ABC Orders ‘Ultimate Surfer’ Competition Series From Kelly Slater

Show features “some of the world’s greatest up-and-coming surfers” as they “battle it out” at WSL’s Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California

Kelly Slater
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Hang ten, dudes: ABC has ordered “Ultimate Surfer,” a new surfing competition series from 11-time World Surf League champion Kelly Slater.

Slater will serve as on-air talent and special correspondent for the eight-episode reality show that “will gather some of the world’s greatest up-and-coming surfers to train and live together as they battle it out at the World Surf League’s (WSL) state-of-the-art Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, powered by Kelly Slater’s man-made wave technology, in the hope of competing amongst the best athletes in the world’s fastest-growing sport.”

Production on the series, which is produced by Craig Piligian’s Pilgrim Media Group and WSL Studios, will begin in 2020 and a premiere will be announced at a later date.

Here’s a description for the series, courtesy of ABC:

Alliances and rivalries will be front and center in “Ultimate Surfer” as men and women compete in individual and team challenges focused on specific surfing disciplines. Weekly eliminations will leave two men and two women as finalists who will vie for the male and female titles of the Ultimate Surfer and the opportunity to compete on the WSL World Tour, the pinnacle of professional surfing. Slater’s remarkable, one-of-a-kind, man-made wave – the most even playing field for measuring surf mastery – is at the heart of the series.

“In addition to being a globally recognized sport, surfing is also a lifestyle; and ‘Ultimate Surfer’ will give viewers a uniquely personal look at what goes into becoming a world-class champion,” said Rob Mills, senior vice president of alternative series, specials and late night at ABC Entertainment. “We’re ecstatic about the opportunity to utilize Kelly’s world-class surf facility and his expertise in showcasing these incredibly talented on-the-rise athletes.”

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for two surfers (one man, one woman) to win an opportunity to compete against the best surfers in the world on the WSL Tour,” added Slater, who will be the lead consultant for the series. “This will put some of the best up-and-comers against each other in a more direct way to see who stands above the rest, and Surf Ranch is obviously a great venue to use for ‘Ultimate Surfer.’ I’m excited to watch how they step up to the challenge.

“Ultimate Surfer” is produced by Lionsgate’s Pilgrim Media Group and WSL Studios and comes out of the multiplatform co-development partnership between the two, which was announced earlier this year. Pilgrim CEO and president Craig Piligian, WSL Studios president of Content and Media Erik Logan, and UFC President Dana White serve as executive producers on the show.

Surfers who are interested in being a contestant on the show must be 21 or older and can apply at, where more details are available.

Surfing will make its Olympic debut at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, next year.

Deadline first reported that “Ultimate Surfer” had been ordered to series at ABC.