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The Ultimate Surfer—ABC’s Newest Surf-Themed Reality TV Show

The Ultimate Surfer—ABC’s Newest Surf-Themed Reality TV Show

The Ultimate Surfer—ABC’s Newest Surf-Themed Reality TV Show

Photo Credit to @ultimatesurferabc

The Olympics just awarded its first surfing gold medals, Bali and Puerto Escondido are on lockdown, COVID-19 is still raging, and the WSL has adopted some hair-brained new competitive format whereby the world title will be decided at a one-day champions event at Trestles. Just when you thought surfing couldn’t get any weirder—well, it turns out it can.

ABC announced a new surfing reality TV show this week, and, based on the trailers, it will be chock full of beautiful influencers, cheesy drama, and, of course, Kelly Slater. Set at Slater’s Surf Ranch, The Ultimate Surfer will feature seven men and seven women, many of whom are household names, while a few are newcomers to the spotlight. And before you write this off as just another ridiculous show, wait until you hear the stakes. The winning man and woman will each receive $100,000—and, much more importantly, wild cards into three events on the 2022 World Tour.

Of course, this format is likely to generate its fair share of controversy. Wild cards onto world tour events are hard to come by, and there’s no guarantee that the best surfer in the show will end up winning. The Ultimate Surfer isn’t a straightforward surf contest being hosted in Slater’s wave pool. Instead, it’s sort of a combination between The Real World, Dancing With the Stars, and The Bachelor. (Perhaps appropriately, it will be hosted by NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer, who is a former star of The Bachelor—along with Erin Coscarelli and the ubiquitous Joe Turpel. Meanwhile, Kelly Slater will serve as senior consultant/correspondent—whatever that means.) The competitors will all live and train together as they strive to become “the ultimate surfer,” and compete against each other in what are sure to be a bunch of marginally surf-related challenges tailor-made for TV that will result in weekly eliminations. At the same time, the show promises lots of drama, rivalries, alliances, and of course romance—because what would a reality show be without a little hanky panky?

The Ultimate Surfer—ABC’s Newest Surf-Themed Reality TV Show

Photo Credit to @ultimatesurferabc

Although this show is clearly marketed toward the non-surfing audience, there’s enough credibility amongst the cast to capture the interest of actual surfers. Former CT surfers Zeke Lau and Bruna Zaun (nee Schmitz) are joined by WSL campaigners Kai Barger, Alejandro Moreda, and Brianna Cope. The cast is rounded out by big name freesurfers/influencers such as Koa Smith, Tia Blanco, Anastasia Ashley, Mason Barnes, Luke Davis, and Malia Ward, as well as lesser known talent such as Kayla Durden, Juli Hernandez, and Austin Clouse.

Love it or hate it, this is what surfing will look like this summer, so wax up your board and program your TVs. Season one of The Ultimate Surfer premiers August 23 and 24 in a two-part premier on ABC. Cowabunga!


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