When Kelly Slater drops his opinion about something to do with surfing, you listen to it. Especially when it’s about something as hot as drug use. While in Coolangatta for the Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast (and yes, he’s doing the whole tour this year), Kelly riffed an excellent interview with the Courier Mail. The focus was drugs in surfing, but not the kind you may think. “There clearly is – absolutely,” he said of a recreational drug problem on the tour. “There’s no denying that, it’s rampant, it’s full-on.” But, he doesn’t believe a performance-enhancing drug problem exists in surfing. Why? “I don’t think there’s a drug you can take to make you surf better”.
Kelly, who’s been drug-free his whole life, said that, while the ASP made a move in the right direction to begin with, the flame went out. “They tested us at the first event and I never got tested again all year,” he said. “Why talk about it and not do it? Why bother? Either do it or don’t do it.” And, besides, testing at events won’t help those with a recreational drug problem, says Kelly: “Those are personal, private matters and it’s really hard to dredge them up publicly and come to any kind of conclusion. Andy (Irons) was the one who put himself in that situation. Had he had more outside pressure to change, that might have pushed him over the edge more quickly. I know a lot of drug addicts and you can’t force them to go get help if they don’t want it. You just have to show those people love and support and let them know that if they need your help, you’re there.”
So, there’s that. Everyone has their own opinion. But, what of Kelly’s plans? One thing’s for sure: They don’t involve retirement. “I’m going to go for it and try to put together a good year,” he said. “Pretty much every day I get some older dude come up to me and say ‘Oh, mate, you’ve got to keep going’. I was one heat away from winning the title last year. I came really close and it wasn’t really heartbreaking. I was happy for Parko. But right now everyone’s got a target on their back we’re all starting at zero.”
Full story available over at The Courier.