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Have you ever wondered how a wave is formed? In the new documentary film featuring nine-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater titled Ultimate Wave: Tahiti, premiering June 19 at the Orlando Science Center, viewers will get to see firsthand on a giant screen how waves are formed. In addition, the film will feature state-of-the-art animated sequences detailing the science behind how a wave works and the physical properties of the oceanic phenomenon. The film uses Slater and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the backbone for its inquiry into the science behind the art.

Beyond just the rigorous science, the film also delves into the cultural aspects of waves and wave making, as well as the cultural history of surfers in Tahiti. The film uses Tahitian surfing legend Raimana Van Bastolaer to speak of Teahupo’o, the “Ultimate Wave” feared by many surfers around the world. It also goes into the history of the ancient Polynesian watermen.

The film ultimately comes down to a balance between science and tradition, between state-of-the-art and history. It uses Kelly Slater and Raimana Van Bastolaer as the personification of the two views, and not unlike the two friends, ultimately strikes a harmony.

Ultimate Wave


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In the surfing world, there is only one name: Kelly Slater. The nine-time world champion is unparalleled in the sport, taking the likes of Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Babe Ruth and wrapping them into one surfing god. As an unquestioned king in his sport, the legend garners respect from many. What isn’t widely known, however, is that the king respects the mayor; the Mayor of Teahupo’o.

Raimana Van Bastolaer may not be a household name (yet), but his surfing talent has already garnered the respect of the unquestioned king of surfing. While filming Ultimate Wave: Tahiti, premiering June 19 at the Orlando Science Center, Slater met up with Van Bastolaer to tackle the “Ultimate Wave.” While filming, the two bonded and formed a mutual respect for one another.

While Slater rides on state-of-the-art equipment in rigorously timed competitions, Van Bastolaer tends to the quiet, laid-back attitude of the ancient Tahitian watermen. Van Bastolaer explores the science and art of riding the wave, and speaks to the connections people make with the ocean. And while Slater may be the King of Surfing, at times, the King hails to the Mayor.

 


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The word “Teahupo’o” may not strike fear into a layperson. It may not command the admiration and desire that it necessarily deserves. And yet, when uttered to the likes of nine-time world champion surfer Kelly Slater or Tahitian native Raimana Van Bastolaer, “Teahupo’o” means only one thing: respect.

Teahupo’o is home to what many consider the most dangerous and perfect wave to be found anywhere. In fact, its origin, strength and power are examined in the large format film, Ultimate Wave: Tahiti, premiering June 19 at the Orlando Science Center. The film explores the wave, as well as the Tahitian culture surrounding the buildup of the wave. But guests make no mistake when told this wave rests at one of the most sought-after beaches in the entire world; they know this wave is a beast.

 


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Kelly Slater is one of the few names from the tight-knit surfing community to reach beyond the ears of the hardcore surfing fan. The Florida grown surfer is known to the world for his unsurpassed nine world championships, laid-back attitude and rugged good looks. But what many don’t know is that Slater’s biggest impact comes from saving the waves, rather than conquering them.

Through The Kelly Slater Foundation, Slater is one of the worlds leading advocates in ocean protection and ecological and scientific understanding. His devotion has always been to the ocean, and his influence attracts those sharing a concern for the ocean’s ecosystems.

Slater’s admiration for the science behind the waves is no more apparent than in his starring role in the film Ultimate Wave: Tahiti, showing at the Orlando Science Center. With the help of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the film demonstrates how communities and people far from the ocean shore are affected by the ocean’s interplay within our ecosystem. Slater’s hands-on wave experience, coupled with the NOAA’s scientific insight provides a unique way for everybody to get on board and save the waves.

Ultimate Wave: Tahiti premieres at Cocktails & Cosmos, Saturday June 19.


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It’s a great time for paleontology. I know, I’m the first guy to say “It’s always a great time for paleontology” but believe me, this time, it’s a great time for Paleontology!

In the last few weeks, we’ve made incredible leaps and bounds in our understanding of the natural world. Scientists in Canada, Australia, and Japan successfully cloned blood protein from a Siberian Wooly Mammoth, bringing us one step closer to successfully cloning an extinct animal (The Pyrenean Ibex, an extinct goat, was cloned in 2009, but did not survive.) Scientists are optimistic, some predicting oogenesis (living embryos) in the next two years, and giant fuzzy elephants in zoos in less than five years!

This article is really about Snuffy and Big Bird, if you think about it.

I know, right? But sit down, there’s more.

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STAN the T. rex is a truly spectacular display that you can only see in DinoDigs... Or Indianapolis... Or London... Or California... Or Arizona... Or Japan.

What gives? How can the same dinosaur be in so many places at once?

(Originally posted June 6, 2009) - Dinosaur fossils are fragile pieces of the puzzle of Earth's history. When we do find them (and it is tough - even if you know where to look) they are often broken up or missing pieces. Even STAN was missing about 30% of his skeleton when he was discovered. How do scientists bring them back for us to view in museums around the world?

We make copies! (or Casts, as we call them!) It's okay, because if scientists didn't do that, the whole world would only have about 3 or 4 complete T. rex skeletons altogether (and a ton of spare parts!)

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Here's a fun activity courtesy of NOAA and the folks at Ultimate Wave: Tahiti.  Don't forget, the film premieres here on June 19!

 



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