Back in May of 2018 after the PerfectSwell® Surf Technology installation at BSR Surf Resort in Waco, Texas was complete and ready to be tested, a small team of Billabong’s surfers were invited to be the first to surf the wave pool at full capacity. Billabong sent out a mixed crew of surfers of different ages and disciplines to showcase the pool. Among that group of surfers, that included Seth Moniz, Tyler Warren, Samantha Sibley, and Rob Kelly, was an eight-year-old from New Jersey, Cruz Dinofa.
For most eight-year-olds, having the opportunity to surf a new wave pool for the very first time alongside some of the world’s best surfers would be intimidating, but Cruz took no time getting adjusted and instantly looked right at home surfing whatever waves were being tested. After two days, and over sixteen hours of pool time, you could see that Cruz’s surfing ability had progressed tenfold in that short amount of time. Cruz likely caught more waves in two days than he had caught in his entire lifetime of surfing; especially considering he had only been paddling into his own waves for about a year up until that point.
One of the most memorable moments from the entire trip was to see Cruz paddle in and get barreled on the wedge wave. Cruz had never been barreled in his life and after only a handful of tries he was able to position himself in the barrel of a wave that even Seth Moniz and Tyler Warren were calling proper.
To be able to see his skill level progress in real time was truly eye-opening and begged the question of just how valuable wave pools are going to be for the next generation growing up with access to an endless supply of perfect waves to train on.
Since that eye-opening session in 2018, Cruz is now a national champion, and one of the best surfers at his age in the world. Cruz credits a lot of his success to his training sessions at the PerfectSwell® wave pools in both Texas and the indoor pool at the American Dream mall in his home state of New Jersey. “I’m always really excited to surf the wave pool,” Cruz says. “It’s so cool to think about all the different types of rotations and grabs I can try when the waves keep coming. My goal is to land an air that I haven’t pulled before and the PerfectSwell® wave pool is the perfect practice field to go nuts.”
Cruz has become the poster child for the next generation of surfers growing up with access to wave pools for training, competition, and media. In addition to dropping viral clips almost every time he books a PerfectSwell® session, Cruz has competed in the first ever National Championship held at the pool and was a star in a GoPro commercial filmed at the pool alongside Mason Ho and Nathan Fletcher.
From those trips to the wave pool he’s created friendships with other up-and-coming young surfers like Sky Brown, Erin Brooks, and Jackson Dorian. This crew of rising surf stars who frequent Waco, TX to surf have been coined the “wave pool generation.” Last week, Cruz took a trip to Texas with Erin Brooks and Kai Lenny and went viral yet again with another insane video clip of him surfing at a level that has never been seen from a kid his age before.
In just 3 short years, Cruz went from the eight year old grom watching Seth Moniz pull backflips to the 11 year old rising star giving Seth Moniz and the entire surf world a run for their money. Seeing the progression level and trajectory wave pools have been able to propel Cruz to already, we can only imagine what Cruz and other young surfers will be doing in the next 10 years with the ability to train consistently using PerfectSwell® surf technology. The “wave pool generation” is going to be one to watch and we are excited to see what the future holds.