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Swag indeed. Photo by Tony Heff

Kelly Slater’s Guide To Everlasting Youth

The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity.

elsewhere // Aug 12, 2022
Words by August Howell
Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Surfing on the scene like a young Kelly Slater.” So goes the final line of the first verse of the 2009 hit(?) “Swag Surfin” by Fast Life Yungstaz.

The song was referenced early on by GQ health columnist Joe Holder in his recent interview with the 11x world champ for the New York City-based men’s magazine. The reference was meant to demonstrate how widespread Kelly’s fame has grown. Men in middle America with no ocean (or Surf Ranch) in sight know his name. 

I’ve never been keen on learning how celebs or athletes keep in shape. It seems like vaguely similar stories about leaning off sugar and lifting more weights. But this is Kelly, and just his existence on tour, never mind that he’s such a threat in heavy surf…at 50 years old…is unprecedented. So when he spoke with GQ about how he’s kept it together all these years, physically and mentally, we had to check it out.

Someone should really make this guy into a statue. Photo: Dugan

Here are a few of our favorite tidbits from the GQ piece:

  • Kelly’s favorite breakfast is a big healthy smoothie, fresh fruit, protein powders and a few “health remedies.” 
  • He takes an alphabet soup of plant-based supplements. Super friendly sounding vitamins like COQ10, GABA and 5-HTP. 
  • Got some funk you just can’t shake? Try the Master Cleanse, “like two weeks of your life dedicated to not eating food, people think you’re crazy.” 
  • The Gracies, the renowned world-class jujitsu family, gave Kelly his first theories on diet that led him to a “Bible to me in my 20s” called The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity
  • Kelly has contemplated retirement, especially after winning Pipeline this year. It looks like it’s the Olympics or bust for Kelly. “If I can really put everything into surfing next year and make the Olympics then the Olympics will be the end for me, but if not, I might finish before then.”

Kelly’s final answer might be the most telling. When asked to give advice for someone trying to become healthy he responded, “I know when—if—I make it to 80 or 90, if something else doesn’t kill me off, I want to be looking out for myself. I don’t want someone taking care of me or feeding me or any of that—I wanna have a good, long life and be healthy, and so I think about 80 years old right now when I’m 50.”

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