there is the money pocket, about a metre wide and if you get the flow right you can open up. One mistake though and it’s all over.” 

The Air Section Isn’t Dialed In... Yet

“The air section seemed to be coming at the guys way too fast,” says Handley. “Even Wilko and Owen were struggling as they couldn’t control their speed. I’m sure they will tweak it before the CT, but I think the surfers will stick to their strengths.” 

Experience Counts

“I went there with the Oz team and we had three days surfing our brains out. I could hardly walk out of there my legs were so tired,” continues Carmichael. “However I could barely surf it at the start. I was just trying to lock myself in the tube the whole way, but by halfway through the second day I started to get it more dialed and could actually do turns. Anyone that has spent significant time in the pool will have an advantage.” 

There’s Power

“Ethan Ewing creased a few boards and I snapped my board, so there’s real power in the wave,” says Darren Handley. Yet the power is a little different, says Carmichael. “The wave is powerful because of all the water moving, but the bottom of the wave is flat and so most of the power is located at the top of the wave. You need to generate your speed through your top turns and there’s no pumping at the base of the wave at all. Your bottom turns is less important, you just have to get up there quick and do all your work at the top of the wave.”