Cringe or Binge? The Ultimate Surfer drama goes down at Kelly’s wave pool

The Ultimate Surfer is a Bachelor-esque reality TV show that pits 7 men and 7 women against each other in competitions at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch. Each week two contestants are eliminated until a men’s and women’s champ walks away with $100K and wildcard slots into 3 yet-to-be-determined WSL CT events.

Just after the WSL euthanized the Surf Ranch Pro, ABC will air The Ultimate Surfer on August 23rd to American audiences – a reality TV show set at Kelly’s Wave that will award wildcards to WSL Championship Tour events.

In decades past viewers had jiggle TV courtesy of shows like Battle of the Network Stars, but now modern templates all seem to favor The Bachelor. It’s a proven formula – hot, people prone to drama all vie for the same prize – some guy in a tux with impeccable eyebrows or in this case a CT opportunity.

The Ultimate Surfer drama goes down at Kelly's wave pool
The Ultimate Surfer fits perfectly with the TV tradition of stimulating ratings with skin

How does it work?

14 contestants (7 men and 7 women) will engage in both individual and team challenges to survive weekly eliminations and spots to compete on the CT. No slogging it out on the American regional Qualifying Series or the Challenger Series – the winner collects $100K and three wildcard entries on the 2022 Tour.

The dude from The Bachelor, Jesse Palmer will weave in tension while Joe Turpel and sports anchors Erin Coscarelli commentate. Kelly (yes, the show was his idea) drops in from time to time as a sort of life coach-slash-referee.

The Ultimate Surfer airs on ABC following all-new episodes of, you guessed it, Bachelor in Paradise.

surf in lemoore
Of course, in our eyes, the real star of the show is this wave in Lemoore

Ultimate Surfer Cast
The Ultimate Surfer features surfers who may not be competitive dynamos (save Zeke Lau) but the selling point is that each individual looks amazing in boardies or a bikini.

Anastasia Ashley – 33, Miami Beach, Fla.
Kai Barger – 30, Haiku, Hawaii
Mason Barnes – 26, Venice, Calif.
Tia Blanco – 23, Oceanside, Calif.
Austin Clouse – 26, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
Brianna Cope – 25, Koloa, Hawaii
Luke Davis – 27, Los Angeles, Calif.
Kayla Durden – 27, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
Juli Hernandez – 22, Costa Mesa, Calif.
Zeke Lau – 26, Honolulu, Hawaii
Alejandro Moreda – 34, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Koa Smith – 25, Sunset Beach, Hawaii
Malia Ward – 22, San Clemente, Calif.
Bruna Zaun – 30, Redondo Beach, Calif.

Whether a surfer wins the coveted 3 entries or not, these people are fighting for market shares in a shrinking industry. Should they want to continue this career path visibility is key and The Ultimate Surfer provides a rare chance to polish the personal brand.

Even without Kelly’s wave on tour next year (which by now the winner will have practiced in heaps) each contestant will be a winner when it comes time to renew sponsorship contracts.