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Engineering on a New Wavelength

In this article, New Yorker’s William Finnegan interviews world famous surfer, Kelly Slater, on his attempt at creating “The Perfect Wave.” Slater’s initial goal with this project began in 2003. He wanted to build a machine that could produce the same, perfect wave, every time. This machine would be capable of teaching people how to surf in a safe environment, while also being able to hold competitions year round. It had the possibility of bringing surfing to the masses.

With the amount of work involved in this invention, Slater was in need of assistance. He decided the best place to go was none other than USC Viterbi. Without knowing anything about Slater, Dr. Adam Fincham, took on the challenge. After completing what was described as, “horrendous mathematics,” the two were finally able to achieve this wave machine. Now, surfers from all over the world are able ride waves at Kelly’s Surf Ranch in Fresno, CA. While some surfers are in awe over this creation, not everyone feels the same. Isn’t surfing about being unpredictable? Click here to read more about Slater, and what his fellow surfers have to say about “Kelly’s Wave.”

Stacey Badger

Stacey was born and raised in southern California. She wanted to stay local for college, so she decided to attend USC. She worked as a college adviser at a local high school for two years, and strongly believes in college access for all students. At Viterbi, Stacey counsels high school students and transfer students in the admission process.

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