Did Kelly Slater Just Announce His Retirement?
“I’m done for the year, I might be done forever in Portugal”
Today Kelly Slater via Instagram stories gave viewers a tour of the MEO Rip Curl Pro competitors area before announcing at its conclusion, “I’m done for the year, I might be done forever in Portugal.”
To be clear, at no point did he say ‘retire’, only that he is done with competitive surfing in 2023 and with Portugal (maybe) ad infinitum. Not surfing the remaining two events at Bells and Margaret River given his current ranking of 16th – means Kelly will have to count three 17ths and a 9th in his scoreline – not enough to stay on tour after the mid-year cut (which counts four out of the first five results in the beginning of the year).
Is Kelly gonna do CS events and attempt to requalify? You’d have to think not. What 51 year old with 11 World Titles would want to scrap four-man heats against twenty-odd-year-olds in Manly slop?
Last year, Slater told The Guardian, “If I make the Olympics, I’ll retire at the Olympics. I’m really hoping to qualify for it, but I need to get my butt into gear. The qualification process is going to be tough, but if I can get into the Olympics, the location of the event is Tahiti – that wave really suits my strengths. So if I can get there I think I have a really good chance of a medal, but I think the harder part is going to be getting there, to be honest.”
Kelly comments have caused quite the stir and equally skepticism in the comments. Kelly has announced his retirement several times before only to renege the following season. Kelly’s first retirement was in 1998 whereafter he showed up to events sporadically, winning Pipe in 1999 and the Eddie Aikau in 2002. After rejoining the CT full-time in 2003, Kelly has hinted at retirement almost every year after, most famously in 2018 at J-Bay after Joel Parkinson had just announced his own.
While wildcards will undoubtedly be handed his way, is this the last we’ll ever see of the GOAT as a full-time CT competitor?
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