ABC announced Wednesday that it has a new competition series in the works. The network placed a series order for eight episodes of “Ultimate Surfer.”
The program comes from pro surfer Kelly Slater, the 11-time World Surf League champion. Production will begin in 2020, with the airdate to be announced later this season.
The show will bring together some of the world’s best up-and-coming surfers, who will train and live together at the World Surf League’s state-of-the-art Surf Ranch in Lemoore, Calif. Slater will serve as on-air talent and special correspondent for the show.
“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,” ABC says in the announcement. “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.”
At the heart of the series will be Slater’s one-of-a-kind manmade wave, described as the most even playing field for measuring surf mastery.
“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. 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,” said Rob Mills, senior vice president, Alternative Series, Specials and Late Night, ABC Entertainment.
Added Slater: “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. 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.”
The series comes out of the multiplatform co-development partnership between Pilgrim Media Group and WSL Studios, announced earlier this year.
“Ultimate Surfer” is produced by Lionsgate’s Pilgrim Media Group and WSL Studios. Pilgrim CEO and President Craig Piligian, WSL Studios President of Content and Media Erik Logan, and UFC President Dana White serve as executive producers.