The Profound Wisdom Of Kelly Slater
Candid like Obama post election.
Kelly Slater's one of surfing's most outspoken and articulate. When he speaks, we listen. There’s no mush mouth or “um, yeah, I’m stoked” answers. He makes calls and backs them up. He did a lot of moving and shaking in 2016. From birthing the world’s greatest wave pool, taking out John John at Chopes, to launching tail pads made out of algae, he's changing surfing. Here are the most profound things to spill from the King's mouth:
On unveiling the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch after ten years in the making: “Surfing is all about the experiences we have, and having this wave available settled my nerves a lot knowing I can go and have the physical enjoyment of surfing anytime. But the travel aspect of surfing—experiencing the world—is something that can’t be replaced.”
On death and dying after the passing of good friend Brock Little: “When I die, line my friends up and have them toss bits of my ashes in tubes one after another. Seriously.”
On the state of world affairs: “When you look at all these things that are happening around the world with ISIS or what we call terrorism, obviously there are people doing horrible, outrageous things around the world, but a lot of it is perspective. Where are you from? Did you lose family members in a war that had nothing to do with you for no reason? Did your kids go to war and get sent without being asked to go fight something that they don’t even know what they’re fighting for. The whole thing is just so confusing. I think at the end of the day we, as people, need to take care of ourselves and our families and put out good, positive things. Listen to your gut and when things don’t make sense there’s probably something hidden.”
On the alternative boards found in the Slater Designs quiver: “I’ve had a couple Tomos that friends looked at and almost laughed and said they would never normally try those boards and then wanted to order one ten minutes later after catching a couple of waves on em. I see Daniel [Thompson] on a whole other limb on the surf design tree, influenced by planes and fish and waves and materials all intersecting in a planing vehicle. It's refreshing to see someone who always has fresh eyes and mind for the excitement of what doesn't exist yet or what they feel does but just hasn't been created."
On his chances of winning another world title: “I don’t think anything is impossible. I just think things haven’t been done – people haven’t been on the tour at my age, and it’s really easy for people to accept that it could be the time, and that adversity can be overcome at this age. It really comes down to freeing your mind up and being healthy, and having those goals and having that desire.”
On thoughts of suicide: “1993 was a rough year for me. I barely requalified after winning my first world title in ’92. I had a girlfriend, we were engaged, and then we broke up. At the same time I was totally broke, in debt, and then balancing both surfing and Baywatch. Basically everything went south for me at that point, and in the beginning of 1994 I was depressed and suicidal for a few weeks.”
On not surfing much between world tour events: “If I’m not motivated I’ll just save it until I have a heat and it kind of wakes me up…but I don’t think you can really pull that off at a wave that’s about manoeuvres and flow. You have to be on your game with airs and your timing has to be perfect. With barrels, I think, it’s just like riding a bike.”
On Donald Trump winning the U.S. Presidential election: “I just wish I would have taken the long shot bet and given the money to a charitable cause. Biggest underdog win since Buster Douglas beat Tyson on my birthday back in 1990.”
On winning the Billabong Pro Teahupoo: “To have John John in the final, that’s a dream for me. It’s no secret that I’m on the tail-end of my career, and John John and Gabriel are on the way up. Those guys are just monsters. And John John’s one of my favourite surfers. I just want to see how many heats I can get with him before I’m done…and to have him out here. Obviously, I think him and Gabriel are the favourites, I put them on my fantasy team, it’s just a real special time for me.”
On his diet: I’ve done a couple of the master cleanses before—the lemonade. Where it’s maple syrup, lemon juice and water with cayenne pepper…I’ve done it for 10 days, a month at the longest. No food. You take some other supplements. You drink like a litre of hot salt water in the morning to flush your system out. You feel terrible after two days because you’re detoxing so hard, but then you start feeling amazing after three or four days. You get really clear headed. Your vision gets better. Your hearing. Your sinuses clear up.”
On his plans to retire after the 2017 season: “Next year I'm gonna get my shit (and my body) together for real and see if I can make a last run at a title. Then I'll go find the best waves on earth til my last day before being freeze-dried and used as plant food to make a #Koa and #Monkeypod tree on my property or take the carbon from my ashes and make a diamond from it for my family. (Don't forget to drop some of me in the tube also!)”