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Surfing at Kelly Slater’s ultimate wave pool

Surf’s up! This rookie tries out Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch.

Kelly Slater surfing
Lexy Savvides

It's my first time on a surfboard and I'm petrified.

Instead of learning how to surf in the ocean with unpredictable conditions, I'm in a more controlled environment that should, in theory, make it easier for me to catch a wave.

Now playing: Watch this: Behind the scenes at Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch

But I'm nowhere near the coastline. I'm 100 miles from the Pacific Ocean in a small town called Lemoore in California. This is the home of Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch, where the world champion has helped engineer his perfect wave.

As part of CNET's Road Trip series, Abrar Al-Heeti also visited the Surf Ranch, and you can read her in-depth story about the wave pool and its 100-ton hydrofoil.

But I'm here to experience what it's like to learn to surf in a place that guarantees a wave every time. Kelly Slater himself has just given me tips on what to do. His best advice? "Don't overthink it."

Lying flat on the surfboard in the middle of the wave pool, I hear a high-pitched whirring noise from the hydrofoil get closer and closer. I'm trying to follow Slater's advice but it's hard not to keep thinking about what I need to do when the wave comes. Before I know it, I feel the force of a wave coming from behind me. It's so powerful, it almost feels like I'm being swept up in the momentum from a train.

So how did I go? Let's just say, I'm not going to be the next Kelly Slater. Watch the video on this page to find out more about the technology behind the Surf Ranch and what it's like to ride the waves for a Barney like me. 

This video is an episode of Beta Test, the show that puts you in the front seat with me as I test our crazy tech products and experiences. You can also find the series on YouTube and the first and second episodes here on CNET. Check back each month for a new show!